Cockroaches hide in dark locations during the day, and seek out structural flaws in buildings into which to squeeze. They are able to penetrate walls through cracks, conduits and crevices, or along baseboards. Hollow walls sometimes support heavy infestations. The pests often congregate around moist fixtures, such as plumbing pipes in bathrooms and kitchens, because they enjoy humidity.
Fifty-five species of cockroaches are found within the United States, according to the Penn State College of Agricultural Science. Penn State College further states that the cockroach carries bacteria that causes food poisoning. They regularly scavenge across food preparation surfaces and plunder any food that has not been stored in an air-tight container. 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. The pests spread insulation dust from the interior 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 contents outside, away from the house.
Tape up all openings from pipes or 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. Screen all windows and caulk around the window seal. Install weatherstrip 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 air-tight containers. Avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink and always clean up spills promptly.
Apply a crack and crevice spray or paste to wall crevices and along baseboards. Professional pest control operators 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. Sprinkle 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. Drilling small holes allows access to the areas for treatment.
- University of California; Cockroaches; M. K. Rust; June 2007
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Low Toxic Cockroach Control; Barbara P. Ogg
- Penn State College of Agricultural Science; American Cockroaches; Steve Jacobs; March 2002
- Colorado State University Extension; Cockroaches; F.B. Peairs; May 2010
- New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: Cockroaches
- University of Missouri Extension; Cockroaches; Richard M. Houseman; Jan. 2002
- University of Kentucky College of Agriculture; Cockroach Elimination; Mike Potter; Jan. 1994
- University of Minnesota Extension; Cockroaches;Jeffrey D. Hahn, et al; 2005
Based in Oregon, Kimberly Sharpe has been a writer since 2006. She writes for numerous online publications. Her writing has a strong focus on home improvement, gardening, parenting, pets and travel. She has traveled extensively to such places as India and Sri Lanka to widen and enhance her writing and knowledge base.