Full Guide to Cockroaches in Washington

German Cockroach

While many people joke about it, the reality is that the cockroach is one of the most resilient species on the planet. They are highly adaptable, small enough to hide in many tight spots, only come out at night, reproduce in vast quantities, and eat just about anything. 

So how do we keep these disgusting, bacteria-ridden critters out of our homes? Keep reading and find out how.

What Attracts Cockroaches?

Roaches are often associated with filth and messy households. Contrary to popular belief, any property can fall victim to a roast infestation as long as it provides:

  • A steady supply of food 
  • Safe shelter
  • Easy access to water 

They are particularly attracted to well-enclosed, warm, humid environments and are often found in bathrooms, drains, and dumpsters. 

Are Roaches Dangerous?

Roaches are not aggressive creatures and do not bite, though they can transmit pathogens that can cause various diseases, including cholera, leprosy, poliomyelitis, typhoid fever, dysentery, and gastroenteritis. These diseases can be transmitted through their urine, fecal matter, or by eating contaminated food.

Additionally, their fecal matter and shredding body parts can act as allergens, which can aggravate asthma and cause allergic reactions to people who are sensitive to these substances.  

How Do Roaches Get Into Your House?

These sneaky insects are quite resourceful. With their average size around 1 ½ to 2 inches, they commonly sneak in through the smallest holes and cracks in doors, windows, your home's foundation, and even pipes and vents

But they can also be through into the house unknowingly. Roaches can also be brought into the house by hitching rides on common items such as packages, grocery bags, backpacks from school, or even a briefcase from work. Since these critters are nocturnal, you won’t even know they were there until they’ve started to multiply.

Where do Roaches Hide?

Because cockroaches like to avoid contact with humans and pets, they are adept at hiding. They prefer to stay in dark, safe, hidden areas, including narrow cracks in the walls. Other places they like to hide include:

  • Behind refrigerators and under appliances
  • Under kitchen or bathroom sinks, particularly if there leak
  • In drains
  • Around water heaters
  • Under furniture
  • Under stacks of paper and cardboard
  • Crawl spaces 
  • Basements
  • Garages

Types of Cockroaches in Washington State

There are four common types of cockroaches that can be found in our area:

German Cockroach

The German cockroach is the most common to be found in WA and prefers to dwell in the warmer, more humid areas of a structure. They are light brown to tan in color, approximately ½ inch to 5/8 in size, and easily recognizable by the two black stripes behind their head. 

American Cockroach

The largest of the house infesting roaches, the American cockroach is reddish-brown to dark brown, approximately 1 -½ to 2-inches long, and has a tan or yellow band behind the head. They also have wings and are capable of flying.

Oriental Cockroach

Often referred to as water bugs because they prefer dark, damp, cool spaces, the oriental cockroach is approximately 1 inch in length and is dark brown with a shiny appearance. Both males and females have wings, but only females can fly.  

Brownbanded Cockroach

Brownbanded cockroaches are light brown and contain two distinctive brownish bands around their wings and abdomen. The adult male measures about a half-inch long. The females are a bit shorter. Both have wings, but only males can fly. 

How to Prevent Cockroaches

Here are a few easy steps you can take to help keep cockroaches outside where they belong:

  • Seal any cracks around your home.
  • Regularly take out your garbage.
  • Repair any water leaks.
  • Wipe down your kitchen counters after every meal.
  • Seal all pipes.
  • Wipe down your stove after cooking.
  • Remove excess moisture and make sure basement and crawl spaces are properly ventilated.
  • Put dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher or wash them immediately after using them instead of leaving them in the sink overnight.
  • Keep firewood and compost as far away from your home as possible.
  • Sweep daily and vacuum weekly.
  • Keep your yard and landscaping tidy.

Signs of a Cockroach Infestation

Despite the fact that cockroaches are nocturnal creatures and typically keep away from humans and stay hidden, there are a few sure tell signs you can look for, including:

  • Sightings—If you see one or several cockroaches scurrying across the floor, rest assured there is probably in your house somewhere.
  • Feces—Finding oval-shaped, tiny brown droppings around your house a few millimeters in length.
  • Musty smell—Pay attention to those weird smells. Cockroaches leave an unpleasant odor, especially around an area of an infestation.
  • Skin sheddings—Roaches shed their outer layers of skin several times as they mature. Therefore if you find what appears to be pieces of skin, you can bet you probably have an infestation.

How To Get Rid of Cockroaches

If you suspect an infestation in your home, consider using a few of the following types of store-bought roach killers:

  • Roach traps—Store-bought traps can be purchased at your local home improvement or grocery stores in Washington. Traps use scents to attract cockroaches. When they inspect the trap, they become caught in the sticky substance and are trapped inside. 
  • Chemical Baits—Chemical baits use food to attract cockroaches. However, the food is actually an insecticide. Once the roach ingests the bait and returns to its nest, it dies. Other roaches eat the infected roach, spreading the poison to the rest of the colony, and well, you get the picture.
  • Spray liquids—Rather use a liquid form of control? Then liquid concentrates are for you. Once diluted, the liquid spray can be sprayed into cracks and crevices where roaches like to hide. You can also use the liquid on floors and counters as well.

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches Naturally

If you prefer to naturally rid your home of cockroaches, there are a handful of methods you can try. Here are just a few we recommend: 

  • Baking soda—One of the fastest ways to kill cockroaches is by using baking soda. Mix baking soda with something these filthy varmints are attracted to, such as sugar or onions. Place the mixture in areas where you’ve witnessed these critters and wait. Roaches will eat the mixture and die. 
  • Boric acid—Mix equal amounts of boric acid, flour, and sugar to make a dough—set balls of dough around your home. The flour and sugar will attract the roaches, and the boric acid will kill them. While this is one of the most effective and best roach killers, please note that boric acid is highly toxic to pets and should not be used around small children. 
  • Citrus—This is not a smell that is appealing to cockroaches. Therefore, if you want to prevent a roast infestation before it occurs, mix citrus acid with water and place it around high-traffic areas. Cockroaches will steer clear!

Professional Pest Control

The total elimination of cockroaches can be quite challenging. The best way to get rid of roaches permanently is to hire a professional cockroach exterminator. At Sound Pest Control, our experienced technicians have the expertise and equipment to get the job done right the first time.

Contact our team today to learn more!

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