Getting rid of COCKROACHES

It is THAT time of year again. Roach time. Even if you don’t have an infestation of little critters, you’re likely to find the large sort flying through your door or window at night while you’re trying to ventilate the oven which you call home (it’s 35 degrees in Cape Town today!).

I’m on my way to purchase netting to cover the doors, and I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

In the meantime, here’s a little information I found through various Internet sources:

Types of Cockroaches in South Africa

We’re largely plagued by 2 different types of cockroaches here. The small variety (that one really has a hard time getting rid of): The German Cockroach; and the large, flying (help me, help me, kill it! My life is over!) American Cockroach.

According to pest control experts, Alcocks Entemological Services, sighting cockroaches in your home is a sign of likely infestation.

Though relatively clean on the outside, roaches can pose a health hazard & allergic reactions in the home, so apart from being terrifying, they’re also not safe to have around.

The typical signs of Cockroach Infestations (by Alcocks) are:

  • Actually seeing live insects – cockroaches are night time creatures and are therefore nocturnal and hide during the day. The most obvious time to see them is when you turn the light on in a dark area such as your kitchen at night. Hidden during the day they becoming active at night to obtain food and water, and to reproduce.
  • Cockroaches will drop their Egg cases or cast skins
  • Droppings – cockroaches leave a trail of black droppings
  • An established cockroach infestation produces an unpleasant, musty smell odour
  • Damage – cockroaches will attack any organic goods including leather and books Cockroaches will eat almost anything: left-over human food, wood, leather, cigarette butts, tooth paste, milk, sugary materials, coffee grinds, glue, soap, faeces, fabric, shoes, paint, the glue on the back of wallpaper, human hair, fingernails, etc.

Getting rid of them:

According to Combat Bugs:

American Cockroach Source:

American Cockroach

American Cockroaches

What they look like

American Cockroaches are the largest of the house-infesting cockroaches. Adults are approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches long with fully developed reddish-brown wings and dark markings on the light colored thoracic shield that covers their head.

Where they nest

American Cockroaches typically live and breed outdoors, and come inside to search for food and water. They are common inhabitants of sewers and can enter homes through sink and shower drains. After heavy rain, basements can have heavy infestations of American Cockroaches.

Steps to prevent an invasion

Reduce access to the home or other structures by caulking cracks in exterior walls and installing screens in drains. Remove rotting leaves and wood, and reduce irrigation around your home to limit moist areas where these cockroaches like to nest. With fewer nesting sites, the roach population will decrease and so will home invasions by these roaches.

German Cockroach. Source:

German Cockroach.

German Cockroaches

How to exterminate them

The key to exterminating small roaches like German Cockroaches is to kill the entire roach nest. If you see one roach, you most likely have at least 200 more in your home. If you just spray and kill the individual roaches that you see, you will continue to see roaches scampering around your home looking for food and water, and will most likely begin to see more of them and more frequently as they breed and the nest continues to grow. Combat® products provide the source kill you need and are a guaranteed solution! Use Combat® Source Kill Max Small Roach Baits in common areas where you see roaches and Combat® Source Kill Max Roach Killing Gel in cracks and crevices or places where roaches might enter the home. Click here to learn more about how Combat® works to kill at the source.

Where they live

German Cockroaches are the most common roaches in the United States and worldwide. They live and breed in homes and commercial establishments. They are a persistent problem in apartment buildings.

What they look like

German Cockroaches are small roaches; adults are approximately 1/2 inch long. Their coloring ranges from yellowish-brown to brown, and they have two longitudinal black stripes on the thoracic shield covering their heads.

Where they nest

German Cockroaches are the most common pest cockroaches. They are persistent pests and multiply quickly. Once introduced, if no control measures are taken, they can quickly infest an entire building. They are commonly found in homes, apartments, supermarkets, food processing plants and restaurants. They nest in moist, dark areas including: Cracks and crevices, under kitchen appliances, under sinks, in cabinets, behind baseboards or moldings, in wall voids and pantries. In commercial structures they are often found in cardboard containers, wooden boxes or under pallets.

Steps to prevent an invasion

Eliminating nesting sites by improving sanitation and reducing clutter and the elimination of food and water sources is imperative to eliminate German Cockroach infestations and will help protect you from future infestations. You can also help prevent infestations by sealing any areas where roaches could enter from other units in multi-unit buildings and by checking items such as shipping boxes, school bags and grocery bags for cockroach hitchhikers before bringing them into your home.

Some general tips on keeping roaches away

(original post: on Kiwicare)

Treatment of a cockroach infestation can be difficult because the eggs and egg cases are often laid in difficult to treat cracks and crevices. Egg cases provide protection from insecticides. Therefore, it is important that treatment is maintained for at least one month after you stop seeing cockroaches.

Carry out treatment as follows:

  1. Cockroaches feed on any scraps of food they can find so check for spilled food down the back of ovens, fridges, furniture etc. And make sure food in the larder is kept in sealed containers.
  2. Place cockroach gel bait in areas such as behind fridges and freezers, in rear of cupboards and areas where cockroaches have been seen. Keep it out of the reach of children and pets. The bait will kill feeding cockroaches, those that these individuals regurgitate food for and those that cannibalise them after they die.
  3. Knock down adults and immature cockroaches using cockroach fumigators or bug bombs in each affected room. The fumigant penetrates into the nooks and crannies where cockroaches hide; helping to flush them out and kill them.
  4. Be sure to remove all dead cockroaches after treatment as females may be carrying eggs that could still hatch.
  5. After baits have been in place for at least one week, spray likely cockroach hiding places such as behind, ovens, fridges, freezers, cupboards etc. using residual surface insecticide containing deltamethrin or permethrin (e.g. Kiwicare NO Cockroaches or NO Bugs Super). These give long lasting protection from crawling insects. Any nymphs that hatch from eggs over this period will contact the treated surfaces and be controlled before reaching sexual maturity. Flea control surface sprays such as Kiwicare NO Fleas Total containing insect growth regulators will prevent eggs hatching and nymphs reaching maturity. This is also a good strategy for effective control.
  6. Spray accessible cracks and crevices with a flushing insecticide. Borer injector aerosol is useful as it has a long nozzle that can be used to get insecticide deep into crack and cervices to flush out cockroaches and deny them these harborages.
  7. Cockroach traps are not only an effective way to ‘mop up’ cockroach adults and nymphs without using insecticide the traps also act as early warning indicators of infestation. Keep them in position permanently and check them once a week. If cockroaches get into your home again you will find them in the traps and be able to deal with them as above, BEFORE they are a problem. (Kiwicare’s traps are BioGro certified organic.)

Good luck!


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