Cockroaches are certainly more common during the warmer months of spring and summer, but this doesn’t mean that they aren’t around during the winter. When the weather does start to get cooler cockroaches start to search for warmer places to overwinter, such as your home. With the cooler weather, we start heating our homes and workplaces to keep ourselves warm, but we are also creating the perfect environment for these pests to survive the winter.
Our homes offer everything a cockroach could need; warmth, water, and plenty of food. Cockroaches are omnivorous, so they can damage a range of things other than just food such as wool, leather, paper, and paste in book bindings.
There are 4,000 species of roaches and around 30 of these are associated with human habitations. The most common and biggest pests are the German cockroach (Blattella germanica) and the American cockroach (Periplaneta americana), the other species commonly seen in New Zealand is the Gisborne cockroach (Drymaplaneta semivitta).
The German cockroach prefers to live indoors as they cannot survive in harsh cold and dry conditions. They can commonly be found living outdoors in warm and tropical environments. They are most active at night, making them hard to spot, as they prefer to live in places that aren’t disturbed. If you do see these pests during the day, it will mean that you have a high infestation. Inside your home, they could be hiding in a range of places; your kitchen, heat-producing areas (under stove and refrigerator is common), as well as your bathroom; around the sink, toilet, bathtub, and shower. German cockroaches move fast, making it very hard to catch them so a spray and bait program is the most effective means of eradicating an infestation.
These cockroaches are most commonly found in nasty places like sewers and drains, but it is not uncommon to see them inside. When food starts to become scarce or there is a significant change in the climate they will start to move indoors. If they are inside, you will most likely find them in basements, heating ducts, and the sewage system. Like all cockroaches, American cockroaches are true scavengers and will eat almost anything including pet food that is left uncovered.
The Gisborne cockroach is a bit different from the other two cockroaches that are more commonly found in your home. Gisborne cockroaches mainly live outdoors in damp and dark areas, with decaying forest matter. They feed on organic materials like dead wood and leaf litter. Because of where they live and what they feed on, they are often carried into homes during winter on firewood and bark. Once inside they will not generally invade your food supplies if they are not decaying.
When it comes to finding cockroaches, it can be difficult as they are most active at night and shy, scurrying away quickly once spotted. Some of the tell-tale signs that you have cockroaches in your home are their faecal spots that are deposited around your home. German cockroaches produce faeces that resemble coffee grounds or specks of pepper. American cockroach droppings are blunt on the ends and have ridges on the sides, which are often mistaken for mouse droppings.
What can you do to keep Cockroaches out of your home?
When it comes to getting rid of cockroaches, like most pests, prevention is always the best place to start. Once they have established themselves inside your home it can be harder to get rid of them, but not impossible.
General cleanliness is a good way to prevent them from moving in. Keeping kitchens, sinks, tables, and floors clean of food and crumbs is a good start. Make sure that you clean up any spills or food splatter in microwaves, as well as keeping your pet’s food bowl clean. Another area that can be overlooked when cleaning, is your outdoor rubbish bins. If they have food or other dirt on them it can attract cockroaches and they may go from the outdoor rubbish to your home.
Cockroaches are some of the most resilient pests in the world, surviving some extreme conditions. They can survive months without food and up to 4 weeks without water, they can even live for up to a week without their head. Getting rid of cockroaches can seem daunting especially as they reproduce so quickly.
Making your home unattractive to cockroaches means having a clean home, but sometimes even this isn’t enough. That is where our Hawkeye FAR Spray (Flea, Ant, and Roach) and our Cockroach Bait can be of use.
Hawkeye FAR Spray offers effective control against fleas, ants, and roaches for up to 3 months. The active ingredient in the spray is slow acting, meaning the cockroaches will pick it up and spread it to others that may not have been exposed to the spray. It is used by spraying areas where cockroaches harbour and the paths they use to get from their harbourages to food.
Hawkeye Cockroach Bait is designed to kill cockroaches through ingestion and contact. It has a daisy chain effect, with cockroaches ingesting a lethal dose when they feed on bodies of already poisoned cockroaches. While fairly unpleasant, this behaviour means it is possible to eliminate an entire cockroach population including the cockroaches that you don’t see.