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Keep Cockroaches Out: Top Tips to Avoid Infestation

Keep Cockroaches Out: Top Tips to Avoid Infestation

Posted By: Daniel Mackie
Category: Pest Control

Dead or alive, roaches are not a pretty sight.

When you turn on the light, the last thing you want to hear is the telltale scurrying of tiny feet as insects run for cover. For anyone who’s dealt with cockroaches, this unpleasant scenario may be all too familiar. Cockroaches aren’t just unsightly and irritating, they’re also a health and hygiene concern. Avoiding cockroach infestation should be a priority for any property owner. Follow these top tips from pest control experts and make sure these little critters don’t get too close for comfort.

Keep cockroaches out by using simple, preventative measures and identifying the places they might lurk.

Certain areas in your home are more susceptible than others.

Vulnerable Spots

Before taking action to prevent a pest issue, it’s helpful to know which areas of your home are most appealing to cockroaches. These areas should be inspected and monitored closely, since – if an infestation does occur – the first signs of a pest’s presence are likely to be spotted.

  • The Kitchen
    Cockroaches look for areas with access to water – one reason they like to hang out in kitchens. Any room where food is easily accessible will be attractive to them. Insects also love grease residue, which often remains on stovetop hoods and in the areas below the coils or grills. Kitchens are often the location of indoor garbage bins, and if waste is not disposed of properly (and regularly) it can and will attract a variety of pests.
  • Basements
    Since insects can gain access from underground, basements are a favourite hideaway for cockroaches. A nearby laundry room will provide access to water, and increased humidity in a basement will make it appealing to pests.
  • Bathrooms
    Bathrooms that are not often visited should be checked regularly. Periodically run water in any infrequently used sinks (including in laundry rooms). Bathrooms provide cockroaches with an ample water source, and poorly fitted pipes allow them greater access.

    If a spare bathroom is usually empty, the dark environment could also increase its appeal as a potential “roach hangout.”

Key Steps to Prevent Infestation


A few simple actions can prevent cockroaches from entering your home.

  • Employ Barrier Exclusion
    This method prevents roaches from gaining access to your environment. This requires the sealing or repair of small cracks near drains and electrical outlets. Plumbing should be examined for any gaps where a pipe enters a wall.

    Roaches can also climb through improperly positioned drain covers, so it’s essential to check that these openings are secured. Look behind cabinets and appliances for tiny cracks in your walls or baseboards. These methods are especially important for apartment dwellers, since no matter how carefully you monitor your own living space, the residents of neighbouring units may be less vigilant.

    If you live in a house your foundation should also be inspected, since pests can gain access via small holes in the concrete. A pest control expert can spot any potential access points and seal them quickly and efficiently.

  • Keep Countertops Tidy
    Clear plates of uneaten food as soon as possible, and rid your prep area of crumbs and scraps. Be sure to wipe sticky spills, and disinfect your countertops regularly.

Proper storage keeps roaches out.

  • Secure Food
    Food should be kept in sealed, airtight glass or plastic containers. Inspect your storage vessels for cracks or holes, and discard of any damaged ones. This effort should include any pet food containers.

Inspect backpacks upon returning home.

  • Search Backpacks and Bags
    No matter how tidy your home is, there’s always the chance that a tiny hitchhiker will be carried in from a less hygienic environment. Kids’ backpacks are particularly attractive to pests, since they often contain snacks or food remnants.

    Grocery bags should also be scanned while items are unpacked, since produce departments are particularly susceptible to infestation. If you’re shopping at an unfamiliar grocery store or visiting a new restaurant, take extra care to inspect bags you take home. When possible, avoid placing purses and other personal items on the floor in restaurants.

Clean dishes promptly.

  • Clean Regularly
    This is a vital step in order to keep roaches away from any space. Stovetops should be cleaned to remove leftover grease, and (as mentioned before) counters should be disinfected periodically.

    Cover all indoor garbage and organically bins, washing and emptying them regularly. Clear the cooking area of crumbs, and sweep floors nightly. Avoid leaving dirty dishes in a sink. Cockroaches will be drawn to food residue (not just the food source itself), so it’s not enough to merely brush off a plate and leave it sitting until morning.

    Finally, check behind refrigerators and stoves; since these areas are rarely cleaned, they’re popular hiding spots for pests. By working these habits into your nightly routine, you’ll also increase your chances of spotting an infestation quickly, if one should occur. Homes with small children will naturally require extra attention.

  • Repair Leaks
    While cockroaches can gain access through the openings around piping, they will also be attracted to the water made available by leaky pipes. This is why roaches can often be spotted running underneath sinks. Seal any leaks immediately, eliminating the insects’ water source. Additionally, avoid leaving standing water in sinks.
  • Avoid Overheating
    Cockroaches thrive in warm areas, so keeping your home cool will make it less attractive to them. When temperatures rise in the summer, some species of cockroach will start to spread their wings, allowing them to fly around indoors. Controlling the heat in your living space or office can help prevent this unsettling possibility.
  • Reduce Clutter
    Cockroaches love to hide in stacks of discarded paper or newspaper, and in old cardboard boxes. If these boxes have food residue on them (e.g. take-out pizza boxes) it will only increase their appeal! Prompt recycling — and regular de-cluttering — will eliminate this source of shelter for pests. Clutter not only attracts and harbours cockroaches, it also makes them more difficult to spot once they’ve successfully invaded a home.

Health Risks

No one wants to see a cockroach in their vicinity, but many people don’t realize that a roach infestation can have more serious consequences. The saliva, feces, and body parts of cockroaches contain proteins that act as allergens. The presence of these proteins can trigger allergic reactions, particularly in children.

They can cause asthma attacks, with reactions sometimes caused by the bodies of dead roaches. Cockroaches are known to have caused especially severe asthma attacks in older patients.

Cockroaches can be devastating for a restaurant owner.

Cockroaches are also capable of carrying microbes on their bodies. These include pathogens and bacteria (among them E. Coli and salmonella), as well as parasitic worms. Pathogens and bacteria are then transferable to surfaces, food, and dishware in your home.

For restaurant owners the risks increase. An infestation can spread gastrointestinal illnesses among restaurant workers and patrons, and will likely result in the swift closure of your business.

Amazingly, cockroaches can live up to three months without eating. If an infestation does occur, even once you’ve removed their food source (i.e. careful cleaning and food storage) it’s not yet safe to assume they’ve fled the area. To make sure that the last roach you saw really is the last one, have an expert inspect your home for any signs of a lingering infestation.

Professionals can keep your home roach-free.

A cockroach infestation is a nuisance, but it’s an avoidable one if you use these simple precautions. However, if you do hear little feet scurrying, call professional exterminators to assist you.

Greenleaf Pest Control serves Toronto, the GTA, and anywhere in Southern Ontario. We’ll help you eliminate any current cockroach infestations, and we’ll help protect against problems in the future: (416) 998-9473.

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