In the UK, the most common species are the German and the Oriental cockroach.
The German cockroach is about 10-15mm long, and yellowish brown in colour. It has 2 dark stripes along its thorax, and is particularly quick and agile. The sticky pads on its feet means this pest can climb vertical glass!
The Oriental cockroach grows to about 24mm long and can be shiny, dark brown to black in colour. Less agile than its’ German cousin, they prefer cooler, damper conditions.
Cockroaches avoid daylight and hide in cracks and crevices during these busier hours. They will consume almost anything, including cardboard, and come out to forage at night when all is quiet.
They thrive in temperatures of between 20-35oC; and will need access to water to survive. This is why they are cost commonly found in kitchens and toilets, e.g. behind cookers and kickboards, or in the workings of fridge freezers and freezer units.
The design of modern buildings and their cavity wall based construction provides an ideal environment for cockroaches to breed and spread. Tower blocks, care homes, student halls of residence and other multi-occupancy buildings are all at risk, and we manage over 3000 flats and buildings on behalf of our housing association and university clients.
If an infestation goes unnoticed, problems can quickly escalate. Resulting block treatments can be disruptive and difficult to co-ordinate.
These pests are of a public health significance because they can spread food poisoning organisms including E-coli, Typhoid and Salmonella. If you are running a food premise these pests represent a significant risk to food safety. In extreme circumstances, Environmental Health will issue compulsory closure orders to affected premises.
The general misconception is that cockroaches lay eggs in and around the properties which they infest. People then think they may get eggs caught in the treads of their shoes, transport these eggs home with them and cause a further infestation at home.
In fact, Cockroaches transport their eggs around with them in an egg case called an ootheca below the abdomen. Shortly before hatching the adult discards the ootheca (usually in a crack / crevasse) and the eggs hatch into nymphs.
Simply refraining from treading on these insects when you see them will minimise the risk of any potential cross-contamination.
Scrupulous attention to hygiene and housekeeping is essential. Denying food stuffs and water and proofing cracks and holes will help.
However, complete eradication is usually a professional job.
The trick is to break the breading cycle. We do this by adding a type of oral contraceptive, in the form of a gel based bait. This, together with trapping, and the application of other residual insecticides will eventually solve the problem. Complete riddance however often takes a few visits. And any treatment will only be successful if there is co-operation from the resident on the hygiene and housekeeping front.
If you have a suspected problem with cockroaches, ask us how we can help…
We had a Halls of Residence that had an infestation of Pharaohs Ants. PPM were quick to identify the problem, which is important, because the wrong type of treatment worsens the problem. They put together a treatment plan, informed all of the students, and implemented the riddance program perfectly.
I wish I had employed PPM Pest Control years ago, they do a superb job in controlling pests on our site - nothing is too much trouble.