Can you get rid of German cockroaches? The German cockroach is very successful at establishing an ecological niche in buildings and is resilient in the face of many pest-control measures. To be effective, control measures must be comprehensive, sustained, and systematic; survival of just a few eggs is quite enough to regenerate a nearly exterminated pest population within a few generations, and recolonization from surrounding populations often is very rapid, too.
Why is the German cockroach so hard to control?
- Lack of natural predators in a human habitat;
- prolific reproduction;
- short reproductive cycle;
- the ability to hide in very small refuges;
- sexual maturity attained within several weeks; and
- adaptation and resistance to some chemical pesticides and baits.
Where do they like to hide?
German cockroaches are thigmotactic, meaning they prefer confined spaces, and they are small compared to other pest species, so they can hide within small cracks and crevices that are easy to overlook, thereby evading humans and their eradication efforts.
A strain of German cockroaches has emerged that reacts to glucose as distastefully bitter. They refuse to eat sweetened baits, which presents an obstacle to their control, given that those baits are an economical and effective means of regulation.
- German cockroaches can initially infest a structure when infested grocery bags are brought inside. Inspect groceries for cockroaches before storing. Keep grocery bags in outside storage areas.
- Cockroaches breed prolifically in corrugated cardboard boxes. Discard unnecessary boxes immediately.
- Keep doors and windows shut.
- Keep window and soffit screens in good repair to prevent cockroaches from entering your home.
- Check attic vents and make sure that large openings around outside drainage lines and sewer vents are screened or sealed. Use tightly packed steel wool as a temporary filler until openings can be sealed properly.
- Caulk or otherwise seal cracks and gaps around frames of doors and windows and around plumbing and electrical to help prevent cockroaches from entering your home.
- Seal gaps between door frames and doors with weather stripping.
- Children can transport cockroaches from school to home in book bags and lunch containers. Inspect these items regularly.
- Dwellings such as apartments that are separated by a common wall are particularly difficult situations. An infestation can migrate between apartments via the plumbing within a common wall. Therefore, cockroaches from one apartment can easily migrate to another apartment, infesting a “clean” dwelling. To help prevent this, caulk holes in common walls and around plumbing.
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