Cockroach Problem


Learn proven strategies for effective, natural and organic cockroach control here.

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There are more than 3,500 known species of cockroaches found throughout the world, many of which infest the household and are frequently found in restaurants, hotels and grocery stores. More than $1.5 billion a year is spent controlling cockroaches in the United States alone. Their presence is so objectionable that roaches are considered among the worst of domestic pests.

Cockroaches consume human foodstuffs and contaminate them with saliva and excrement. They are also responsible for transmitting diseases such as the bacteria which cause food poisoning and are a significant source of allergies indoors, second only to house dust.

Adult house-infesting roaches are medium to large insects (1/2 – 2 inches long, depending on species) that vary in color from a light reddish brown to black. They have a broad, flattened shape, spiny legs and long, whip-like antennae. Roaches are active at night and will scatter quickly when disturbed by light. Immature stages (nymphs) resemble adults, but are smaller and have undeveloped wings.

Note: The cockroach evolved as a scavenger of decaying plant materials; as a result, it prefers carbohydrates to protein and fat.

Life Cycle

Adult females produce egg capsules, which may contain up to 50 eggs. Some species carry them on their bodies until hatching takes place, while other drop the capsules in protected places that they frequent. After about 30 days young nymphs appear and begin their gradual development. As with all insects, roaches must shed their outer skin, or molt, to grow. Immediately after molting, they are white, but within hours their body becomes dark and hardens. Depending on the species, it may take a cockroach as little as six weeks to become an adult or as long as a few years. There are several generations per year.

This common pest reproduces at an enormous rate and is capable of producing several thousand offspring in a year. Here’s how to get rid of cockroaches naturally:

Cockroach Control

  1. Roaches flourish where food and moisture are readily available. As a result, sanitation is an important step in prevention and management. Reduce the carrying capacity of your home by placing food and waste in sealed containers.
  2. Reduce pest hiding places, like cracks and crevices, with caulk and paint.
  3. Place glue traps along baseboards, near water pipes, behind refrigerators, in bathrooms and most locations where roaches are found.
  4. Wrap fine screen over vents and windows through which many crawling pests travel.
  5. In a recent study, Orange Guard reduced cockroach populations better than Dursban, the toxic ingredient in Raid®.
  6. Dust Boric Acid lightly into cracks, crevices, wall voids and other insect hiding places. This fine powder clings to the legs, antennae and bodies of insects and acts as a stomach poison when consumed during grooming.
  7. Food-grade diatomaceous earth contains no toxic poisons and works on contact. Lightly coat a thin layer over insect hiding places. Repeat treatment as necessary.
  8. Least-toxic botanical insecticides should be used as a last resort. Derived from plants which have insecticidal properties, these natural pesticides have fewer harmful side effects than synthetic chemicals and break down more quickly in the environment.

Note: Household pests are often carried into homes in shipping materials, grocery bags, beer and soda cases, laundry and used appliances.

Tip: Use multiple traps to detect pest populations and give priority to areas where you have found the highest numbers.

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