Roaches are among the most common but also the most unsettling pests to enter Georgia homes. Most people are repelled by the sight of even a single cockroach, and the thought of a full-blown infestation is enough to drive some to want to break out the kerosene and matches!
Of all the common roaches known to live in Georgia, none are more dreaded than the tiny German cockroach. Unlike the more common American cockroach (commonly nicknamed the “palmetto bug”), the German cockroach is a known disease carrier. Most commonly, these bugs carry harmful bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli, which can be transferred to food items and cooking/eating utensils when a roach encounters them. They can cause illnesses and symptoms, including:
- Food poisoning
- Other gastrointestinal diseases
In addition to giving you a seriously upset stomach, the fecal matter, shed skins, and other byproducts of a cockroach infestation can trigger allergies and asthma attacks in some people, causing respiratory distress, rashes, swelling, and other symptoms.
In this article, we’ll give you some tips for identifying when you have a German cockroach problem and how you can help eradicate the pests from your home or business.
What Is a German Cockroach?
Unlike the typical American cockroach, or palmetto bug, the German cockroach is a smaller insect with adults measuring only about ½” – 5/8″ long. German cockroaches are lighter in color than their American cousins and are usually tan with parallel dark brown stripes on their backs.
You’ll typically find these pests crawling on floors, walls, and countertops in your home’s warmer, more humid areas, especially kitchens and bathrooms. As nocturnal creatures, they’re more active at night. If you see German cockroaches out and about in the daytime, you probably have a severe infestation and should call an exterminator immediately.
Another unpleasant sign of a German cockroach infestation is a musty, oily smell. These nasty little bugs secrete a smelly array of chemicals that can give your entire home an unpleasant odor.
How to Get Rid of German Cockroaches
If you only have a minor issue and have only ever seen one or two roaches in your home at night or in the dark corners of your house, you may be able to get rid of them yourself using baits or sprays. There are hundreds of commercial pesticides and bait treatments on the market. Choosing one that targets German cockroaches (Blattella germanica) and using it according to the instructions on the label may be enough to drive off a minor infestation.
If you have a more severe infestation and have seen several roaches at night or roaches in the open during daylight hours, over-the-counter solutions probably won’t do the trick. You’ll need the tools and chemicals available to professional exterminators to knock out the threat. Your local exterminator will deploy several weapons to kill off the invaders:
- Pesticide and repellent sprays to kill or deter insects that try to enter your living spaces.
- Bait and stations that attract roaches and trick them into eating special chemicals that travel from roach to roach, quickly killing off all the bugs in an area.
- Barrier treatments that prevent insects from entering your home from outside.
How to Stay Rid of German Cockroaches
Once the bugs are gone, there are several things you can do to help ensure they stay away and trouble you no more. While no preventative measure is ever 100% effective, by adopting these regular practices, you can significantly reduce the amount of food and water you can offer an invading pest and minimize the risk of a future re-infestation.
Dry Things Up
Most roaches wandering about are searching for food, water, or both. Leaky faucets, dripping refrigerator drains, residual water in sinks, baths, and showers, and weeping or condensing drain pipes are common water sources for the pests. By ensuring that your plumbing is sealed up tight, your cooling appliances are draining and evaporating condensate correctly, and that you wipe up residual water and spills, you can turn off the water for future roach invaders.
If you live in a humid area – say, Middle Georgia – using a room or whole-house dehumidifier can also help keep roaches at bay since they’re attracted to warm, humid air.
Don’t Serve a Buffet
German cockroaches are tiny little critters, and even a small morsel of food can be a feast for them. By taking special care to thoroughly clean up food residue, promptly emptying trash receptacles, and never leaving food packages or containers lying around, you can help prevent future infestations. Grease residue from cooking, especially the nutrient-rich grease that tends to accumulate near your oven, stove, range, and vent hood, is also a favored food, so regular cleanings around your cooktop are also important in driving off potential unwanted pests.
Unfortunately, the things that we consider food aren’t the only dietary options for roaches. Other everyday household items can also be a snack for the ugly bugs, including:
- Pet food and treats
- Grooming products such as soap and toothpaste
- The glues used in bookbinding, stamps, and corrugated cardboard
While you can’t eliminate these products from your home, keeping pet food and grooming products in sealed containers and making sure that books and cardboard boxes are stored in dry places and off the floor are good ways to keep German cockroaches from feasting on them.
German cockroaches are bad news for your family’s health. If you have a severe roach infestation, let the experts at National Exterminating remove the threat for good. Call us today at 478-922-1410.