Coming in From the Cold: Cockroach Season
While insects are generally unpopular, none gives us the creeps quite like cockroaches. Often associated with an unclean home, these pests are actually found even in immaculately-kept houses. Many a fussy family has been horrified to come down to their pristine kitchen one morning only to find a dead roach lying on the floor. While dirty dishes and unswept floors are certainly appealing for insects of all kinds, even the cleanest home can become infested during cockroach season. Roaches come indoors in the fall and winter seeking warmer temperatures, as well as food and water that may be no longer available out of doors. To prevent a cockroach infestation, take measures to eliminate the three things a cockroach craves: shelter, food and water.
- Seal cracks and crevices in the foundation and around baseboards, doors and windows.
- Plug bathtub and shower drains at night to prevent roaches from coming up through the pipes.
- Even your toilets and sinks can provide access, so be sure to caulk completely around fixtures and pipes.
- Remove potential hiding places by keeping your house tidy. Newspaper piles, empty boxes and bags, mounds of clothing and clutter can all provide safe places for roaches to hide out.
- Sweep regularly behind appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, washers and dryers.
- Sweep and vacuum floors regularly, especially in kitchens.
- Wipe down counters and tables after each use.
- Don’t leave dirty dishes overnight, even in the dishwasher. If you don’t have time to wash them, at least leave them soaking in soapy water.
- Clean spills and splashes from microwaves and stovetops, as grease is a favorite food supply.
- Clean toasters regularly during cockroach season and turn them on for two to three minutes with nothing inside to eliminate any food scent.
- Use garbage and compost bins with lids that seal tightly. Even more effective - take out trash every night.
- Don’t leave food out. Put perishables in the refrigerator and pantry items in sealed containers and bags.
- Empty pet bowls and keep food in secure containers.
- Fix leaky pipes, which can provide access as well as a water supply.
- Check appliances, fixtures and faucets for drips.
- Mop up puddles on countertops and floors, especially in kitchens and bathrooms. Even a tiny puddle provides plenty of water for an insect.
- Empty and dry pet dishes each night.
In the fall and winter your home should be a refuge from the cold, but only for creatures you’ve invited there. Take steps to protect your home and prevent an invasion this upcoming cockroach season.