Roaches are one of the most hated, and unfortunately also the most common, types of pests found inside the home in the Southwest. Not only are roaches clearly unsightly and embarrassing to have around the home, but because roaches eat garbage and waste they can spread bacteria and disease as they crawl around our kitchens and homes searching for food sources while leaving fecal matter behind in their wake. According to the American Lung Association and the Institute of Medicine, roaches can actually irritate asthma in adults and children and cause asthma to develop in preschool aged children*. But – the real question is – “What can you do to get rid of roaches?”
The best way is to prevent them from getting inside in the first place, however sealing all gaps that are small enough for roaches to enter is nearly impossible. By keeping garbage sealed in tightly closed garbage bins, and the yard and areas surrounding the exterior of the home as tidy as possible, and free of any possible organic food sources, you can keep them away from the exterior in the first place.
That being said, the best way to keep them away from the inside of your home, is to remove conducive conditions inside the home especially around moisture sources. As roaches love dark and damp areas – this means the kitchen, bathrooms and water heaters. Even the tidiest of homes can experience roach activity, but by keeping food and garbage tightly sealed and not left out in the open, you will reduce if not eliminate their sources of food, and they’ll have to move elsewhere. Always wash dirty dishes immediately, as even the smallest of specks of food or grease can become food for roaches.
But what to do if I’m doing all of this and still experiencing activity inside? Traps and home remedies such as boric acid can be effective, but can also be messy and can have wide varying degrees of success. Gadgets such as high frequency sound emitters have unfortunately not be proven to be effective either. Follow the checklist below, and if you are still experiencing activity, it’s probably time to call in the professionals!
- dry up any standing water around sinks, tubs and toilets – roaches can only live for about a week without water
- meticulously clean your kitchen, including crumbs around cabinets, stove, fridge, and microwave
- vacuum scraps of food or other organic waste from the corners and those hard to reach places
- wipe down cupboards and drawers insides with soap and water
- immediately clean and put away dirty dishes
- keep garbage tightly sealed (best in a sealing plastic bin) inside, as well as in the garage and outside bins
- keep lose pantry food like dog food and cereals in sealed plastic containers
*Institute of Medicine, Division of Health Promotion, Indoor Air and Disease Prevention. Clearing the Air: Asthma and Indoor Air Exposures. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2000.