Y U C K ... Cockroaches are known carriers of serious diseases, such as, salmonella, dysentery, gastroenteritis and other stomach complaint organisms. They adulterate food and spread pathogenic organisms with their feces and defensive secretions. Asthmatic reactions: Cockroaches must molt regularly throughout their life-cycle. The discarded skin becomes airborne and can cause severe asthmatic reactions, particularly to children, the elderly and people with bronchial ailments. The cockroach begins as an egg: The female produces an egg sac which she carries or deposits in a safe place. The young cockroach or "nymph" will undergo a series of molts, shedding it's external skeleton, as it grows to adulthood. The entire life cycle may extend to a few months depending on the species and environmental factors, such as, access to food and moisture, adequate shelter and warm temperatures. Even the cleanest homes get'em: Cockroach pests and their eggs are spread throughout the community in food and other packaging. Although sanitation and hygiene are important deterrents, even the cleanest homes become infested with cockroaches due to minute deposits of grease, sugar and other food deposits in difficult to get at places, such as, in drains, behind refrigerators and dishwashers, inside cracks and crevices in kitchen cupboards. Omnivorous by nature: Cockroaches will eat almost any organic matter no matter how rancid. Once inside the home, they will seek out food scraps, unsealed food containers, sugar and grease deposits, pet food, rancid meat, glue and even book bindings. YUCK...they eat each others feces, to feed the young "nymphs" and extract all nourishment from an organic food source. If you see a clump of pepper-like specs in your kitchen cupboards, it is likely cockroach feces marking their courtship and nearby nesting territory. Nocturnal feeders: Cockroaches rest during daylight hours in dark warm secure harborages in your home, such as, in wall cavities, the sub-floor, roof void, cracks and crevices in the kitchen and bathroom, electrical appliances and foodstuffs. They will emerge from these harborages in the still of the night. Cockroaches have an array of acute sensory and survival instincts. If you see cockroaches in your home during the day, you have a serious problem. Rapid breeding cycle: If left unchecked a cockroach infestation can rapidly expand it's numbers in a few weeks or months to become major risk to health and safety. |
The presence of cockroaches is often detected by their damage, smell or by the fecal matter (called "frass") they deposit. These are clues which can aid in diagnosing a cockroach problem. Cockroaches may use such things as glue or paste (especially from animal-based materials), starch and certain color dyes as foods. As a result, items such as stamps, envelopes, bindings of older books, draperies and occasionally wallpapers may show signs of feeding. The size of the mandible marks and the apparent degree of vigor with which they feed are indications of the type of roach which did the damage. The size and shape of fecal droppings are also clues to the cockroach species involved.
The most important aspect of cockroach damage derives from their habit of feeding and harboring in damp and unsanitary places such as sewers, garbage disposals, kitchens, bathrooms, and storage areas indoors. Filth from these sources is spread by the cockroaches to food supplies, food preparation surfaces, dishes, utensils, and other surfaces. Far more food is contaminated by cockroaches than they are able to eat. Diseases transmitted as a result of these habits were discussed earlier. These same habits are why people are so disgusted and repulsed by the mere presence of cockroaches. For many people, personal disgust and the social stigma attached to cockroaches produce a complete lack of tolerance for any cockroaches in their home or elsewhere. However, recent studies have found that some people have a less severe attitude about cockroaches, such that low levels of cockroach presence and an occasional sighting are acceptable. In either case, a carefully considered and executed management program will be necessary.
Understanding basic cockroach biology and behavior is essential to the professional in managing cockroaches. Also, the more that is understood about cockroaches, the greater the likelihood of success in those occasions where standard management methods do not work or can not be used. However, in some cases, it may be practically impossible to achieve total elimination due to various circumstantial factors unless a relatively broad-reaching (and thus expensive) program is implemented. In such cases, managing a cockroach infestation to a "tolerable level" is more realistic.
Consistent and effective cockroach management requires a considerable degree of planning and organization to develop a multi-faceted program which includes the following steps-inspection and survey, treatment, client education and follow-up. It is important to keep adequate records throughout this process. Record-keeping will be necessary to satisfy legal or regulatory requirements in some states, and also toward organizing and implementing an effective program. This attention to detail and record-keeping will be especially helpful where the initial management efforts are not satisfactory. Additional steps may be needed to modify the program to eliminate any surviving cockroaches.
The necessary program steps are outlined and discussed below, with the greatest detail given for German cockroach management. Management programs for other species indoors will usually be conducted in a similar manner as for German cockroaches, except that certain aspects of the behavior of other species should be taken into account. Some other species will also require substantial attention to outdoor insecticide treatments and other management measures, details of which are discussed in the following sections for each individual species. In most cases, cockroach management should be proposed as more than a "one-time" treatment. Very rarely will elimination be possible with one treatment, or the use of only one type of insecticide in the cockroach management program. A possible exception to this statement would be use of fumigation to eliminate all cockroaches (and other pests) from a structure. However, fumigation alone will not leave any protection against re-infestation, so it is rarely done except as part of a broader program.
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