Cockroaches are unfortunately a common part of living in an apartment, as they spread easily in the cramped living conditions, and it only takes one neighbor to end up with them for the whole block to start having problems.
Small roaches are particularly common and difficult to deal with, but do not fear!
In this article we’ll look at:
- What the small roach probably is
- The problems it may cause
- Who to tell about the issue
- How to defend your apartment
What Kind Of Cockroach Am I Dealing With?
The chances are that if you’ve got tiny cockroaches in your apartment, they are German cockroaches.
These insects have evolved to live inside our homes, away from the cold and their natural predators, and they love apartment blocks.
German cockroaches are under one inch long, with light brown bodies.
They have two darker stripes that run lengthwise on their heads, and they are non-flying cockroaches, but they can climb extremely well.
They have sticky feet, allowing them to scale sheer vertical surfaces without any issue.
These cockroaches like a lot of humidity and warmth, so apartment blocks are ideal spaces for them.
Once they are in, they will breed extremely quickly, because they reach adulthood much quicker than many other cockroaches, and can therefore multiply far faster than most species you might encounter.
You might be wondering how on Earth small cockroaches make their way into apartment blocks, given that they can’t fly.
Even with sticky feet, this might seem quite amazing. The answer is that they are usually carried inside on other items.
If a neighbor has recently fetched boxes from their garage or you’ve brought something back from a store, it’s quite likely to have a little hitchhiker on board.
It might seem like your home is secure enough that they should only become your problem if you bring them in, but if you live in an apartment, that isn’t the case.
Why Are Apartments So Vulnerable To Small Cockroaches?
Unfortunately, apartments are very easy for cockroaches to spread through.
What might seem like sealed, self-contained units to people are very easy to travel between for cockroaches, especially small ones.
A roach will have no problem making its way from your neighbor’s home into yours.
They can climb between walls, under floors, and even along pipework, and they will spread very quickly in the warm conditions.
It may take quite some time for them to be detected, and with so many people living in such a small space, the risk of somebody accidentally introducing them is high.
You may be thinking that as long as you keep your apartment clean and tidy, you will have no issue with cockroaches, but unfortunately that is not strictly true.
While being clean does make your home less attractive to cockroaches, it does not stop them from moving in and getting established – it just decreases the chances.
It also doesn’t take much for another nearby apartment to be accidentally supporting them, possibly without even realizing it.
You do not have to be slovenly to drop enough for cockroaches, as they are not fussy eaters, and will go for almost any food they can find, even if it doesn’t seem edible to us.
Unfortunately, therefore, apartments often suffer from German cockroach infestations, and that’s not a nice thing to hear if you live in one!
Does It Matter?
Although most people find cockroaches thoroughly creepy and shudder at the thought of cohabiting with them, you might be wondering whether it really matters that much.
As long as you’re not seeing them or hearing them, is there a big problem if the odd cockroach lives in the walls?
Unfortunately, yes, there is. Cockroaches of all sizes spread diseases, and small cockroaches are no exception to that rule.
Indeed, German cockroaches may cause an even bigger problem; as non-fliers, they have to walk everywhere, and so their feet touch even more germs and bacteria than other cockroach feet.
They then transfer this to your surfaces, and given that cockroaches tend to live in the damp parts of apartments – around pipework, near toilets – you really don’t want them trekking these kinds of germs into your kitchen and onto your food.
Your own toilet is bad enough, but somebody else’s toilet is far worse.
The speed with which German cockroaches reproduce is also a major issue, and if you see even one, you need to take action fast.
Cockroaches are hard to spot, so if you’re seeing one, there’s a good chance the infestation is already serious.
It might be localized in another apartment, but it needs addressing as soon as possible.
It is also worth remembering that some people are allergic to cockroaches (Me included!), so even if this does not apply to you, an infestation needs dealing with for the sake of others in your apartment block.
So, what should you do if you find German cockroaches, or for that matter any other kind of roach, in your apartment or in the common spaces of an apartment block?
They like dark areas, so stairwells and elevators are often popular with them.
Check out are article on how to make home made cockroach traps using peanut butter:
Step One: Notify The Management
Cockroaches are a big problem, and the first step you need to take is notifying the relevant authority about what you have seen.
