How to Keep Cockroaches Out of Your Home
There are usually only two types of cockroaches we see in the West Palm Beach, FL area.
American cockroaches, often called Palmetto Bugs, are the big scary ones. When you run from the room to get away from a roach, it’s usually one of these. They are about two inches long, reddish-brown in color and have wings.
American cockroaches most often come from outside of your home through cracks and crevices or by occasionally slipping inside an open garage door or other entry point. If you are seeing them frequently, more than a few each week, they are likely coming from the septic or sewer system. This is usually the case if you see nymph/smaller American cockroaches.
Sometimes an entry point from the plumbing opens up which allows American roaches to enter from the sewer system. This could be a deteriorating cast iron pipe under your home, a broken wax seal at the base of one of your toilets, a kitchen remodel that leaves a pipe uncapped, etc.
The other type of roach we see is the German cockroach. While these are smaller than American cockroaches, they reproduce much more quickly. We’ve been in homes with so many German cockroaches they when a picture is lifted off the wall, at least ten live roaches that were eating the glue behind the frame fall to the ground.
If untreated, German roaches can multiply into the thousands fairly quickly if they have access to enough food and water. German cockroaches do not live on the outside of homes, so they must be physically brought in. They can travel in clothing, furniture, food packages, etc.
Do NOT Use Contact Kill Products
Yes, there are sprays for cockroaches that are sold in lots of local stores. And they are great at killing cockroaches on contact. If you see a big American Cockroach, this can seem like the best immediate solution.
Keep in mind this treatment is purely temporary though – as in it will kill the roach you spray and that’s it. These types of cockroach sprays do NOTHING to stop them from getting into your home.
These roach sprays are a really bad idea if you use them on German cockroaches. Yes, it will also kill them on contact. But it won’t do anything to stop the roaches nesting behind your appliances and in wall voids. So while you think you are making progress, the roaches are multiplying where you don’t see them. Creating a long term problem that will become harder and harder to control.
These contact kill sprays and foggers will also make cockroach bait and non-repellent sprays ineffective. Pests like cockroaches and ants have sensitive tastes and will avoid bait and other food that has the residue of one of these repellent products contaminating it.
Whenever we treat a home professionally for roaches, we rely on a combination of products to achieve long-term cockroach control. We will use gel baits, granular baits, insect monitors, and non-repellent sprays applied to cracks and crevices. We also will focus on reducing the exterior population of roaches around the home to minimize the likelihood of entry.
Seal Exterior Cracks and Holes
While physically blocking cockroaches from gaining entry to your home seems like the most common sense answer, it is the least often method used by homeowners. We prefer to use silicone caulk that dries clear to seal small cracks and holes that appear in all homes over time. By reducing the access points roaches have, less will physically be able to get inside.
Sealing exterior entry points will only help reduce the American cockroaches you may be seeing. Since German cockroaches don’t live outside, sealing exterior holes will not improve a German roach infestation.
We also recommend sealing any potential interior plumbing entry points that are accessible. Make sure the base of all of your toilets are properly caulked to prevent roaches from entering from the sewer system. Other areas that are often entry points cockroaches use from wall voids to get into your living area are the gaps surrounding plumbing pipes (the pipes you see behind your toilets and under your sinks that enters into the walls.)