Before you start spraying pesticides on all open surfaces in your home in an attempt to kill cockroaches, you need to come up with a strategy. Planning an attack on a group of insects may seem crazy, but you’ll be more successful if you plan ahead.
To do that, let’s go back to those three things cockroaches need: warm shelter, food, and water. Taking those items away from them is like serving them with an eviction notice. a single pesticide won’t do the job permanently [source: university of california statewide integrated pest management].
First, you need to find out where the bugs have settled. if you’ve noticed them in a secluded area, like the kitchen, that’s a decent clue that they’re hiding there. For a more accurate indicator, lay out roach trap strips that are coated with a sticky glue to stop them in their tracks. the busiest strips should be closer to their nest. You can use this method repeatedly throughout your cockroach eradication mission to check their progress and if they have changed places. Also check for dropped droppings, egg sacs, and exoskeletons.
while you wait for the results of the trap, you have to clean up a bit. even if you keep things tidy, you probably haven’t covered all the places that serve as roach feeders. particular items to get rid of include:
Cockroaches are particularly attracted to paper products because they readily absorb a certain pheromone, or chemical attractor, that cockroaches emit. this aggregation pheromone is like a gps system. communicate the location of the bugs to others and leave a trail for them to find their way back and forth.
It’s also time to give your home, especially your kitchen, an intense bath. Take fresh fruits, vegetables, and bread off the counters and place them in airtight containers. check your purchases and secure open bags and boxes. clean eyes on the stove, inside the stove and oven, microwave and other appliances. pay attention to the fat because even small spots are like foie gras for cockroaches. Sweep or vacuum behind large appliances and dispose of any food waste in the bottom of dishwashers.
after all that, you need to maintain a high level of cleanliness to eliminate your pest problem. that means no dirty dishes in the sink, routine sweeping after cooking, and never leaving food on countertops. take out your trash regularly too.
Perhaps more than food, cockroaches seek out watering holes. for that reason, look for places that can collect water, such as plants, the drip plate under your refrigerator, or condensation around pipes. try to keep those areas dry, especially at night when cockroaches feed. plug drains and check faucets to make sure screens cover pipes where cockroaches could enter [source: ogg et al].
Now you’re ready to bring out the big guns. learn how on the next page.