How to prevent and get rid of cockroaches in your home: Part 1

There are preventative measures that can be taken by the homeowner to protect their families and properties from the infestation of cockroaches. Following these simple protection steps can minimize your risk from cockroach infestation.

Cockroaches (or “roaches”) are one of the most commonly noted household pest insects. There are close to 4,000 species of cockroaches worldwide, and about 60 species are found in the United States. The more common pest species in the United States are the American cockroach, the Oriental cockroach and the German cockroach. Cockroaches prefer warm, moist places with available food sources, making the interior of a home a prime target for a cockroach nest. Eliminating those attractive environments and making your home inhospitable can help prevent cockroach infestations. This pest poses severe health risks once it invades your dwelling. Cockroaches can be carriers of various diseases which can aggravate allergies, especially in children and sensitive individuals. There are preventative measures that can be taken by the homeowner to protect their families and properties from the health threats associated with cockroaches. Effective cockroach control begins with adequate prevention on the inside of a home and the surrounding areas outdoors. Following these simple protection steps can minimize your risk from cockroach infestation. Here are some prevention tips:

Outside:

  • Seal cracks around the outside of the home to prevent pest entryways.
  • Seal gaps around doors, windows, and where utility lines enter the home.
  • Screen or seal drain lines and sewer vents that lead to your home.
  • Remove garbage from around the home on a routine basis.
  • Store garbage containers away from the entry points of a home.
  • Trim shrubbery around the home to increase light and air circulation.

Inside:

  • Properly ventilate basements and crawl spaces to eliminate harborage points.
  • Insulate pipes to prevent condensation under kitchen units and around the toilet.
  • Keep your home clean.
  • Vacuum frequently and remove garbage from around the home on a routine basis.
  • Keep food material in an airtight container as any open lying food can easily attract cockroaches.
  • Keep all the shelves, drawers, and cabinets in your house painted and clean, as unclean places or cabinets are the favorite places for cockroaches.

Remember: You can prevent and control cockroach infestation by following just a few important precautions. If you suspect you have an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to identify the species and recommend a course of treatment. In part 2 of this series, we will cover the extraction of cockroaches from your home.

Michigan State University Extension offers financial management and home ownership education classes. For more information of classes in your area, go to either the events page or the MI Money Health webpage.

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