If you can include a picture of the cockroach, this may be useful to them.
Otherwise, give them what information you can about where you saw it and when.
Your lease may have information about pest control and the responsibilities of the management; they are obliged to keep the apartments habitable, and this includes being free from pests.
If you are having cockroach problems, it is up to them to deal with it.
You might have to contact maintenance, or they may get in touch with an external contractor to fix the situation.
If they are not prompt about it, remind them of their obligations, with reference to the lease if necessary.
Cockroaches are a serious health hazard; your building operators should treat them as such and respond quickly to any sign of cockroaches in the block.
If you believe the cockroaches are only in your apartment, it is still crucial to inform the managers.
The infestation could easily be elsewhere without you knowing, and unless they are told, you have no way of knowing if the cockroaches have gone or just moved to a neighbor if you succeed in getting rid of them.
Cockroaches will easily move around in an apartment block, so to effectively deal with them, a coordinated effort that targets many spaces at once is likely to be needed – and for that, you have to involve building management who have access to all the residential and non-residential areas.
Step Two: Clean Your Apartment
Even if you only saw the cockroaches in a common space, you should give your own apartment a very thorough clean.
This won’t necessarily prevent cockroaches from coming into it, especially if the infestation is serious, but it will make your home less appealing to the insects.
Cockroaches like dark, quiet, undisturbed spaces, so look around for any potential hiding spots.
De-clutter, move furniture, clean behind things, and generally do what you can to keep your home clean.
This will mean there is less for cockroaches to eat, so they won’t be attracted, and they also won’t find hiding spots that appeal to them, because they will be constantly disturbed when they try to move in.
Keep this up both while the issue exists and after the infestation has been dealt with to keep any remaining cockroaches away from your home and prevent them from re-establishing their colony.
Moving and cleaning regularly deters many kinds of pests, but particularly small cockroaches.
Step Three: Put Away Food
You don’t want a German cockroach crawling on your food. There is absolutely no question about this, and they will if given the opportunity.
Food that is left out at night becomes a prime target for these nocturnal insects, and they will crawl on and eat whatever they can find.
Even if the cockroaches aren’t located in your apartment, your food and countertops are at risk.
You should put away all food before you go to bed, and wipe down countertops both in the evening and in the morning before you use them, removing any germs that may have been transferred during the night.
Although there are many things you can use to temporarily deter cockroaches, such as leaving the lights on, they will quickly adapt to such measures.
The only real solution is to get management to remove them from the building.
Step Four: Minimize Dampness
As mentioned, German cockroaches thrive when the environment is damp, and they don’t like dry conditions.
Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to ventilate and dry an apartment effectively, especially if the air is humid, or if it’s been raining a lot.
Firstly, try to avoid drying washing in your apartment. Find a laundry service or communal dryers and take your washing there.
This should minimize dampness issues, especially if you open the windows and allow air to circulate from time to time.
Next, make sure you keep on top of any leaky taps, faucets, or spills in your apartment.
Alert maintenance and ensure leaks are dealt with promptly. If cockroaches can’t drink, they can’t survive.
Keep on top of these at all times, even when there is no current known infestation in the building.
It is easy for cockroaches to get in at any time, and they will spread fast to any damp areas they can find.
Make sure your apartment isn’t one of them!
Step Five: Bait The Roaches
While it may be up to the building managers to deal with the infestation, you can do your part by killing any that enter your apartment.
Expert treatment may be necessary if they are living in the walls or under the floors, but having bait down will help to keep at least your apartment free from the insects, reducing the spread of germs.
You can purchase gel baits which should be spread around in pea-sized blobs. The cockroaches will be attracted to these poisonous blobs and will eat them.
This is a highly effective way to eliminate the pests.
You can also use boric acid or commercial insecticide dust such as CimeXA.
These kill the cockroaches that walk through the dust, and this can be used in conjunction with gel bait.
If you have pets, make sure you pay attention to warning labels before using any products in your home.
Small roaches are a common problem when living in apartments, but you can take steps to make your apartment unattractive and quickly notify management of any issues with these unpopular insects.
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All the best
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