When it comes to cockroaches in apartments, the good news is that of the approximately 55 species of cockroaches found in the United States, only a small number of them are considered to be pests. The bad news is that the types of cockroaches that do invade your space are more than just a nuisance. In fact, these types of cockroaches are known to carry disease pathogens such as staphylococcus, Escherichia coli (E. coli), Salmonella (which causes food poisoning) and streptococcus. Roaches in apartments contaminate food, utensils, countertops and dishes by transferring bacteria when they contact these items. Some people also have allergic reactions to roach feces and shed skins.
Know the enemy
The most common type of cockroach found in apartments is the German cockroach. This roach lives and breeds indoors. They are commonly carried into apartments through groceries, stored goods or shared laundry facilities. They can also find their way in from an adjacent apartment. These common apartment roaches are about one-half of an inch in length and light tan in color.
German roaches are most active at night, remaining hidden during the day. They love to hide in cracks and crevices of cabinets, under and around appliances, behind baseboards and inside wall voids. They prefer to live in warm, humid areas near food and water sources. The kitchen and bathroom are the most likely places to find these roaches. However, as the roach population increases, they can be found throughout the entire apartment. The greatest concern with finding German roaches in an apartment is that they breed rapidly. Each female German cockroach can produce hundreds of offspring in as little as 30 to 45 days.
Other species of cockroaches, such as the American roach and the smoky brown roach, may occasionally wander in. These types of roaches primarily live outdoors and venture indoors in search of food, water or both. The American roach is typically 1 to 2 inches in length and light brown in color. The area just above its head, called the pronotum, has a light margin around the outer edge that resembles a halo. The smoky brown roach is usually 1 to 1.5 inches in length and is a solid mahogany color.
Preventing cockroaches in apartments
Although it’s almost impossible to keep roaches from entering your apartment, there are some steps you can take to make your home less inviting for these pesky creatures.
Limit food sources
Limit water sources
Seal them out
Watch for signs
Remember, your vigilance is the key to preventing and controlling cockroaches in apartments. Be on the lookout for evidence of roaches. Look for live or dead roaches, egg capsules and feces. You may even notice a pungent, stale odor in your apartment. Roaches are filthy creatures and create this unpleasant smell.
Most importantly, report any evidence of cockroaches to your apartment manager right away before things get out of hand. The manager may elect to contact a pest management professional, such as Terminix®, for assistance.