German Roaches and their fecal pellets on white window seal

Roach Control, Biology and Health Concerns

Roach Control, Biology and Health Concerns

Matthew S. Hess

Cockroach Biology

Diagram of the anatomy of a roach

Cockroaches are insects belonging to the order Blattodea, along with termites. Some common species of cockroaches include the German cockroach, the American cockroach, and the Oriental cockroach. Cockroaches are characterized by their flattened bodies, long antennae, and wings, although not all species are capable of flight. They are omnivores which feed on a variety of food sources, including carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. They are known for their ability to adapt to changing environments though their tendency to live in close proximity to humans. Capable of reproducing quickly, cockroaches can form large populations in a short amount of time. Female cockroaches lay egg casings called ooetheca. These can contain several dozen eggs, and the young hatch as nymphs that vaguely resemble smaller versions of the adult cockroaches.

Cockroaches are also known for their ability to withstand harsh conditions and their resistance to many types of pesticides. Combine this with their tendency to live in close proximity to humans, and you have a persistent and challenging pest to control, even for professional roach control experts! 

Roach Control and the Harmful Effects of

a Roach Infestation

Cockroach infestations can have a number of harmful effects which make roach control necessary. These include:

  1. Allergies and asthma: Cockroaches can cause allergic reactions and worsen asthma symptoms in some individuals.
  2. Spread of diseases: Cockroaches can spread bacteria and viruses, including Salmonella and E. coli, by contaminating food and surfaces.
  3. Damage to property: Cockroaches can damage wallpaper, books, and other materials by feeding on them.
  4. Unpleasant odor: Cockroaches can produce a musty, unpleasant odor that can permeate a home or building.
  5. Psychological effects: Cockroaches can cause stress and discomfort, especially in individuals who are phobic of insects.

In order to minimize the harmful effects of cockroach infestations, it is important to take roach control measures to eliminate the infestation and maintain good sanitation practices. When this doesn’t solve the issue, it is time to contact your local exterminators at Four Seasons Pest Solutions for a little “roach control” helping hand!

Roach Control and Disease

When faced with a cockroach infestation, there are some serious health concerns. Their ability to spread disease makes them an important structural pest and means EVERY infestation should be treated as a serious one with roach control measures aimed at elimination and prevention. Cockroaches can carry and transmit a number of harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites, including:

  1. Salmonella: This bacterium can cause food poisoning, with symptoms including stomach cramps, diarrhea, and fever.
  2. coli: This bacterium can cause severe diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and dehydration.
  3. Shigella: This bacterium can cause dysentery, a type of food poisoning that leads to severe diarrhea and abdominal pain.
  4. Gastroenteritis: Cockroaches can spread a number of pathogens that cause gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestines.

In addition to their role in spreading diseases, cockroaches can also trigger allergies and asthma in some individuals as mentioned previously. The proteins found in cockroach droppings, shed skins, and saliva can cause respiratory symptoms, skin reactions, and other allergic reactions.

Once again, living in roach infested conditions poses a great health concern. At Four Seasons Pest Solutions, our roach control and pest control programs aimed at reducing these health concerns by exterminating roach infestations. You can read further on the health concerns of roach infestations and roach control HERE.

The Most Significant Roach in Kentucky and Surrounding States

German Cockroach in bottom of stainless steel sink
German Roach in commercial sink bottom during roach control inspection

The German cockroach is considered to be the most significant cockroach species in Kentucky (and surrounding states) and the most difficult to eliminate when it comes to roach control. German cockroaches are one of the most common household pests in the United States and are a common problem in both residential and commercial settings in Kentucky.

German cockroaches are small, light brown insects that measure about half an inch in length. They are characterized by two dark stripes running down their back but only visible on adults on the head. German cockroaches are attracted to warm, moist environments and are often found near food and water sources. 

Low income housing certainly aids in the advancement of German Cockroach spread but they are no respecter of persons. Whether it’s a shack or a mansion, German Cockroaches will find a way to survive. However, the cleaner and more organized the home is, the less likely major infestations will occur. Finding a German Roach in your home or business can be an upsetting discovery. Many people panic at the sight of any roach. But with proper sanitation, organization and treatment, the German roach can be effectively eliminated within a few months time.

Identifying and Eliminating Cockroach Infestations

To identify infestations and implement roach control measures, you can follow these steps:

  1. Inspection: Look for signs of cockroach activity such as droppings, shed skins, and egg cases. Check cracks, crevices, and dark, damp areas.
  2. Sanitation: Clean up food and water sources, reduce clutter, and fix any leaks. Store food in airtight containers and regularly clean food preparation areas.
  3. Exclusion for roach control: Seal cracks and crevices with silicone caulk to prevent cockroaches from entering.
  4. Chemical treatments: Use pesticides approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) such as baits, sprays, and dusts. Place baits in areas where cockroaches are seen.
  5. Professional treatment: Consider hiring a Rest control specialist to evaluate and treat the infestation.

Note: Always follow the instructions on pesticide labels and take precautions to protect yourself and others from exposure to chemicals. Remember, Some roach species can be difficult to treat properly and can easily become immune to pesticides which are used incorrectly. When in doubt, contact your local Four Seasons Pest Solutions office and let us take over your roach control!

Roach control at a bar. We used sticky traps to identify the type of roach and the direction they were coming from. Infestations in commercial accounts require special care. However, sticky traps like these are can be utilized in any account type.

Photo Credit: Michael Sizemore, 2022

Roach infestation with fecal debris behind a pulled-out fridge
Roach infestation including fecal debris, behind fridge. This is before we began roach control. Signs like this indicate you have a heavy infestation. 

Photo Credit: Michael Sizemore, 2022

Should I DIY Roach Control When Faced with an Infestation? 

Dirty dishes piled in sink
If your home looks anything like this, chances are you will fail at self treatment.

Self-treatment for roach control can be effective for small, localized infestations. However, if the infestation is widespread or persistent, it may be necessary to seek the assistance of a professional pest control service. Failing to eliminate an infestation when using pesticides can result in a population of pesticide resistant roaches.

Before self-treating, it is important to properly identify the type of cockroach and to follow all instructions and safety precautions on any products used. Baits and insecticides that are specifically formulated for cockroaches can be effective when properly used. Roach Control specialists have extensive training on the methods of using insecticides which makes them the better option for exterminating a roach infestation.

In addition to treatment, reducing sources of food and water, eliminating harborage sites, and practicing good sanitation and housekeeping can help to prevent and control cockroach infestations in the future. Here at Four Seasons Pest Solutions, we offer roach control exclusion programs as well. These consist of a variety of methods and depend greatly on how the structure is constructed. 

Pest Inspection

It is also important to regularly inspect and monitor for signs of cockroach activity, and to adjust treatment methods as needed to ensure continued effectiveness. Checking periodically behind refrigerators, under microwaves and coffee pots, around dishwashers, in cabinets and around deep freezers are ideal locations to check. If you have never had a roach infestation, it isn’t necessary to do this often. However, if you have, you may want to do this a few times a year at least.

In most cases, it is recommended to seek professional help if the infestation is severe, persistent, or difficult to control with self-treatment methods. A pest control professional will have access to specialized equipment and products, and can provide a comprehensive plan for eliminating the infestation and preventing future problems.

If you’re unsure about your infestation of roaches or would like an inspection because you suspect roaches, simply call us. We believe there is no shame in having roaches, but keeping them is another matter altogether. You don’t have to live with roaches!

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