How to Get Rid of Roaches
Living in Southern California, we are blessed for many reasons. One of these reasons being the level of cockroach activity being lower due to our lower humidity. We all know the stereotypical scene of the old man on the porch with the ‘bug-zapper’ sparking as another mosquito and cockroach fly into it. Yes, some cockroaches can fly! While we all love summer for everything it stands for, that humid weather causes all insects to be more active and search out better harborage areas to live and breed. This will lead to more cockroach sightings as roaches emerge from their hiding spots both inside and outside. Stopping roaches from entering and harboring inside your home depends on the type of cockroach you have, however, it is primarily related to basic structure maintenance and upkeep as well as interior conditions, and how items are purchased and brought into the home.
Here in Southern California, roaches are a year-round problem and there are two primary cockroaches that relate to Structural Pest Control: the American Cockroach and the German Cockroach.
American Cockroaches are the most common roaches reported in Greater Los Angeles, Orange County, California and surrounding communities
Keeping American Roaches out of Your Home
Keeping roaches out of of your home is all about addressing the harborage areas and things that will attract and let in American Roaches. American roaches are bigger in size. The teenagers and adults can measure from one to three inches in length with a reddish to deep brown color. Big roach means big wings, and these are the ones that fly. Their big wings lay over their back and can go past their bodies. In order to avoid entry into the home, make sure to maintain screens, proper door closure and sealing at all times. While American Roaches prefer warmer, wet, and dark environments to live in, they naturally live in loose moist soil, leaf beds under trees, rock piles, and other similar areas. Around structure exterior areas, proper landscape maintenance and drainage will also make the yard areas less attractive. They tend to harbor in storm drains, floor drains, sewer areas, electrical conduit, and electrical rooms and vaults and will come up into a bathroom sink. All plumbing and other utility areas need to be sealed both interior and exterior in order to help stop American Roaches from entering.
Keeping American Roaches Out of Commercial Spaces
For commercial areas in Greater Los Angeles, keeping floor drains ‘wet’ is the best first defense against American Roach encroachment. A common practice that we find during a first-time inspection is tape over a drain. The biggest commercial structure deterrent is proper door fit, seal, proper sewer maintenance, exterior landscape maintenance, and drainage. Most residences in Southern California will have minor American Roach activity both inside and outside the home. Homes that are more likely to have regular American Roach activity are homes near storm drains, wash basins, sewer lids, and yards that contain a lot of mulch or leaf beds on the property, and homes with crawlspaces. It is quite common to have one or two American Roach sightings around the house, and maybe one inside during the warmest months. Seeing American Roaches inside any structure on a ‘regular’ basis is cause for concern and warrants further attention. This generally will indicate some type of harborage or cause for the activity. These causes differ from residential to commercial but are parallel in nature and can be anything from a broken plumping pipe, city street or sewer work, a manhole cover on a cul-de-sac, or poor crawl space exclusion or ventilation. American Roaches generally enter a structure by mistake because they are attracted to the lights of the building or forced up. They also do not breed as ‘fast’ as other roaches. While no roach is good, if you are going to see one, the American Roach is the one you want.
How to Get Rid of German Roaches
German Roaches are smaller than American Roaches, teens and adults range from ½ to 2 inches, a 2-inch German Roach would be big. German Roaches are a light brown color, and as they grow, two black ‘racing stripes will become more prominent along the top of them from the head to the end. They do not fly. German roaches do have wings, but they are too small and do not develop enough for flight. This makes their ability to move from place to place extremely limited. German Roaches are considered more of a ‘transfer bug’ that gets ‘taken’ from place to place.
The number one way to stop German Roaches from entering your home is to not bring them in. Items such as secondhand appliances, furniture and clothing can contain German Roach eggs capsules or live roaches. Employees can bring them into a facility or office. They can be transported on handbags, grocery bags and other travel items. We find them in wheelchairs, kid’s toys, couches, etc. German Roaches are an ‘interior’ roach, only seen at the exterior of a structure due to interior stress levels on the German Roach population or they are brought out on items, or by other means. Structure defects can also lead to German Roaches being seen at the exterior. German Roaches prefer to live inside, in dry, dark, and warm areas. This makes residential restroom vanities and storage areas, as well as kitchen appliances and cabinet areas the most common and popular areas for German Roaches. Making sure dry goods are removed from packaging before placing inside the cabinets is a great practice. Making sure cabinet and other interior storage areas are properly sealed, clean, and maintained will alert quickly to any activity and then steps can be taken before activity levels rise. More specifically, refrigerator motor areas are popular because they have the drip pan for a nice water/moisture source, and are continually very dark areas of the home, and warm. Also, behind the fridge and beside the oven is a popular spot for lost food items, giving German Roaches a continual food source. Keeping interior areas clear of clutter, and well maintained will also lead to early German Roach detection.
Keeping German Roaches at Bay in Commercial Settings
German Roaches are a lot more prevalent in commercial and multi-unit residential settings. German Roaches can move from unit to unit and room to room with only a medium amount of population pressure and stress. German Roaches can also move from unit to unit if attracted by easy access and attractive unsanitary conditions. Again, making sure that utility lines leading in and out of your walls are well sealed is vital to stopping entry from other units.
Regular harborage areas in the office and other commercial settings include- break areas, locker rooms, utility rooms, interior planters, and vending areas. If well maintained and these areas kept clean, early detection will lead to less evasive and less costly services.
Every home in Southern California and the Greater Los Angeles area will have at least one or two American Roaches, maybe even one or two bouts with German Roach activity over the years. Personal habits, workplaces and other daily exposures can vary the chances of bringing roaches into our homes. Ignoring any sightings inside is not a good idea.