Having been around for more than 300 million years, cockroaches have proven that they are highly resilient creatures. It takes extreme temperatures to impact upon them and it is commonly joked that they would be the only surviving creatures of a nuclear holocaust. According to the CDC this resilience can make their control “a homeowner’s most difficult task because of the time and special knowledge it often involves”.
It is therefore no surprise that such tough insects are unaffected by the temperate climate of Egypt. This point is moot however, since the two species commonly found here – the American and the German cockroach – thrive most in the shelter, moisture and accessible food sources of sewers and indoor dwellings. They are therefore unaffected by seasonality.
Indeed, German cockroaches do not enter structures from outdoors, they are spread entirely by humans and live only indoors, spending most of their lives in cracks and protected void areas near sources of food and water. They eat almost anything including meats and grease, starchy foods, sweets, baked goods, leather, wallpaper paste and book bindings. This species is the most prolific, producing 20-30 eggs every 6 weeks.
American cockroaches can live indoors or out. Like all roaches, they thrive best in 25-29C temperatures. This species has a slower lifecycle than its German cousin. All nymphs hatch out at approximately the same time in June. In the fall, the population is at its largest and the bulk of it is comprised of large cockroach nymphs. These nymphs, along with the few remaining adults, are all competing for food and protected dwellings, in search of better temperatures and access to moisture and food. It is at this time that they are most likely to invade homes. Their flattened bodies allow them to enter through small cracks around loose-fitting doors and windows, and where electric lines or pipes pass through walls.
How do roaches get in the house?
Even the cleanest dwelling can become infested since all homes offer access to food and water to varying degrees. If they want to get in, cockroaches are capable of squeezing through a 3mm gap. Here are a few ways that cockroaches may get into your home:
- Packaging and boxes: German cockroaches may hitch a ride in cardboard boxes, gas canisters or furniture. You may bring a pregnant roach or its egg case home at the bottom of a bottled water carton without even knowing. Always inspect such boxes and packaging before bringing indoors. Also check food for roaches before putting it away. Onion and garlic husks can harbor roach eggs.
- Pipes and plumbing: Roaches can also get in the house through the plumbing. They migrate between neighboring apartments by traveling through the plumbing within a common wall and other utility lines.
- Sewers and drains: Sewers or drains are also popular American cockroach entry points. Repairs on the sewer system may lead to displaced cockroaches entering buildings and villas.
- Gaps and cracks in walls, windows and doors: Not only can cockroaches quickly squeeze through impossibly small cracks and crevices, but they can withstand a force 900 times their body weight and still run just as fast.
The fact is, many houses have entry points that are easily accessible to roaches. Being aware of how they get into your home is the first step in helping to prevent an infestation.
How to control roaches in your villa or apartment?
Of course, it’s important to know what species of cockroach is infesting your home, so you know the best strategy to tackle the problem. Different species have different habits. Here are some general tips that can help you keep roaches from invading in your home:
- Discard empty boxes and cartons immediately as these are a favorite breeding ground for roaches which may be hitching a ride from a warehouse.
- Seal holes in common walls between apartments and around plumbing pipes.
- Use window screens and seal openings around doors and windows to keep cockroaches outside.
- Seal or use screens for large openings around outside drainage lines and sewer vents.
- Regularly clean sink and floor drains
- Always clean up spilled food and crumbs immediately and don’t leave dirty dishes out overnight. Store food in airtight, sealed containers.
- Put garbage in a sturdy container with a tightly fitting lid.
- Do not leave pet food out overnight
- Do not feed stray cats by putting food scraps outside your villa or in the stairwell of your apartment building – this will not only attract cockroaches but rats too. Discourage your neighbours from doing so.
Even if you are vigilant about preventing them, cockroaches may still find a way into your house. If you’re experiencing signs of an infestation, don’t wait to act. Contact the pros at SOTAICO®. We have many tools, products, and techniques available for cockroach control. Depending on the severity of your infestation, a treatment could be very simple, or could require everything at our disposal for effective control.