Hey cockroach…..I’m a human, get me out of here……

This week, we’ve interviewed our pest control technician to find out a bit more about cockroaches.

After watching I’m a Celebrity, Get me Out of Here! We were keen to find out more about cockroaches and whether people are right to be so squeamish about them.

So, Phil, are people right to be concerned about the presence of cockroaches?

Yes, cockroaches carry diseases which can cause food poisoning in humans and many other bacteria. As cockroaches forage for food and water, they can contaminate food, cooking utensils and surfaces used to prepare food. They crawl through dirty areas and then they carry lots of bacteria and germs around your home or business premises.

They can contaminate food by shedding their skins and their cast of skins and waste by products are allergens which can cause problems for people who suffer from allergies and asthma, particularly children.

Eww, yuk! Can you tell us a bit more about cockroaches?

Yes, of course. There are two main species of cockroaches in the UK and they are the German cockroach and the Oriental cockroach. You can usually identify a cockroach by their long antennae, a bit like whips, flat oval bodies and the way they walk in a rapid, jerky style. They’re dark brown / black in colour and around 20 to 24mm long. The young cockroaches look just like the adults but smaller.

The German Cockroach carries its egg case until the 30 or more nymphs are ready to hatch. The Oriental Cockroach deposits its 13mm long egg capsule on packaging, sacking or in suitable dark crevices before the 16 to 18 nymphs hatch around 12 weeks later. They grow in stages, from nymphs to maturity in 6 to 12 months for the Oriental Cockroach, and 6 to 12 weeks for the German Cockroach.

So, where can we find them?

Well, cockroaches can’t normally survive outside so you’ll usually find them indoors and they thrive on warm, damp places. So, popular spots for cockroaches are kitchens, spaces near boilers, bathrooms, places where people eat and drink, pipes, stoves and sinks.

So, we often spot cockroaches in household kitchens and bathrooms, other centrally heated buildings such as hospitals, hotels, blocks of flats and places where people eat food or food is made such as restaurants and bakeries.

What do they eat?

Pretty much anything! So, rubbish, faecal matter and food or leftover food. They can also chomp their way through no-organic items like books and toothpaste! Whilst they can go without food for many weeks, they need water to survive so you’ll usually find a water source not far away.

Why is it important to control cockroaches?

Well, apart from the risk to human health that I mentioned at the start, businesses can really suffer from reputational damage if they have cockroaches. Would you want to eat in a restaurant which had cockroaches?

No, I certainly would not! So, how can we get rid of cockroaches if we do find we have a problem?

Well, its always best to call in the professionals of course! Joking, aside, it can be really difficult to control cockroaches because its tricky getting the insecticide to them. Also, the insecticide you use should have enough persistence to stop the nymphs from hatching later from un-hatched egg capsules.

As a pest control professional, PGM & SON has access to treatments that are not available to the general public.

Okay, well it sounds like its best to give you guys a call if we spot a cockroach, but is there anything we can do to make sure we don’t get them in the first place?

Well, as you know, at PGM & Son Hereford, we always advocate preventative pest control. So, there are lots of sensible, simple measures you can take to make sure you keep the bugs at bay.

Make sure you always keep food preparation and surfaces clean and tidy. Don’t leave dirty crockery and utensils out or in your sink. Keep your bins clean, make sure they are tightly covered with a lid and empty them regularly. Check warm areas that are potential food sources, such as below your fridge or cooker as these are ideal places for cockroaches. People don’t often clean below these hard to reach places, so cockroaches love them.

Make sure you repair and proof any areas that are potential access points such as gaps around doors and windows and where your utility lines enter your property. You can keep mice out by doing this too! Repair leaks beneath your sinks and on the sink top – it’s important to cut off water sources.

Thanks Phil, that’s some great advice. Finally, can you tell us any interesting facts about cockroaches for our readers?

Of course, many of your readers may not know that cockroaches can live for up to one week without their heads!

They can also hold their breath for up to 40 minutes. Cockroaches are also cannibals! They even take to eating each other when they’re hungry – gross eh?

And, they are really, really fast. Cockroaches are the Usain Bolt of the insect world! They can run up to speeds of 1.5 meters per second, which is the human equivalent of around 200 miles per hour!

Wow! sounds like they are fascinating creatures although not ones we want to share our homes and businesses with! Thanks for the information and the helpful advice you’ve given us today Phil.

No problem, anyone who thinks they may have a cockroach problem can call us and we’ll pop out and take a look. We also offer an insect identification service.

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