Cockroaches are not just unsettling – they’re also unsanitary. These common household pests often live in or near sewers, drains and garbage, bringing them into contact with a variety of germs, and they’re known to carry pathogens that may cause disease. Needless to say, they’re unwelcome visitors in the home.
Cockroaches have slim, flat bodies that allow them to hide easily. They can also run fast, and because they're usually active at night, they often escape detection. If you're getting ready to move, you'll need to take special care to ensure you don't bring any unwanted guests with you to your new house. You might not think about it, but if you have roaches at your old place, there is a chance that they might hitch a ride to your new one.
This makes it essential that you have a game plan for keeping roaches from moving with you. Here are a few tips on how to not bring roaches with you when you move.
Take preventive measures
You may wonder, “Can roaches be transferred from one house to another?" Yes, they can. Before you begin packing up your belongings, check your house for common cockroach entry points.
Be on the lookout for cracks and crevices near doorways and windows that can allow insects to enter your home. Use caulk or another sealant to close these gaps and prevent new roaches from finding their way inside your house.
Be cockroach aware
You should also be aware of some of the most common cockroach hiding places in the home, which can vary based upon the type of cockroach. As you pack, carefully check these areas for signs of an infestation, including egg cases or droppings.
Places you may find roaches include kitchen appliances, cabinets, electronics, furniture and nooks and crannies. Some species can even be found on picture frames and other wall decor.
Electronics are especially attractive to roaches because they produce heat and, in the case of a laptop or computer keyboard, can catch food crumbs. Shake these items out and, as you pack your electronics, place them individually in sealed plastic bags to prevent roaches from infesting your other belongings.
Use the right packing materials
Cockroaches like to hide in cardboard boxes because the adhesive used to glue the sides together is made from starches. They can easily maneuver their bodies between the corrugation and crevices inside the cardboard. If possible, use another type of container, such as a plastic tub, to pack your belongings. These tubs come with lids that allow them to be securely sealed, and they don't provide areas for roaches to hide.
This is important for keeping roaches from moving with you. If you have to use — or reuse — cardboard boxes, shake them out and inspect them before you place items inside, especially if you got the boxes from an outside source, such as a grocery or liquor store, or from a family member or friend.
Wash your clothes and linens
Can cockroaches travel on clothes? While it isn't terribly common for roaches to be found in clothes and linens, it's better to be safe than sorry. Before you move, wash these items in warm water to remove any insects or eggs that may be present. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions, though.
Like your other belongings, your clean clothes should be packed in sealed plastic containers. You may even consider placing them inside vacuum-sealed plastic bags. If you are moving furniture or other upholstered/fabric items like curtains, you may want to vacuum them, as well.
Check your mattress
Again, it's uncommon for roaches to be found on mattresses, but it's not uncommon for them to hide in your bed frame and bedside furniture. When you remove your mattress and dismantle your bed to move, check for signs of cockroaches and remove or sanitize items as necessary.
Clean your kitchen items
Kitchens are one of the most common places to find roaches in the home. For these insects, it's like paradise. It has moisture, dark cabinets and plentiful sources of food in the form of crumbs and even garbage.
When you pack, take out your pots and pans and wash everything thoroughly. Keep in mind that kitchen appliances, like toasters, microwaves, toaster ovens and even coffee makers may also attract roaches. Consider using clear plastic bags for your small appliances. This allows you to see cockroach activity before unpacking these items in your new place.
Check your pet's food and belongings
Cockroaches need to eat, and open bags of dog and cat food provide them with a source of nutrition. It's a good idea to pour cat and dog food into an air-tight plastic container after you open the bag to help avoid insects contaminating the food. If you have open bags of food, before you move, either throw them away or slowly pour the food into a container, watching carefully for cockroaches. Additionally, pay careful attention to any feeding stations you have for your pets. Check inside and underneath them to make sure you don't have any stowaways.
As you pack up your pet's blankets and bedding, shake out each piece and look for signs of a cockroach infestation. If you're unsure about a particular blanket or toy, you might consider tossing it to be safe.
Check plants, pots and gardening supplies
Indoor and outdoor plants need to be checked carefully for signs of roaches. Pots and gardening supplies in your garage or outdoor space may provide a safe haven for cockroaches and other insects. The soil of plants provides a moist, dark environment for bugs to hide. It's a good idea to check each pot or plant holder carefully and clean it before packing it for your move.
Check electronics and appliances
From your stereo to game console, electronics and general appliances offer an enclosed, warm environment for cockroaches to create a nest. Take the time to gently open as many of each electronic device as you safely can and check for signs of roaches.
In some cases, you can remove the outer casing to inspect the inside for dead cockroaches and other signs of infestation. If there are large openings, you can shake the device gently so as not to damage it but dislodge any critters that have set up residence.
Similarly, if you are moving any appliances to your next residence — such as a kitchen appliances or washing machine — open each one and thoroughly check for signs of roaches, then clean them before taking them with you.
Before you unpack at your new place
You took all the necessary steps to stop roaches from moving with you, but your belongings may have picked up some six-legged hitchhikers along the way.
While on the moving truck or in a storage warehouse, your boxes may have acquired cockroaches. Carefully unpack your boxes and inspect your new space. Look in cabinets, closets and other small places. It's a good idea to identify any cracks or crevices near walls and doors and fill them with caulk before unpacking.
They say that the best offense is a good defense. If you're worried about accidentally transporting pests when you move, contact a pest control professional.
To take prevention a step further, have an inspection done before you move into your new home. A pest control professional can inspect and treat both your current residence and your new home to help prevent cockroaches from complicating your move. You've got enough to worry about — you shouldn't have to add cockroaches to your list.