Cockroaches hide in dark locations during the day and seek out structural flaws in buildings to squeeze into. They are able to penetrate walls through cracks, conduits, and crevices; along baseboards; and even under the wall plates covering electrical outlets. Hollow walls sometimes support heavy cockroach infestations, and the pests often congregate around moist fixtures, such as plumbing pipes in bathrooms and kitchens, because they enjoy humidity.
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Cockroaches can indeed live within the walls of your home and can do so indefinitely. When you enter a room and flip on the lights, cockroaches scurry and quickly slide through tiny openings. If you can slip a credit card under or into an opening, it's deep enough for a roach to slide through.
Dangers of Cockroach Infestation
Fifty-five species of cockroaches are found in the United States, according to PennState Extension, which further states that the cockroach carries bacteria that cause food poisoning. They regularly scavenge across food preparation surfaces and plunder any food that has not been stored in air-tight containers. Human and pet foodstuffs aren't the only feeding options that appeal to cockroaches.
The insects also consume paper and fabrics in their quest for food and leave behind a telltale odor with fecal matter. Large infestations of cockroaches also cause allergy and asthma sufferers to have attacks, and the pests are known to spread insulation dust from the interior surfaces of walls, crawlspaces, and basements.
Removing Immature Cockroaches
Small, immature cockroaches enjoy residing in wall cracks and other tight-fitting areas. Cockroaches are able to squeeze into cracks measuring only 1/16 inch and travel along the edges of walls. Vacuum all cracks and focus on the baseboards along walls. Vacuuming removes immature cockroaches, eggs, and skin castings. Promptly dispose of the vacuum bag and its contents outside, away from the house.
Preventing Cockroach Infestations
Seal up all openings around faucets, pipes, and electrical fixtures, especially if living in an apartment. The roaches move from apartment to apartment through the walls and squeeze through small plumbing or electrical cracks. Use weather stripping or caulking to seal all gaps.
Repair all window screens, caulk around the window seal, and install weather stripping around all doors. Seal up any cracks in the exterior of the house to prevent the roaches from entering the wall voids from outside. Store all food in airtight containers, avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink, and always clean up spills promptly.
Controlling Cockroaches in Your Home
Apply a crack and crevice spray or paste to wall crevices and along baseboards. Pest control professionals also treat wall voids to eliminate cockroaches. Place cockroach bait stations against the wall and in the corners of rooms. Always place the bait stations flush against the wall for the best success.
Sprinkle a fine layer of boric acid in crevices and cracks and on cockroach paths along baseboards and beside walls. The cockroaches crawl through the dust, inadvertently ingest it while grooming, and die. They also carry it back to the nest and into wall voids where other cockroaches become covered in the fine dust. Inject boric acid powder into hard-to-reach wall voids to effectively kill cockroaches. Create small holes with a drill to allow access to the areas for treatment.