There’s something about scuttling cockroaches that turns our stomachs, and even a professional pest controller may let out a yelp of dismay on uncovering a teeming cockroach colony. But there’s more to these insects than many people realise. So says Lee Maddocks, a pest control expert based in Upper Coomera in Queensland’s Gold Coast. It’s an area known for the magnitude of its cockroach infestations, and Maddocks has quite literally made it his business to know the habits of these pests as well as how to get cockroaches under control.
We asked Mr Maddocks to give us the lowdown on the insects we love to hate and discovered 5 fascinating facts that will help us to know our creepy-crawly household foe.
Not All Cockroach Species are Bad
It may horrify you to know that there are thousands of species of cockroach out there, but the vast majority of them aren’t household pests. “Most cockroach species are perfectly innocuous,” says Maddocks, “and they have an important ecological niche. You can consider them as a team on nature’s recycling crew that prepares dead organic matter for the important decay process that cycles nutrients through ecosystems.”
“Our household pest species include the Oriental Cockroach, the German Cockroach, the Australian Cockroach as well as the Brownbanded, and Smoky Brown Cockroaches. All of these can be a problem in Australian homes, but the German cockroach is by far the hardest to deal with.”
They’re Great at Hiding Away
Anyone who has had cockroaches in their home will know that cockroaches are far more likely to be seen running away or lurking in unexpected places than to be spotted just hanging out in the open.
“If we consider what their role in nature is, it’s easy enough to understand why cockroaches like hiding in dark places and damp areas. In nature, they’d be hiding under leaf debris or under decaying tree stumps. They can’t defend themselves against predators, so they rely on concealment and forage under cover of darkness,” says Maddocks.
“Unfortunately, we inadvertently create perfect cockroach habitats in our homes. There’s food, there’s moisture, and there are plenty of dark places to hide away. And in case you were wondering, just keeping your home spotless isn’t enough. They’ll eat things we wouldn’t consider as being food, too.”
They Breed and Multiply Fast
You’ve probably heard that if you see one cockroach, there are probably hundreds or even thousands of them. Their prolific breeding is one of the reasons why one can end up with literally thousands of cockroaches in a single home.
Just one cockroach female can produce hundreds of young during a relatively short space of time. They mature quickly and begin to reproduce too, so the numbers grow exponentially. A single female can produce up to 50 eggs at a time and will do so between four and eight times in her lifespan. A bit of simple mathematics shows us that just 10 female cockroaches can produce up to 4,000 young. That’s a lot of cockroaches and we aren’t even counting the roachy grandchildren!
Roaches in Your Home are a Health Risk
“Yuk factor” isn’t the only reason we shouldn’t let cockroaches establish themselves in our homes. Despite the fact that cockroaches are obsessive groomers, they can and do carry bacteria around with them.
Apart from their scuttling, germ-spreading habits, they also leave droppings everywhere. Pest experts like Mr Maddocks use that to help identify cockroach infestations, but as you can imagine, having cockroach droppings around the place isn’t exactly a healthy state of affairs.
“How bad is it? Pretty bad! I’ve read that apart from more common germs, cockroaches can even carry polio, typhoid, and even leprosy,” says Mr Maddocks. “Given that these are rare diseases in modern-day Australia, that would be unlikely in your household, but it underlines the fact that cockroaches and potentially harmful bacteria go together.”
According to Maddocks, allergy sufferers and children vulnerable to allergies are the biggest sufferers. Cockroaches shed their skins as they grow, and dust containing cockroach proteins can trigger allergies and asthma.
Pesticides and Baits May only Reduce Infestations
If you’ve ever gone on a cockroach blitz only to find cockroaches in your kitchen just a few weeks or months later, you may be wondering why they reinfest your home so fast. “A bit of bug spray or some bait traps around the house will probably leave some survivors,” says Mr Maddocks. “They breed, and it’s not long before the numbers recover.”
“We need to know why cockroaches like your home: where they get in and where they hide. Just killing them isn’t enough to keep your home cockroach-free for an extended time. You need a full-scale strategy to keep them at bay. That’s where professional pest controllers like the Richards Pest Control team can help. Forget alarmism, and the team are not going to say customers shouldn’t try controlling cockroaches themselves, but if they’re looking for a real solution and not just a stop-gap, they need professional help.”
For more information on all things pest control and ridding your home of unwanted guest including termites or to learn more about how Richards Pest Control can keep your home properly maintained, visit the Best Pest Control In Gold Coast & Tweed | Richards Pest Control or call Lee and his team for a no obligation quotation on (07) 5533 9512.