Cockroaches! They’re a common problem across New Zealand, and as they don’t care whether your house is a brand new palace or a hundred-year old shack, no one is safe from them. If you’re a victim, one thing’s for sure – you’ll want to know how to get rid of cockroaches.

The Cockroach Threat

Cockroaches provoke a universal reaction of disgust, and rightly so. They spread diseases, damage wallpaper and books, contaminate food and leave droppings where they can be ingested by children and pets.

In addition, cockroaches produce “cockroach dust” – a combination of dried cockroach body parts and droppings that has been linked to higher incidences of asthma.

Know Your Enemy

It would be a rare New Zealander who didn’t know what a cockroach looked like. One of the most common and persistent varieties of cockroach is the German cockroach. Did you know that the female of this species produces 25-45 eggs every 3-4 weeks? And that each German cockroach can live for up to a year? With stats like that it’s no wonder household cockroach populations can explode in a matter of months.

Cockroaches like three things – food, water and heat. If your home provides these three essentials you could be a candidate for invasion.

How Big is Your Infestation?

Cockroaches are generally nocturnal insects. You’ll often notice them scuttling along walls and crevices as it starts to get dark. If you’re seeing cockroaches during the day it’s likely you have a significant infestation, as roaches will only venture out during the daylight hours if their nests are overcrowded.

Prevention is Better than Cure

In your war against the roach your first line of defence is prevention. The following tips will help make your home an unattractive target for this spiny-legged, hard-shelled enemy.

  • Clean – keeping surfaces clean and free of food, grease and other organic rubbish will rob cockroaches of vital food sources. Roaches will even go for scraps left on unwashed dishes.
  • Store food properly – keeping food in the fridge or in airtight containers keeps it away from cockroaches.
  • Create a dry environment – cockroaches can’t survive long without water, so fixing that leaky tap and ensuring your sinks are empty of water at night will make them thirsty enough to go elsewhere.
  • Vacuum regularly – this removes yet another source of food.
  • Weather-stripping windows and doors will help prevent cockroaches gaining access to your home. Caulking gaps around pipes and between baseboards and walls etc. will block more points of entry.

Fighting Back

The anti-cockroach arsenal contains a number of weapons you can use to fight a cockroach infestation.

Sprays – Surface sprays will create a coating that repels roaches for 2-3 weeks. “Total release” sprays kill on contact but don’t linger – great for a quick knock-down when you can see what you’re fighting.

Dusts and powders – Good for large infestations, these products generally work by damaging the cockroach’s carapace (it’s shell) and causing the insect to dehydrate to death.

Baits – Excellent for smaller infestations, baits are pet and child safe and can be placed unobtrusively wherever cockroach traffic occurs.

Traps and glue pads – Useful for placing beneath large appliances, these mats lure cockroaches then trap them on a layer of adhesive.

Boric acid – Boric acid is an effective dusting agent for cockroach control. Often the main ingredient in baits, it can be bought at hardware stores and placed in wall cavities and other out of the way places to catch cockroach traffic.

Homemade remedy – Mix equal parts baking soda and icing sugar and place on small squares of tin foil wherever cockroaches travel.

Good Luck

By following the tips above on how to get rid of cockroaches you’ll gain the upper hand in the fight against these insidious insects. Pay attention to preventative measures, use an appropriate killing product and, most of all, be persistent – no product will get rid of every roach in a single treatment. If you keep at it, though, you’ll be victorious.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for an informative article. I would however like to add a little to the information.

    For those that want to identify the cockroaches they have infesting their homes or workplaces they can find a good key at Landcare Research. It is important to know which species you are dealing with. For example the little native Bush Cockroach wanders indoors in autumn but is not likely to infest the house and cause the problems of the pest species.

    Good surface sprays specifically formulated for cockroach control should give at least three months control, not just 3 weeks. They have some repellent activity but are designed to kill roaches that contact the surfaces.

    Dusts made from diatomaceous earth are, in my many years of experience, ineffective except as ways to help reducing the moisture levels in the cracks and crevices where cockroaches hide. Even the manufacturers of these products are backing away from claims of damaging the carapace.

    Baits are always recommended for cockroach control, whether a small or large infestation. A combination approach is always the most likely to be effective.

    Traps are not just a useful and safe form of control but they provide early warning of infestation and I would recommend their continued use for 3-6 months after last seeing cockroaches, and always if you are in a vulnerable area.

    I wrote a How to Get Rid of Cockroaches article here previously.

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