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Cockroaches are often called water bugs or Palmetto bugs. While these terms certainly describe these insects, they don't provide a complete description. Sure, you can find roaches near water and moist locations, or crawling around underneath a Palmetto frond, but this is far from the only places you'll find them. It is perhaps more beneficial to call them garbage bugs, sewer bugs, or feces bugs. We apologize if this is unsettling, but you should know that water, leaves, and soil are not the only things cockroaches touch. They come in contact with rotting organic matter and feces. In fact, they're attracted to dirty things. There are two important reasons why you should be aware of this—as disgusting as this may be. First, it is possible to deter and manage cockroaches by addressing sanitation issues. Second, addressing sanitation issues will also reduce the health risks associated with cockroach infestations. It is well worth the effort to roll your sleeves up and tackle this step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Remove Roaches And Clean Infested Areas

If you have roaches, this is the obvious first step. While you won't be able to get rid of every roach, there are benefits to taking the time to try. Removing roaches will reduce the population of roaches in your home. If you have a German cockroach infestation, you could remove 50 cockroaches by getting rid of one female roach. When you clean infested areas of black feces, shed insect parts, oothecae, and other materials, you limit disease risks and make it easier to monitor cockroach activity in these areas. Be sure to wear a mask and gloves while tackling this task.

  • Suck cockroaches up with a vacuum and dispose of the bag outside.

  • Suck up insect parts, egg pouches, and other materials.

  • Scrub black feces off floors and surfaces.

Step 2: Limit Food Sources In Your Home

It is impossible to remove all the food sources that a cockroach will feed on. There are a startling number of things a cockroach will eat. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Clean floors and surfaces. Cockroaches feed on food particles and juices.

  • Clean shelves and cabinets. Cockroaches eat crumbs that fall off bread and crackers, or granules from sugar and other stored food products.

  • Clean the outside of honey jars and other containers that hold sweet, sticky foods.

  • Deep clean under and around appliances. Cockroaches feed on grease, egg juices, and other organic matter that runs down the side of your oven, and they can dine to their heart's content on bagel and toast crumbs.

  • Dust throughout your home. Cockroaches feed on dead skin cells.

  • Clean your bathroom thoroughly. Cockroaches eat toothpaste, skin, hair, lashes, and also feces.

  • Protect all human food in your home by storing items in sealed containers and never leaving food out on the counter, uncovered. When you put food in the trash that can rot and create a stink, consider putting them in a plastic bag first. The plastic bags you get from the grocery store are great for this.

  • Put pet food down only during meals and never overnight when cockroaches are active.

Step 3: Interior Moisture

Cockroaches prefer moist and humid habitats. They need moisture to keep their skins hydrated, and they drink droplets of water. While a cockroach can live in a home that is bone dry, some pest species will leave if it's too dry.

  • Repair leaking faucets, showerheads, garbage disposals, and pipes.

  • Use the fan in your bathroom when you take a shower or bath, and try to take showers or baths early enough so that water droplets don't linger on surfaces into the night.

  • Dry surfaces off after taking a shower or bath.

  • Install dehumidifiers or ventilation in areas that stay humid. 

Step 4: Restrict Access

Once you've considered interior food options and moisture, it is time to consider exterior entry. The last thing you want is for cockroaches to come in and replace the roaches you've removed.

  • Use products to seal gaps, cracks, and holes within your home to prevent cockroaches from easily moving around in your kitchen and pantry.

  • Seal windows and doors that lead outside.

  • Seal any potential entry points in the exterior of your home, such as gaps around plumbing.

Step 5: Remove Exterior Attractants

There are many ways you can make your exterior less interesting to cockroaches. Here are a few examples:

  • Clean your gutters and make repairs.

  • Trim your landscaping and remove unnecessary vegetation, such as weeds and grass.

    Remove leaves, sticks, and other organic matter.

  • Move wood piles away from your exterior and elevate the piles.

  • Keep exterior trash receptacles free of strong odors.

  • Fully clean recycling items, such as bottles and cans.

When More Is Needed

If you take these steps, you can naturally control cockroaches. When more control is needed, it is best to hire a licensed pest management professional. If you are a Dallas resident, reach out to All-Safe Pest & Termite. We provide industry-leading pest control in Dallas and the surrounding area. We can help you get control of even the toughest cockroach infestations.

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