In Arizona, we’re dying to have weather that warrants cranking up the thermostats. But when the temps go down and the heat goes on, that’s a signal for cockroaches to find a snug place inside your cozy home.
These pests like nothing more than a nice warm place to spend the next few months, taking up residence near heating ducts and pipes as people turn on the heat. And given that Arizona is a warm state most of the year, cockroaches are a problem most of the time. Cockroaches are a diverse species, and they tend to inhabit different areas, making them a difficult pest to control.
The most common types of cockroaches in Arizona are the American cockroach, German cockroach, oriental cockroach, Turkestan cockroach and brown-banded cockroach. German and brown-banded cockroaches spend their lives indoors and will cluster around pipes, stoves, the back of refrigerator motors and sinks, and will often remain hidden during the day. American, oriental, and Turkestan cockroaches live mostly outdoors but may move indoors in search of food or water. Cockroaches can infest homes when brought in with groceries or boxes – a common occurrence these days with grocery deliveries – and, once established, can easily move about the house.
Most cockroaches are nocturnal and appear during daylight only when disturbed or where there is a heavy infestation. They prefer warm, dark, humid shelters and often move around the kitchen sink or drain board. They prefer to rest in cracks around, under or inside cupboards and cabinets; where pipes or electrical wiring pass along or through a wall; behind window or door frames, loose baseboards or molding strips; under tables and chairs; in upholstered furniture; in bathrooms; in radio and TV cabinets; and in motor compartments of refrigerators, washing machines and other appliances. It is important to know where cockroaches are hiding in your home because these are the locations that must be cleaned regularly. And because they also require access to water, they will be generally found in out-of-the-way places close to those sources of sustenance.
Aside from just being annoying, you don’t want them in your home because cockroaches are also carriers of organisms that can cause food poisoning in humans. They contaminate food with excrement and salivary secretions and they may leave an unpleasant odor. Cockroaches also cause respiratory problems to individuals sensitive to the allergens they produce.
National Pest Management Association (NPMA) offers homeowners these tips to protect their families and properties from cockroach infestations:
- Keep food sealed and stored properly, particularly in kitchens. Make sure open pet food containers are sealed or in a plastic container.
- Clean kitchens daily, especially dishes, floors and counters where crumbs and trash are more likely to build up.
- Dispose of garbage regularly and store in sealed containers.
- Seal cracks and holes in homes, including entry points for utilities and pipes. Use a good-quality caulk or sealant to close the gaps around sinks and plumbing, in walls, and along kitchen splash guards.
- Keep basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
- Vacuum regularly, making sure to also empty the vacuum’s bag or cartridge.
Despite what many people think, cockroaches are not simply attracted to messy or cluttered houses. Cockroaches like to stay warm, and in the upcoming chilly winter months our homes can provide the perfect escape and source of heat, food and water.
Don’t experience roach rage! Get a pest control professional out to rid your home of cockroaches.