The major signs of cockroaches are a strong oily odor and small “specks” around the home that resemble black pepper grains. Another sure sign of cockroaches is finding shed cockroach exoskeletons and egg cases in dark, concealed locations throughout your home (especially near wood, water, or food sources). There are over 20,000 cockroach species, but only about six invade homes as a pest. The home-invading types prefer dark, damp dwellings and are generally nocturnal. They most often reside in kitchens and bathrooms due to moist areas that provide warmth. These are the best places to begin a search for signs of cockroaches. Some roaches may actually enter homes through sewage lines and then spread germs that cause allergies and sicknesses (such as hepatitis, diarrhea, and dysentery).
An untreated cockroach infestation will lead to a bigger problem. Cockroaches will continue to breed and lay eggs, growing in number exponentially. One female cockroach is capable of laying four to five egg cases, each containing about 40 young. Cockroaches, especially in large numbers, are known to spread disease and cause food spoilage.
Treatment of a cockroach infestation depends on the size of the infestation. Professionals are especially helpful with large cockroach infestations, which account for nearly 60% of their work. However, there are some things you can do on your own. Reducing food, water, and shelter sources for the cockroaches naturally leads to fewer cockroaches. Locate hiding spots of cockroaches by looking in tight, moist, dark areas or by using sticky traps to determine popular areas of cockroach traffic. Then, fix water leaks, reduce areas of moisture, seal all cracks and crevices, and clean up food crumbs and residues. Use a cockroach insecticide bait after cleaning up and removing any other food sources. Place the bait in the areas you identified as high-traffic areas. Boric acid may be used instead of bait but is slower acting. Insecticide dusts are useful in tight crevices and other inaccessible areas. Overall, good clean up and hygiene is the most basic way to avoid and deter cockroach infestations.