Although the mere word “cockroach” creates a disgusting image, most people associate cockroaches with the large, scurrying cockroaches that often come in from outside. However, it is the small cockroaches species, particularly the German cockroach that cause most of the problems and can be very difficult to control.
The small cockroach species, such as the German and Brown-banded cockroaches, live inside buildings. Their small size and quick breeding cycle make them ideally suited to exploiting every nook and cranny in your home and establishing a significant population, even before you know you have a problem!
These are small cockroaches. The adults are only 1.5cm long and the young (nymphs) start at a mere 3mm! This small size means they can exploit very small spaces and in fact some people don’t even realize they are cockroaches…. they just have these "small, brown beetles"!?
Often German cockroach will manage to get into buildings hidden inside cardboard boxes (so check any incoming boxes!). Whilst they like cardboard boxes they will also try and find a warm dry harbourage, close to food and water. They can exploit a wide variety of hiding places and if you do not locate all these harbourages and kill all the cockroaches hiding there, the population will rebound and the problem will return. Here is the 3 step process to get rid of small cockroaches;
1) Find the source of the infestation
German cockroaches tend to set up home in the kitchen, but also like bathrooms and laundries. Here are the key places to look;
1) Cupboards – look in corners and hinges of cupboards. Also underneath and behind any kick-boards.
2) Oven / Grill – under and behind the oven / grill
3) Fridge / Freezer – underneath and behind the fridge (in the warm electric motor)
4) Microwave – Under and in the back of the microwave
5) Dishwasher – underneath, inside the door and inside the back electrics
6) Toaster – inside the toaster
7) TV – Inside the TV – yes, inside the TV!
Brown-banded cockroaches can take up residence in similar areas, although they can tolerate dryer conditions they can be found in living areas and bedrooms.
2) Apply the correct cockroach treatment
Bombs / Foggers:
If you have an infested room, a cockroach bomb / fogger is a good way to start. It is very good at getting into cracks and crevices and also kills cockroaches when they come out of the hiding places and walk on treated surfaces. With its long lasting performance it helps prevent re-infestation. Make sure you follow all safety directions. However, it is unlikely to get into all the cockroach hiding places.
Sprays are useful for targeting known hiding places, directly treating corners of cupboards, under appliances and in other cracks and crevices. Sprays with a nozzle to get into small areas make the job a lot easier.
Cockroach baits are useful to place around areas you cannot spray such as electrical goods and food preparation areas. Place the baits in areas where you have seen cockroaches active or know they are hiding. They will come out of their harbourage and feed on the bait. Baits are not fast acting by design. The cockroaches then have a chance to get back to their harbourage and share the bait, magnifying its effect. Be aware that bait performance is dependent on how attractive the formulation is and the type of insecticide it contains, so not all baits deliver the same performance.
Foggers, sprays and dusts tend to be repellent to cockroaches. As baits are designed to attract cockroaches, baits should not be used in close proximity to other insecticide products.
Treating cockroach populations in electrical equipment is a challenge - you don’t want to damage the equipment and there are the obvious safety issues. Baits should be the first choice in these situations, but insecticide dusts can also be considered as an option, if the label allows such uses.
3) Prevent the cockroach problem returning
For small cockroaches, the most important step is to prevent re-infestation. Checking any incoming boxes is a good first step and putting in place a regular spray or baiting program is a good preventative measure. However, there are some other key steps you can take to make your home less attractive to cockroaches;
- Do not leave dirty dishes out overnight
- Clear up any food spills (oven, fridge, grill, food cupboards, etc)
- Don’t leave pet food out
- Keep rubbish in sealed bins
- Fix any leaks / areas of moisture.
- Seal any cracks / openings that would create a suitable cockroach harbourage