Cockroaches are annoying urban pests. It is necessary to identify the species of cockroach to treat them effectively. Some common species of cockroaches are the German, Brown-banded, American, Australian, Smokybrown and the Oriental. All of these cockroaches have the same body form and differ only in size, appearance and biological habits.
Cockroaches have different habitat preferences and seek out areas where food moisture and temperature are most suitable to them. German cockroaches are often found in kitchen and bathroom areas. Brown-banded cockroaches are usually found in the bedroom and living areas. American cockroaches inhabit basements, bathtubs and floor drains, and outside in sewers and outbuildings. In warmer climates they are also found in palm trees, tree holes and swimming pools.
Australian cockroaches are usually found in greenhouses, under bark, or in leaf litter in gardens. They are also found in roof and floor voids, outbuildings and around woodpiles. Smokybrown cockroaches are found in the roof and gutters, ceiling void, and outside in tree holes, woodpiles, palm trees and mulch. Oriental cockroaches prefer cooler temperatures than other cockroaches, so are generally found outside in the summer, feeding on rubbish.
Adult cockroaches are able to survive on very little food for 2-3 months, but do require water. They can spoil food, damage wallpaper and books, eat glue from furniture and create an unpleasant odour.
Cockroaches may produce allergens that become airborne and cause allergic reactions including asthma attacks.
To reduce cockroach infestations:
- Eliminate as many moisture sources as possible (e.g. fix leaking taps), as cockroaches require moisture to survive.
- Fix all possible points of entry into the home ie. loose fitting doors, damaged screens and any other openings.
- Reduce access around plumbing and screen vents.
- Check items brought into the house from outside, that they are not infested with cockroaches.
- Reduce the amount of rubbish in and around the home.
- Clean pet bowls frequently.
- Wipe down bench tops and remove food scraps.