If roaches are house hunting, they can check out your place by crawling through tiny gaps around doors, pipes and other open spaces. Some adults can grow fairly large, but can shimmy through slits as thin as one-sixteenth of an inch. Contrary to popular belief, they aren't simply attracted to messy households, although that will extend their stay. Instead, common roaches that invade homes seek out warmth, moisture and darkness. Pizza left sitting out on the counter is just an added bonus.
Roaches have become such widespread pests because they thrive on very little. The insects require three things: water, food and warm shelter. Roaches have lived off the bare essentials with few changes since their creation 320 million years ago. Even the areas they choose for nesting indoors are minimalistic -- cramped spaces in walls, behind picture frames, under sinks and elsewhere.
Once it hits you that roaches are inside your home, getting to know them is your last concern. On the next page, we'll go over the first steps on how to show roaches the door.
Recognition and Control.
Most cockroaches are tropical or sub-tropical in origin and generally live outdoors. However, some species have adapted well to living with humans. Though it is true that they prosper in clutter, filth and grime, cockroaches at times infest even the most sanitary and well-organized homes and buildings.
Cockroaches enter buildings in infested boxes, grocery bags, beverage cartons, furniture and dried pet foods. They also enter around loose-fitting doors and windows, where electrical lines or water and steam pipes pass through walls, in seasoned firewood and through sewer lines.
Most cockroaches are nocturnal and appear during daylight only when disturbed or where there is a heavy infestation. They prefer warm, dark, humid shelters, and often move around the kitchen sink or drainboard. They prefer to rest in cracks around, under or inside cupboards and cabinets; where pipes or electrical wiring pass along or through a wall; behind window or door frames, loose baseboards or molding strips; under tables and chairs; in upholstered furniture; in bathrooms; in radio and TV cabinets; and in motor compartments of refrigerators, washing machines and other appliances. It is important to know where cockroaches are hiding in your home because these are the locations that must be cleaned and treated.
Cockroaches feed on a variety of plant and animal products, including meat and grease, starchy foods, sweets, baked goods and other unprotected kitchen goods. They also feed on materials such as leather, wallpaper paste and book binding and sizing.
Cockroaches rank high on the homeowner's list of pest problems. Their presence in the home is objectionable and implies uncleanliness. Cockroaches contaminate food with excrement and salivary secretions, and they may leave an unpleasant odor. Cockroaches also carry disease organisms, although their role in transmitting diseases to humans is poorly documented.