Do you have cockroaches at home? This way you can avoid and control its unpleasant presence

These insects are not only unsightly, but they can also harm human health. Two pest specialists explain how they reproduce and how to control them.

With a narrow body, a bright brown tone, two parallel dark stripes that cover the wings of the head, six legs, two long antennae and wings that do not allow them to fly, this is how the German cockroach appears (Blattella germanica), one of the most common household pests in town.

There are several species of cockroaches: there is the American cockroach (American periplanetwhich is wider and rounded) and also that of the East (Blatta orientaliswhich is considerably darker), but the German model is most common inside homes, especially in apartment buildings and apartments.

“Cockroaches have a chewing mouthpart that allows them to feed on virtually any organic matter,” explains Hernán Higuera, operations director of Neoplagas, a company specializing in fumigation, disinfection and integrated pest management. pest control in homes, businesses and industries. Being omnivores, they will greatly benefit from any food or food scraps we leave at home.

The German cockroach, according to Higuera, searches for food based on its nutrient needs at each moment of its life cycle, which also varies depending on its sex. “In general, they prefer foods with higher carbohydrate content than fat and protein,” he comments. In the case of females, the increase in food and water consumption occurs when they form the ootheca, a capsule in which they deposit their eggs.

The German cockroach is the most common cockroach found inside homes and buildings.

Cockroaches develop in a gradual metamorphosis, Higuera explains, which includes three different stages: egg, nymph and adult. “The eggs are laid in the oothecae, produced by the females. » They are real refuges, resistant to insecticides and almost all external threats. Each ootheca can hold up to 48 eggs and, if kept at the appropriate temperature, they hatch in less than 28 days.

When they emerge from the ootheca, they do so in the form of a pupa, a state in which they are white and shiny. A few hours later they darken, and after about 8 or 12 months they become adults and sexually mature.

Why is a cockroach attracted to a house?

Beatriz Lazo, founder of The fumigators , a service dedicated to controlling pests such as spiders, cockroaches and ants, explains that the German cockroach can be attracted to a home due to the availability of food, water and shelter. “They look for warm, moist places to nest, like kitchens, bathrooms, and areas where food is stored,” he notes.

“Although cockroaches considered domestic are particularly attracted to organic matter in a state of decomposition or fermentation, in the absence of available food, they can even feed on paper, glue, soap or fabric, elements that “It’s easily found in any home,” warns Higuera. .

These invasive species have several preferred places to nest, according to Lazo, which must be dark and warm. “Cracks and crevices in walls, behind appliances, under sinks and in areas where trash accumulates,” he says, are some of the places you can likely find them.

Higuera points out that cockroaches can live almost anywhere: “holes in trees, buried underground, inside woods, nests of other social insects, in burrows of rodents, reptiles or even bird nests. But especially in man-made structures, like houses, boats and even airplanes,” he explains.

“They particularly like to take refuge in cracks or cavities, because these areas provide them with the humidity and temperature necessary for their life and their protection against predators,” he adds, although it is also normal to find them at the bottom of refrigerators, microwaves or even inside. the base of the electric kettle.

Are cockroaches dangerous to your health?

Walking here and there, among the streets, the trash, the droppings of other insects and animals, the ultra bohemian lifestyle of the cockroach is not compatible with ours, to the point that it can present a risk to human health. “They are vectors of pathogens that can cause disease,” Higuera explains.

Pathogens associated with cockroaches include bacteria, fungi, helminths, protozoa, and viruses; Likewise, the Neoplagas specialist explains that “this transmission occurs by regurgitation of food, by contact with its extremities or its body, or during defecation. “Cockroaches live in dirty places and from these places they move pathogens to clean places.”

The founder of Las Fumigadoras explains that the health problems they can cause range from allergies to gastrointestinal illnesses. “The assistance of a pest control professional should be sought when a significant infestation of cockroaches is observed, which may be manifested by the frequent presence of these insects, particularly during the day, or when signs of nesting are detected in key areas of the house,” comments.

When should you call on a fumigation service?

