How to get rid of cockroaches

Cockroaches are probably the most unwanted pest in the home. Their connection with filth and quick scurrying movements certainly create a lot of anxiety. For some, the appearance of just one cockroach can make them feel as if they are a bad housekeeper (although often it is not their fault). Fortunately with a combination of good prevention tips and suitable pest control products, most cockroach problems are easy to control.

Adult German cockroach

Adult German cockroach

Adult American cockroach

Adult American cockroach

Video: WATCH PestXpert Pro-Fogger
tackle 200 cockroaches

Cockroach Identification

What do cockroaches look like?

Female German cockroach carrying ootheca

Female German cockroach carrying ootheca

  • Cockroaches do not lay single eggs, but lay egg cases (ootheca) which may contain up to 40 young. The female cockroaches carry the ootheca around for a while, depositing it just before the young hatch.  
  • The young cockroaches look like a smaller version of the adults (although they lack wings). The young (or nymphs) moult through several stages before coming an adult.  After each moult they have a very light or "albino" colour before their cuticle hardens.
  • Adult cockroaches look like brown "beetles". It is not hugely important to be able to identify the species accurately, but they do fall into two general groups
    • Small cockroaches: German cockroaches and brown banded cockroaches. Pale small cockroaches, adults up to 1.5cm long.  These cockroaches only live inside and can be significant pests.
    • Large cockroaches: American cockroach, Australian Cockroach and Oriental cockroach. Brown to dark brown cockroaches (Oriental cockroach is nearly black); adults up to 5cm long. These cockroaches typically live outside (sewers, sub-floor and roof voids), coming inside for food.  
  • Only adult cockroaches have wings and in many cases only the male cockroach has fully formed wings. The wings are not often visible as they are covered by the hard wing cases or elytra. 

Signs of a COCKROACH infestation

  • As cockroaches are nocturnal, often you many only see one or two cockroaches. But when you see one or two, you know there will be a lot more hiding in the cracks and crevices. If you are seeing cockroaches during the day, the chances are you have a significant infestation.
  • With a significant infestation you will often find "spotting" in the corners of cupboards or hiding places. This are the faeces and vomit of cockroaches.
  • Other signs of an infestation include old "skins" left behind when cockroaches moult and empty egg cases
  • If there is a significant infestation, there will often be a characteristic cockroach smell.

Main pest season

  • Cockroaches can be pests at any time of the year, especially the smaller cockroach species such as the German cockroach, which lives indoors. However, numbers tend to be higher in the warmer Summer months, especially for the larger cockroach species, which live outdoors.

Cockroach Facts

  • The small cockroaches species only live indoors, with the German cockroach common in kitchens, bathrooms and laundries and the Brown-banded cockroach more common in drier areas such as bedrooms and living areas.  
  • A large number of German cockroaches can live together in a very small space. German cockroaches are often found congregating in electrical goods; toasters, kettles, microwaves and televisions.
  • The large cockroach species tend to live outdoors in moist areas; gardens, sewers and drains. This means they also like moist sub-floor areas. However, they are also often found in hot, dry roof voids.
  • Cockroaches will eat virtually anything, even each other!
  • Cockroaches are know to carry a large number of diseases, many of which cause stomach upsets.
  • Cockroach infestations can give rise to allergies and asthma and is probably the highest cause of asthma in many inner city apartment blocks.
  • As well as being nocturnal, cockroaches are very sensitive to vibrations and air movement, which is why the run away, often before the light is turned on.
  • Cockroaches are thigmotactic which means they like confined spaces. It also explains why the tend to run around the perimeter of rooms.
  • Although many adult cockroaches have wings, most species do not fly. Adult American and Australian cockroaches will fly, but only in warmer weather.
  • The names of the pest cockroaches German, American, Australia don't really described where they come from, as they are found in many countries. For example in Germany, the "German" cockroach is sometimes called the "Russian" cockroach!
  • There are many species of cockroaches in Australia, from the common "bush" cockroach to the giant burrowing cockroach, which is found in tropical parts of Australia. This mammoth cockroach can grow up to 8cm, but it's harmless and is often kept as a pet!  

Cockroaches Prevention Tips

Cockroach egg case

Cockroach egg case

  • Good hygienic is critical;
    • clean away spilled food and dirty dishes straight away
    • ensure rubbish is put in secure containers
    • put on the dishwasher regularly (cockroaches love dishwashers - food and moisture a plenty!)
    • don't leave pet food out overnight
  • Fix any leaks / areas of moisture
  • Fill any cracks and crevices
  • Don't store cardboard boxes in the sub-floor
  • Keep an eye out for egg cases coming in on cardboard boxes as this is a common source of infestation. 

Cockroach Control Tips

  • Crawling insect aerosols are the best product to kill any cockroach you see. These are designed to coat the insect with insecticide providing rapid knock down and kill. Flying insect aerosols will work but are not designed for crawling insects and so take a lot longer to work.
  • If you have a cockroach infestation, using a cockroach / flea total release aerosol (also called a fogger or "bomb") is key to getting numbers under control quickly and provide residual control. You will need one aerosol for each room. The treatment may need to be supplemented by an insecticide spray to get into some cracks / crevices / cupboards where the fogger may not have reached.
  • A crawling insect aerosol or ready-to-use pump spray are the best options for a preventative measure. Spraying insecticide around the perimeter of rooms, in cupboards and other insect hiding places, as well as spraying the outside perimeter of the home, garbage bins and sub-floor areas, will keep the cockroaches out of the house, preventing a potential pest outbreak. These treatments may need to be repeat more than once a year.

PestXpert Cockroach Products

  • For direct spray on cockroaches, Pro-Spray Crawling gives the fast knockdown and kill you require. Pro-Spray is also great for spraying into cracks and crevices with its extendable nozzle and can also be sprayed upside down to get under cupboards.
  • For preventative cockroach treatments Pro-Spray Indoor and Outdoor and Pro-Spray Outdoor Perimeter will provide long lasting protection.
  • If you have an pest outbreak, Pro-Fogger is the best solution to get the problem under control. Use one aerosol per room
Pro-Spray Crawling

Pro-Spray Crawling

Pro-Spray indoor and outdoor

Pro-Spray indoor and outdoor

Pro-Spray Outdoor Perimeter

Pro-Spray Outdoor Perimeter

 
Pro-Fogger

Pro-Fogger