A professional exterminator determines a cockroach infestation by classifying the infestation from light/small to heavy/severe.
If you have 5 cockroaches or fewer, you have a small infestation. If you have 10 to 25 cockroaches, that is considered moderate or medium. However, if you have more than 25, your infestation is categorized as heavy or severe.
The population of cockroaches you have in your home will determine what kind of infestation you have.
Signs of a roach infestation to look out for
There are some species that give off awful scents. They leave a distinct, musty odor that could sometimes smell oily as well. These odors are secreted by roaches for pheromones which are used by other roaches for trails.
These odors can also tell the others that there are dead roaches along the way. If the infestation gets bigger, the smell will linger and be more obvious. It will be hard to ignore it, and even harder to get rid of the smell without extermination.
If you can identify the areas of the house where the smells are stronger than usual, then it could be a hiding spot where cockroach activity is highly active. This will help you in exterminating the infestation.
The appearance of pest droppings differs from one another. It’s very easy to identify a mouse’s droppings. But because not all droppings are the same, you should know what cockroach feces look like.
Roach droppings usually resemble ground coffee or tiny black pepper specks or miniature pellets. Fobgdgr larger roaches, they are able to let out cylindrical droppings. The number of droppings you can see will indicate the severity of the infestation.
With a roach infestation, there will definitely be cockroach eggs. These eggs could easily hatch within a week. Roaches will continuously reproduce to increase their numbers so if left unchecked, the infestation will get severe.
If you feel you have an infestation, you can search for these oval-shaped egg cases inside closets, behind/under furniture, in between books and pages, and in other areas that are hidden. An egg capsule could carry up to 30 tiny roaches.
Mature roaches can shed their skin 5 to 8 times. You can find these shed skins in areas where they took shelter. Shed skins are what these roaches leave behind after molting.
What causes a roach infestation?
Cockroaches seek shelter just like any other insect, and a house is a perfect place to find that. During the cold season, you will find that more roaches will wander indoors.
Upon entering, most cockroaches hide and/or live in the areas of the house that are usually unused or forgotten. Roaches are also attracted to damp areas like under the sink or behind the toilet.
Besides moisture, one thing that also attracts these pests is clutter. The more clutter there is, the more they are likely to seek shelter in it.
Food and water sources
Even though they can go a long time without eating anything, cockroaches spend most of their time looking for food to eat. After all, it is food that drives most of what they do.
Roaches have an incredible sense of smell that is almost supernatural. The moment they smell food, they will definitely go for it. This is why you must store your food and water properly. Otherwise, these roaches will be drawn into it.
Moreover, roaches are omnivores so they basically eat anything. They are most attracted to starches, sweets, greasy food, and meat.
Dirty dishes, pet food on the floor, and undisposed trash with food waste attract cockroaches as well so make sure that you keep your house, specifically your kitchen, clean at all times.
Sometimes, keeping your house clean all the time may not be enough to prevent a roach infestation from happening. If your neighbors have them, then you could be susceptible to catching them as well.
However, this problem is more likely to happen with people residing in apartments and condos. To avoid it, the best way is to speak with your building’s management and agree on having regular pest control treatments.
How to get rid of a roach infestation?
There are two ways to get rid of a roach infestation. It is up to you whether to choose between hiring a professional exterminator or doing the treatment/removal by yourself.
Hiring an exterminator
There are several methods of extermination that professional exterminators do. But before performing anything, the first thing they do is determine the species of roaches in the infestation so they’d know which method would be appropriate.
Knowing the type of species is important for the exterminator because some, like German cockroaches, could be hard to kill.
What professionals do next is identify all the entryways that have been made or used by the cockroaches. When all entrances have been found, they put gel baits or glue traps by them to lure the roaches into chemicals that kill them.
Another method is using insecticide spray. This is perfect for cockroaches hiding in-between spaces around the house and lurking under the entry points. After the extermination, the professional will then decide if you need follow-up visits after.
Do it yourself
There are plenty of other ways to exterminate a cockroach infestation by yourself. You can use insecticide sprays and other traps and baits these professional exterminators use, or you can choose to use home items.
While professionals have their own equipment and materials, there are several home items you can use to kill roaches like baking soda, boric acid, borax, and diatomaceous earth.
These home remedies will definitely kill roaches. Although not immediately, the cockroaches will die once they have ingested these products. To use them effectively, you just have to set traps and bait like sugar or anything sweet.
Citrus and essential oils are also natural deterrents that help to keep the roaches away and never returning. These are good for when after you have performed the extermination.
Dangers and risks of a roach infestation
Cockroaches are able to carry 33 different kinds of harmful pathogens on their bodies. As they search for food, they transfer these pathogens and contaminate them.
When the food sources are contaminated and are eaten by a human, this could cause salmonella, E. coli, and streptococcus among many others. They will cause gastrointestinal diseases, and of course, food poisoning.
Since cockroaches eat almost anything, they could contaminate lots of things inside your house. They will defecate on any food source they find.
Respiratory Problems and Allergies
Cockroaches can aggravate respiratory problems and they can trigger and worsen allergies. Their saliva and other excretions could cause allergic reactions especially when they have been spread throughout your home.
Although they don’t cause asthma and other respiratory problems, they can affect people who already have these problems by making their conditions worse. Their secretions can cause rashes, sneezing, and itchy and watery eyes.
Their leg spines can also cause an infection if they are able to scrape or abrade the human skin.
Diseases and Bacteria
Besides food poisoning and allergies, cockroaches can also cause other harmful illnesses because of the bacteria and germs they carry. They always leave evidence in your home like urine, feces, saliva, and digestive fluids.
All these secretions contain dangerous agents that can be transferred to humans and cause infections like dysentery (an infection that causes bloody diarrhea) and typhoid fever due to salmonella.
Cockroaches should never be taken lightly. Even though they don’t bite and don’t necessarily cause respiratory problems, they can still hurt you in many ways. Signs of a roach infestation
Getting rid of a roach infestation: DIY vs Professional Exterminator
There are 5 things to consider when deciding between a DIY and Professional Pest Control.
Any infestation, no matter what size, is a big problem in itself. When dealing with a small infestation, a DIY plan of attack would be a good idea since there are many effective home remedies.
If you are dealing with a severe infestation, then your best bet is to hire a professional right away. The thing about professional pest control is that they have a more effective way of preventing the recurrence of the problem than DIY.
If you’re on a tight budget, then DIY is probably best. The average cost of hiring a professional exterminator is between $250 to $500, while DIY methods only cost between $20 to $50.
However, if your DIY methods aren’t working, then you are more likely to spend more than what you could have paid for professional extermination.
A DIY approach will cater more to your schedule and needs. You can do it at your own time and at your own pace. Professional pest control can be convenient too, but it could be a problem when your schedules conflict.
An example is when the company requires you to be home when someone is working on exterminating the infestation.
It entirely depends upon your preference whether you are open to using products that have harmful chemicals in them or not. For DIY, you can control which substances are allowed inside your home.
Some DIY products may not completely be effective depending on their brand or manufacturer. By hiring a professional exterminator, you will be assured that their materials are effective, and if the problem returns, they could do follow-up visits.