According to Higuera, the time to seek help or assistance is when the inhabitants of a house may see cockroaches constantly and at different times. “The eating habits of cockroaches are at dusk or very early in the morning, in the case of females. Therefore, when contact with these insects is frequent at other times, it indicates that the population is high,” he explains. Likewise, the sooner you contact a company specializing in integrated pest management, the easier and faster your work will be.

This is the life cycle of the German cockroach.

You should know that the infestation of German cockroaches is difficult to control: they have a high reproductive capacity – each ootheca has between 30 and 40 eggs, which only take between 20 and 30 days to hatch – and they are capable of find refuge in specific places. inaccessible to us. “The larger the cockroach population, the more difficult it will be to control,” specifies the specialist.

According to Neoplagas, the process has three phases: diagnosing the situation, establishing a program and control measures, and carrying out an assessment.

“The fundamental part is the diagnosis of the situation, which will determine what species of cockroach it is, the degree of infestation, its extent, the factors causing the pest and the level of tolerance”, explains t -he. It is through diagnosis that the most appropriate control measures are proposed. “In the case of B. Germanic (German cockroach), if the infestation affects several homes (such as in a building), it is necessary to consider a global treatment, that is to say undertaking a control at the same time in all the affected homes”, analyzes Higuera. If this is not done, “there is a high probability that they will end up reinfesting the spaces from which they were eliminated”.

In Las Fumigadoras they intervene using specialized techniques and products, “which guarantee its eradication in an effective and safe manner for residents. We use fumigation and specific surface treatment methods to combat this pest,” explains Lazo. They first carry out an inspection stage, during which they identify the extent of the infestation and the main nesting areas. Next, they begin a personalized control phase, which may include fumigation, crack sealing and recommendations to prevent future infestations.

In how many sessions is the problem controlled?

Difficult to have a precise universal figure, knowing that each context varies. “The number of sessions needed to resolve the problem of excess cockroaches may vary depending on the severity of the infestation and the specific conditions of each home,” analyzes Lazo. But on average, in his experience, it takes at least two sessions to guarantee eradication.

Neoplagas’ experience indicates that there are at least three visits, with a frequency of 7 to 10 days between each. “The first cockroach control visit should aim to control the adult population, because the first application will not generate the expected effect on the eggs, which are inside the ootheca,” explains the specialist.

That’s why future visits should focus on controlling the juvenile population of cockroaches, or nymphs, “those that will appear after hatching,” he warns.

Faced with the choice of which service or company to choose, or how to know that I am recruiting a good service, Neoplagas emphasizes that companies must comply with current legislation and a health resolution approved by the Seremi de Salud .

“The applicator company must be required to leave an application certificate indicating the treatment carried out, the areas covered, the products used indicating their registration with the ISP, as well as the signature and authorization of the technical manager of the company” , he suggests. Fig tree. If insecticide products are used, information on their permitted use and safety data sheets should be requested for safe application.

Preventive measures

Controlling a cockroach infestation is just as important as preventing it. For this, Las Fumigadoras recommends maintaining cleanliness in the house, eliminating sources of food and water, sealing cracks and crevices in the walls and keeping food storage spaces tidy. This is the basic thing that every home must comply with.

Neoplagas, on the other hand, makes more specific recommendations, especially for those who have had this problem at home:

  • Correct sources of humidity: Repair plumbing leaks and, in damp areas, install extractors and install ventilation grilles on doors.
  • Avoid areas with high temperatures: Do not accumulate appliances or refrigerators in the same space.
  • Keep doors and windows closed: Install screens on windows and weather stripping on doors.
  • Check the condition of the siphons: In kitchens and bathrooms that are not used regularly, make sure there is no accumulated water.
  • Inspect the food: before storing them in the pantry.
  • Store food in airtight containers .
  • Closed spaces where they can take refuge: seal cracks and plug holes. Do not accumulate objects and boxes on the floor.
  • Keep hidden areas clean: Pay special attention behind and under appliances.
  • Clean waste container areas: Do not let waste accumulate in trash cans and make sure they have tightly closed lids.

Source: Latercera

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