Escape to an Island in the Sun

Is Your Home Fit for a Cockroach? - Part 2 - Food For Thought

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Last week I was accused by one reader on being too ‘soft’ on cockroaches. I had given them too much ‘positive exposure’ was one particular lady’s view. I always take account of reader’ views, so here is the other side of the story…´ (Please don’t eat anything whilst reading this).

Did you know that in some parts of the Far East, cockroaches are considered a fine delicacy? Fried, stewed, boiled or roasted they can cost a lot of money. I also heard a tragic but true story of an American lady who had a meal in one of those not so clean American ‘diners’. Sadly, she must have eaten cockroach infested food – without knowing it at the time. A few days later her gums began to swell and bleed and she rushed to the dentist. After a thorough examination the dentist told her that her gums were totally infested with a huge number of growing cockroach eggs. The dentist asked where she ate and he nodded wisely and then called the police. They went to the restaurant and found both live and dead cockroaches in the meat.

In this article, I have included a few ideas about how to check your property for these adorable little beasts and then how to deal with them.

Check all the rooms

Bathrooms: Moisture is the lure here. Look behind the bath, shower, sinks and toilet, and around pipes.

Underbuild: Cockroaches frequent basements, coming in from sewers and landfills. Inspect inside floor drains. Check the foundation for cracks.

Other rooms: Vacuum drapes and furniture, especially under cushions and in crevices. Empty and clean bookshelves, and shake out the books. Check closets, desks, clocks, radios, stereos, computers and televisions – wherever it’s warm and dark.

Kitchen: You are most likely to find cockroaches here. Look on the floor underneath and behind sinks, stoves and other appliances. Peer at the back of, and along the interior frame of cabinets and drawers, looking into any spaces. Inspect corners, especially those under tables and chairs. Examine the edges of ceilings, especially above cooking and dishwashing areas. Check the back of the refrigerator and the door seals.

This inspection will reveal the "hot spots," the places of greatest cockroach activity. Focus on these areas.

Eliminate snacks for the cockroach

Kitchens provide ideal habitats for cockroaches. Concentrate on making your kitchen uninviting to these unwelcome visitors. Adopt a strict hygiene policy. Tolerate no grease, crumbs, grunge or clutter anywhere.

Clean all surfaces, especially between counters and appliances. Scrub underneath and behind refrigerators and stoves (floor and walls). Remember the corners, drawers, cabinets and fixtures.

Store all food, including pet food, in tightly sealed containers. Don’t leave bowls of pet food on the floor overnight.

Food waste must also be carefully guarded. Keep your refuse, compost and recyclables in tightly sealed containers. Empty and clean them daily, preferably in the evening, because cockroaches are most active at night.

Repair damaged refrigerator door seals. If the insulation’s infested, use a bait or call a professional.

Wipe up cockroach faeces with a disposable cloth. Faeces contain a pheromone that attracts roaches; newly hatched roaches feed on the faeces of older roaches. You didn’t want to know that did you?

Disposing of cockroaches

My neighbour tells me not to stamp on a cockroach – you may just carry their eggs on your shoe into your home, they will hatch – and you know the rest of the story! I am also told that cats love to eat them, but that the eggs pass through the cat and may later hatch.

Experts tell me that to quickly reduce cockroach populations, vacuum them with the hose attachment, preferably using a machine equipped with a HEPA filter, and a great advert for all those lovely, colourful Dysons! As soon as you’re done, remove the vacuum bag and quickly seal it inside another bag, and then dispose of both bags.

Insecticide baits are highly effective and are among the more environmentally sensitive controls. Be patient; it will take about two weeks to see results. These baits act as a food source, so make sure no other food is available – only hungry cockroaches will be attracted to them. Some cockroaches will eat the bait directly, while others will be poisoned after feeding on those roaches or their faeces. Don’t use pesticides or cleaning compounds near the baits, because they may repel the cockroaches.

Set the baits in the "hot spots," close to the cockroaches’ shelter, or directly within their travel paths–not out in the open. Placement is crucial. Position bait stations next to walls and flush in corners, near sewer or floor drains or in damp spaces. Cockroaches love heat and damp so in the swimming pool pump housing may be another good place to set a trap.

Extreme temperatures will kill cockroaches – but a flame thrower is going well over the top. Although you probably can’t alter your home’s environment too much in Spain, a burst of winter cold weather can be a good time to disinfect household items such as furniture or paper goods. Place them outdoors when it is cold for a few days.
I just hope our critical lady reader is suitably impressed with the ‘other side of the story’. Finally, my neighbour told me today that if we had a nuclear explosion, cockroaches would be the only living thing to survive. I am not sure if this is based upon scientific fact, but it does give some food for thought!

Extreme temperatures will kill cockroaches – but a flame thrower is going well over the top. Although you probably can’t alter your home’s environment too much in Spain, a burst of winter cold weather can be a good time to disinfect household items such as furniture or paper goods. Place them outdoors when it is cold for a few days.
I just hope our critical lady reader is suitably impressed with the ‘other side of the story’. Finally, my neighbour told me today that if we had a nuclear explosion, cockroaches would be the only living thing to survive. I am not sure if this is based upon scientific fact, but it does give some food for thought!

You think that this is the end of the cockroach saga? Sadly not; much in the style of Downton Abbey, this could well run for weeks. You have been warned!

If you enjoyed this article, take a look at Barrie’s websites: http://barriemahoney.com and http://thecanaryislander.com or read his latest book, ‘Footprints in the Sand’ (ISBN: 9780995602717). Available in paperback, as well as Kindle editions.
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