For most tenants, the mere thought of having to deal with a cockroach infestation is enough to make their skin crawl. A particular problem in warmer and damp climates, roaches are an all-too-common pest, plaguing countless apartment dwellers every year across the U.S. When the tell-tale egg casings and droppings appear, frantic calls to landlords soon follow, and exterminators are usually dispatched to spray down the apartment with a witch’s brew of chemicals (many of which are highly toxic). Clearly, this is a major league nuisance for all involved.
Why are Roaches Bad?
American cockroaches are a host organism for at least 33 kinds of bacteria, as well as several parasites and pathogens that can adversely affect humans. On top of that, cockroaches have been found by researchers to exacerbate both seasonal allergies and asthma in people of all ages, with those in big cities being most at risk of developing an infection or seeing an uptick in their symptoms. If that isn’t enough to make your skin crawl, consider this: an average roach is capable of running three miles per hour, carrying and spreading bacteria very quickly wherever it goes.
When Do They Come Inside?
These unwanted guests typically venture indoors when they sense food, crawling in through cellars, garages, open windows, and even underneath doors. in other words, any small crevice exposed to the outside is fair game for roaches to enter through. They can also utilize other entry points like the bathroom sink or shower drain. Yes, it’s actually pretty well known that roaches travel along sewer lines, finding their way into pipes and eventually the homes to which they’re connected. Once inside, they are oftentimes drawn to kitchens in search of food.
Clean Up Your Act
Roaches out in the wild can be found feasting on natural materials such as wood or leaves, but they’re actually very indiscriminate in their diet and will eat pretty much anything. That’s why they’re often a big problem for restaurants and other commercial spaces where a large quantity of food is prepared or disposed of. For that reason, your first order to business should be to consider your kitchen’s cleanliness — are there any food particles or spills that don’t get cleaned up right away? Even your cat’s food, if left uneaten for a prolonged period, can lure in the pests. After each feeding, rinse out the food bowl.
Look around and make sure you’re cultivating an environment that’s completely sanitary (and thus unappealing to them). Check all the nooks and crannies in your kitchen to see if there are any old crumbs that have accrued anywhere, and then clean those areas thoroughly. You might even want to use some disinfecting wipes to get the job done. Is your stovetop in need of scrubbing after one too many cooking spills? Is the microwave in need of a good wiping down?
You should also examine your cupboards, noting any smells or signs that condiments and other packaged food items have been left unclosed or improperly sealed. Any lids loose? Containers, when not actively being used, should be stored appropriately, and you shouldn’t be able to smell anything when you open your cupboards. Traces of food also seem to stick to appliances like toasters or refrigerators, or settle beneath them, so keeping these places relatively clean will certainly help as well. The goal is to create a sterile space where no food scraps or crumbs can be observed.
Keep the Food in the Kitchen
Get accustomed to regularly storing any uneaten food in the fridge, in lieu of leaving that box of half-eaten pizza sitting on the kitchen counter “for later on.” And stick to a firm schedule for washing and putting away dishes rather than letting them pile up in the sink. And though late-night snacking in your living room can be tempting, doing so habitually can lead to more crumbs accumulating, which in turn attracts pests like roaches. So keep food consumption in other rooms to a minimum, or better yet, ban meals outside the dining room or kitchen altogether, or else you may soon have an infestation on your hands.
Routinely vacuum or mop your kitchen floors to keep them free from any food residue, and remember to clean up after all your meals. This includes peeking under tables or chairs for any bits of food that may have rolled off the plate or otherwise didn’t end up where intended. Food smells can also originate from your trash can, so make sure you keep the lid on tightly. When it starts to get full, promptly take it out to the curb. Just be sure to double-knot your trash bags to prevent any odors from escaping and potentially giving the roaches the wrong idea!
Caulked and Loaded
Lastly, you’ll want to show those cockroaches that you aren’t open for business by caulking exposed areas shut, such as little cracks in walls or ceilings, spaces around pipes, and any narrow, hard-to-reach nooks that seem unprotected. Sealing off these openings, however tiny they may be, will make it nearly impossible for any creature to crawl through. Consider weather stripping your windows and doors for added protection.
By following these handy tips, you’ll never have to worry about seeing these bothersome bugs in your apartment again!