The title of this blog might seem a little dramatic, but I’d like to suggest that for the most of us, cockroaches strike fear into our hearts – not only because they are creepy crawlies and can fly, but because you know that if you see one, there are probably more lurking out of sight.
During the COVID-19 pandemic there has been even more “lurking” by pests, as empty buildings became safe havens for many pest species. We’ve seen an increase in infestation rates as people return to work – which you can read more about in our blog post: Pests during lockdown.
The fear of cockroaches is so common they even have a name for it: Katsaridaphobia. For many of us, the following meme resonates;
Image courtesy of Memedroid
You may not know this, but cockroaches (part of the Blattodea order), have been around for about 300 million years and there are about 3,500 species world wide. They are actually fascinating insects (at a distance) and to many seem elusive and indestructible. They can;
- run more than 4km in an hour and a day old cockroach can also run almost as fast as its parents;
- hold their breath for 40 minutes;
- live for a week without a head (yes it’s possible, it’s because of their open circulatory system – they breathe through little holes in each of their body segments);
- live without water for 1 week and without food for about a month.
Fact: One of the cockroach’s traits is thigmotropism. This means that cockroaches are responsive to touch, and therefore can bend and flatten their bodies in ways to get into small crevices. They are known to get into cracks and crevices no thicker than a R5 coin.
Here are a few more facts about cockroaches:
Common types of Cockroach found in SA:
How do you know which is which? You ask them! (Please don’t unsubscribe!)
German cockroaches are found in many countries around the globe and easily identifiable by 2 dark longitudinal stripes on their pronotum. Adults are generally between 12 and 15 mm in length.
American cockroaches are one of the largest pest cockroaches to invade homes and businesses. They are red-brown in colour and adults are between 35 and 40 mm in length.
Learn more about the types of cockroaches by watching the video:
Whilst fascinating (but creepy), cockroaches also spread disease. If you notice signs of a cockroach infestation, it is best to take action immediately.
In our blog Will cockroaches in my home make me sick? we unpacked how cockroaches spread disease (predominantly through cross contamination) and looked at the wide range of pathogens they spread, all of which can cause disease such as diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera and leprosy.
- Eliminate food sources by storing food in sealed containers.
- Clear all waste food and liquid spillage right after a spill occurs.
- Empty the rubbish on a daily basis and keep all garbage or compost in sealed bins.
- Remove pet food and litter trays before nightfall.
- Rinse cans, bottles and plastics – before putting them in recycling bins.
- Clean exterior drains regularly. Rentokil offers a specialised drain treatment service so that you don’t have to get your hands dirty. Contact us for more information.
- De-clutter: remove old stacks of newspapers and magazines, unused cardboard boxes and all other forms of clutter from the floor or bottom of cupboards to exercise cockroach control.
- Varnish or paint wood shelves to seal them, and wipe them clean regularly.
- Seal entry points to deny access to cockroaches.
- Call the Experts