Many homeowners and apartment-dwellers are at risk of housing the ever-deplorable American Cockroaches.
These pests can cause health risks that otherwise would not be present in our homes; they can contaminate food, carry and transmit diseases, and cause allergic reactions in humans who experience long exposure.
There are many ways to prevent American Cockroaches and keep them out of your homes and apartments.
Here are some topics that this article will cover:
- The best practices for keeping your home clean to prevent American Cockroaches
- Ways to block American Cockroaches from entering your home
- What to be weary of when bringing things into your home from outside
- Best practices when landscaping your home to prevent American Cockroaches
- Natural deterrents for American Cockroaches
- When to call professional pest control
1. Keep things clean!
The most important thing you can do to prevent American Cockroaches in your home is to keep things clean. The main motivation for these insects entering your home is to find bits of food and grease that may have been forgotten or left out.
Your kitchen is the biggest culprit when it comes to attracting roaches. Not only should you keep your counters and floors clean, but you should be regularly cleaning inside and around your appliances.
Yes–unfortunately, that means scooting out your old rusty oven and cleaning behind and underneath it!
You wouldn’t believe how much grease and food matter collects around our kitchen appliances; without cleaning these areas, you’re sure to attract American Roaches in no time.
Other appliances that need regular cleaning (inside and around and underneath) include the refrigerator, microwave, and dishwasher.
Make sure that you don’t have crumbs out on your counter or in the corners of your kitchen floor–those pesky roaches have impeccable senses of smell and will find them if you don’t.
Vacuum your floors daily to stay on top of any food matter that may have accumulated during the day.
2. Do not leave food out.
As mentioned above, your kitchen is a hotspot location for American Cockroaches. When you cook, be sure to clean up thoroughly before moving on to another activity.
Leaving food out on the counter is a sure way to attract creatures of all kinds, especially roaches. Do not leave food in pots on the stove, don’t leave an open container of food in the fridge, and store your fruits and bread away.
Cockroaches can slip into any opening and will reach your food with their supernatural sense of smell.
This includes dog and cat food; you may need to train your dog or cat to eat their food at certain times of the day rather than leaving it out for them to graze on throughout the day.
3. Seal your food in airtight containers.
When storing your food, be sure to store it in an airtight container. There are many Tupperware brands that have great sealing technologies that you can use for storing your food.
American Cockroaches can make their way through any flimsy food containers, like cardboard or styrofoam take-home boxes. Don’t let these pesky pests get your favorite leftovers!
Be sure to keep your pet’s food sealed in an airtight container as well. Many pet stores carry large tupperware bins where you can store your pet’s kibble. Just rolling up a bag of pet food will not be enough to deter cockroaches.
You may even want to consider storing your pet’s food container outside, in the case that it still attracts bugs and roaches.
4. Take special notice of your garbage cans.
Your garbage cans contain a plethora of smells that are all going to be attractive to American cockroaches.
One way to ensure that you’re not attracting these pests to your kitchen and bathroom is by purchasing locking garbage cans and recycle bins. If they are sealed well enough, smells will be eliminated and roaches will not come searching for food.
Be sure to take your trash out regularly, maybe even daily, to give yourself a better chance of preventing cockroaches in your living space.
Clean your garbage cans occasionally to remove any smells they may be carrying. To clean out your garbage and recycling bins, use distilled white vinegar and water to wipe them down; then, rise them out using a hose.
If your cans have any holes, you can either replace the whole can or try to repair the holes.
According to Aptive, using fiberglass reinforcement tape, and then spreading epoxy from the hole to the outside of the can will help to keep roaches out of your garbage bins.
For outdoor trash can use, you can spray one-part ammonia and one-part water around the inside of your trash can. This mixture will ward off pests of all kind. Make sure your home windows are closed before spraying the mixture. The smell can be very strong.
5. Make sure to seal up ALL potential openings in your home.
Because of their flat body shape, American Cockroaches can slip into and through many small openings around your living space.
Make an effort to go around your home, room to room, and check for any cracks and small openings that may be portals for roaches.
