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This is the nightmare of every kitchen, home and office the ever-present cockroach. It is an unpleasant pest, therefore important to understand the basic aspects of a cockroach infestation.

The American cockroach (Periplaneta americana)

One of the biggest exports of the USA. Its wings allow it to fly over only short distances. This cockroach is one of the largest cockroaches in the UK, reaching up to 30mm. It is a dark brown, mahogany-coloured insect.

The German cockroach (Blattella germanica)

The only species found in the UK (or in Europe) which can fly. It is by far the most common type found in Great Britain. They are pale insects that reach 12mm-15mm in length.

The oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis).

Also known as the waterbug (as they live in damp areas) or black beetle (as their bodies are mostly dark),is a large species of cockroach, adult males being 18–29 mm and adult females being 20–27 mm.

All cockroaches are omnivorous scavengers. They consume any organic matter they come across. This includes food only specific bacteria can dissolve. Cockroaches can eat leather, wallpaper paste, soap, glue, eyelashes, toenails, eyebrows and even hair. If this doesn’t disgust you enough, they will also devour fingerprints, sugar, dry leaves and rotten wood. They feed on the content of your sewage and even the greasy impression of any food you have left on your kitchen counter.

Cockroaches are quick to locate such food sources and can survive without food for one month. It is still an unlikely occurrence for a cockroach to die due to starvation—unless you sever its head off, that is. And if they indeed can’t find a food source, they can always resolve to bite humans. Bites are always an indicator their population has been long out of control. If you are bitten by one, you should seek professional pest control help immediately.

Health Effects

Though considered to be “dirty” or “filthy”, roaches, like cats, groom themselves all the time. They spread fewer bacteria than we do with our hands. Still, the bacteria they spread is dangerous enough on its own. They also emit a powerful scent most people are allergic to. Strong allergic reactions can result in swelling, rashes and breathing difficulties.

Roaches are also a well-known cause of asthma, especially to kids exposed to their organic and faecal matter. Detritus from dead cockroaches is lifted by weak air currents and inhaled by people. Roaches are also a disease vector and can spread staphylococcus, streptococcus and salmonella. Last but not least cockroach bites can cause swelling, irritation and even minor infections.

Causes of Infestation

Cockroaches possess unmatched survival skills and breed in huge numbers. They can also flatten their bodies to the extreme. This allows them to get inside your property through any cracks and holes in the structure. Walls, pipes, gutters, roofs, doors, or even air conditioning tubes often serve as an entrance.

Still, there is a higher chance of an infestation in premises with bad hygiene conditions. Wet, warm places offer a perfect breeding ground for those insects. They occupy areas such as laundry rooms, boxes, shelves, books and cupboards.Cockroaches are nocturnal animals and hide if they feel the presence of humans.

Severe infestation can force the insects to look for new places to hide anywhere in your property. They are even known to infest electrical appliances such as fridges, toasters and dishwashers.

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Here are the most common places where cockroaches lay eggs:

Dark places - roaches love the darkness. It’s safe and it feels hard to reach, so it’s naturally a good place to lay eggs. Check behind or under or even in your cupboards;

Furniture - just like humans, roaches love comfy furniture. And what better place to hide your precious oothecae than in a comfy, warm and secure sofa;

Warm appliances - a safe and cosy spot is just right under your fridge. Under the oven or washing machine is also a possibility;

Cabinets - the same reasons – darkness, safety, and there is access to food.

Not all cockroaches leave their eggs. Some species carry the oothecae with them until they hatch. Others will carry them for a few hours or days and leave the eggs in a safe spot. German, Oriental and American leave their eggs.

Roaches are extremely resilient and run for cover at the slightest sign of danger. They are better at hiding than you are at finding them. They can survive without food for up to one month (some agile species can survive up to three months). They also can feed on any type of organic matter. 

Cockroaches reproduce rapidly, they can escape fumes and toxic chemicals with no effort. Also, if you are not keen on playing a hide-and-seek game with those pests, it is best advised to seek professional help.

Exterminate are experienced specialists that have Cockroach Control down to a science.

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