Caught a Cockroach: Now What?

You caught a cockroach at home and now you have a lot of questions. How do you get rid of the cockroach? Do you actually have a cockroach infestation? And what can you do about it? Here are the answers to the most common questions when one catches a cockroach at home.

1. Identify the type of cockroach you caught

It’s important to know what type of cockroach you caught because different cockroaches have different behaviors, habits, and preferred environments. If you know the type of cockroach you have at home, you can research more about it. This way, you are prepared for what to do if you actually have an infestation. Take advantage of their behaviors, habits, and preferred environments to prevent them from thriving.

Here are the common types of cockroaches people often find inside their homes:

  • American cockroach: These cockroaches are the largest of all house-infesting cockroaches. But they don’t bother just homes. They also bother groceries, restaurants, and other commercial areas with food. They are characterized by their reddish-brown color and flat and oval appearance.
  • Brown-banded cockroach: These are short and stout brown cockroaches that are characterized by two bands across their abdomens. Many household cockroaches prefer damp areas, but brown-banded cockroaches prefer dry and warm areas, such as cabinets and closets.
  • German cockroach: These cockroaches are some of the most concerning of the bunch. They adulterate food with their feces and other secretions, making them a serious health concern when you find them in bathrooms, kitchens, and other moist areas.
  • Oriental cockroach: These cockroaches are black or dark brown, making them more distinguishable from other common household cockroaches that are usually just brown. They like to stay in areas that are cool and high in humidity, such as basements and crawlspaces.

2. Dispose of the cockroach

If you caught a cockroach at home, you have to get rid of it as soon as possible. This is because cockroaches can easily thrive in human settlements. We have the food, water, and shelter they need to survive and sustain themselves. Here are some quick tips:

  • Kill the cockroach by crushing it. Cockroaches are known to pretend to be dead. They can act dead and crawl away when you are no longer looking. Make sure the cockroach you caught is dead by crushing it and spilling its guts.
  • Throw it in the garbage or burn it. Once you are sure that the cockroach is dead, sweep it up in a dustpan and throw it away in the garbage can. You can also burn it in a bonfire, but avoid doing this in an area with flammable materials like the grass in your yard.
  • Flush it down the toilet but make sure it’s really dead. Yes, you can flush a cockroach down the toilet. But make sure that the cockroach is really dead because it can survive in water. You don’t want it to find its way back to your home.
Wear protective gear if you caught a cockroach at home.

3. Clean the area where you found the cockroach

Cockroaches can live in the most unsanitary areas, including garbage cans and sewers. And this is why they often carry microorganisms that cause diseases. It’s necessary to clean the area where you caught the cockroach to kill these microorganisms. Here are some quick tips:

  • Cover yourself. Wear gloves and facemasks when dealing with cockroaches. Their exterior body and insides are both dirty. You don’t want direct contact with them.
  • Don’t pick up the cockroach with your hands. Even if you are wearing protective clothing, you still shouldn’t pick up the dead cockroach with your hands. Sweep it with a broom or suck it in a vacuum cleaner.
  • Use a disinfectant or soapy water. Clean the area with a commercial disinfectant or soapy water. And then wipe the area dry with a clean cloth.

4. Look for more cockroaches

It’s possible that you are only dealing with one cockroach. For example, a lone cockroach may have come up your kitchen sink because of leftovers. But it’s also possible that you have a cockroach infestation in your hands even if you only see one cockroach. Here are some of the most common hiding spots of cockroaches around homes. Make sure to inspect these areas:

  • Cool and dry spots like cabinets and closets
  • Inaccessible high areas like cracks in the ceiling
  • Inaccessible low areas like holes in the floor
  • Moist areas like basements, bathrooms, and crawlspaces
  • Old clutter like magazines and shoeboxes

5. Prevent cockroaches from thriving

Cockroaches attract other cockroaches. Even if you are really dealing with one cockroach only, you can experience a full-blown infestation very soon. Prevent cockroaches from thriving in your home with these simple tips:

  • Make food inaccessible. Clean up immediately after eating. As small creatures, cockroaches are attracted even to the smallest food crumbs and the tiniest spills of water. Wash dishes and wipe dining areas and kitchens after you are done with your business. Also, put your food in containers to make them less accessible to foraging and scouting pests.
  • Close all potential passageways. Doors and windows are the obvious passageways that you should keep closed. But there are others that are more subtle, such as drains, pipes, vents, and random gaps across your home. Fix cracks and holes too, especially those in ceilings, floorboards, and walls.
  • Throw away everything you don’t need. Declutter. If an item has no practical or sentimental value to you, get rid of it. It can only become a shelter for pests like cockroaches.
Prevent cockroaches from thriving by cleaning up immediately after eating.

6. Call pest control professionals

You can get rid of cockroaches and entire infestations yourself with commercial pesticides. But if you are not sure what to do, you can always just call pest control professionals. They will be able to assess the condition of your home. After all, there are different levels of infestations, such as light, moderate, and severe, and each level may require different pest control methods that your amateur self may find overwhelming.

The type of cockroach you have at home and their behaviors, habits, and preferred environments can influence the kind of pest control method that pest control professionals need to use to effectively get rid of them. This highlights the importance of calling pest control professionals instead of trying to get rid of infestations yourself.

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