This includes cracks in walls, any gaps that may exist around switch plates and outlet plates, and drains. You can buy drain covers that will serve to block roaches’ entryway.
Use silicone caulk to fill up any of these cracks and crevices. Weatherstripping around your windows and doors will serve you well for this purpose as well, especially if you have an old home.
Older homes tend to have less-effectively sealed doorways and window sills. Some repair businesses will do this for you, but if you’re looking to save some money, you could easily do it yourself.
6. Repair any leaks or insulation in your home or apartment.
Similar to sealing potential openings around your home, you should check for any leaks in sewer lines, any areas of leaky plumbing, and insulate any sweaty pipes.
Pipes give off a lot of smells, especially sewer lines, which American Cockroaches will flock to. If these pipes are leaking fluids, you may have an issue with roaches in your walls.
While many species of cockroach can live for prolonged periods of time without food, they cannot live without water, which is another reason they will seek it out. Make sure any leaky faucets are repaired as well.
7. Use a dehumidifier in your home.
To ensure that you don’t have any damp or humid areas in your home, purchase a dehumidifier and move it around to the places where it’s most likely to become damp.
This wetness will attract roaches, especially if it is dark and warm. Areas like furnace rooms, underneath and around water heaters, and underneath the dishwasher or stove are likely to attract these creatures.
One way to dry out damp areas in your home is to sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth along the baseboards of your home.
Diatomaceous earth is a white powder that, when sprinkled on a bug (or when the bug walks through it) is supposed to dry out or dehydrate the bug. Some claim that this works well to prevent cockroaches.
Because these areas are ones that you don’t typically check frequently or spend time in, just being aware of these locations and their humidity is a good first step to preventing American Cockroaches.
8. Be careful of what you bring into your living space.
Cockroaches are intelligent, and they’ll hitch a ride on objects left outside in order to get inside your warm, food-filled home. When you receive packages on your porch, be sure to inspect it for bugs before bringing it inside.
If you’re picking up some take-out food that was just delivered to your doorstep, check the outside of the bag before bringing it inside for dinner.
Potted plants can be attractive to cockroaches; they’re often damp with warm soil, a perfect cozy spot for an American Cockroach to plant themselves.
If you decide to have potted plants on your porch or buy one from the local nursery, inspect it thoroughly before bringing it inside or around your home or apartment.
9. Plant and mulch at a distance from your home’s foundation.
If you have a yard around your home, follow these suggestions to keep roaches away from your home’s foundation. Mulch, bushes, and any foliage can be the perfect nesting place for American Cockroaches.
If you create a comfy nesting spot for them right up against the foundation of your home, they may just find their way in once they smell food and feel warmth coming from inside.
If you keep firewood for your home, make sure the piles are at a distance from your house; if you’re bringing it inside for a fire, be sure to inspect it before bringing it in.
Clearing out your rain gutters is another place that would be helpful to clean out regularly–they often accumulate damp leaves and debris that can be nice hiding spots for roaches.
10. Use natural scents to deter cockroaches from entering your home.
There are several natural scents that have proven useful to deter American Cockroaches from entering your space.
If your cat doesn’t mind sharing, catnip has been found to be a natural roach deterrent. Scientists have found that a cockroach is less likely to enter a space where the scent of catnip is present.
According to Cockroach Zone, some other scents that may keep roaches away from your home are: citrus, cinnamon, bay leaves, garlic, peppermint, and coffee grounds. Essential oils like tea tree and orange zest can also be helpful deterrents.
Unfortunately, cockroaches are intelligent and can easily adapt to their surroundings; this means that they may ignore your strong natural scents and go for the food on your floor anyway.
11. Call a pest control professional.
If all else fails, you may want to resort to calling a pest control professional. It’s best to call them before the cockroach problem becomes unmanageable. Depending on the severity of the infestation, different treatment plans are available.
Because cockroaches can get to pretty much any area of your house, including inside your walls and through your pipes, a safe application of insecticides may be necessary.
This will provide a strong barrier that will hopefully eliminate any cockroaches that try to enter and live in your space. Consulting a local exterminator will be your best bet at ridding your living space of American Cockroaches.
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