Cockroaches are probably the insects that cause the most distress to our customers. Being nocturnal in nature, they are often seen scuttling away when the lights are turned on. They can transmit several diseases and can have a devastating effect on the reputation of food businesses and as such, cannot be tolerated in our homes and businesses. Kestrel Pest Management have many years’ experience dealing with cockroaches and utilise the latest products and techniques to ensure the eradication of any cockroach infestation.
If you are unsure as to whether you have a cockroach infestation, then arrange a cockroach inspection with us. Our qualified cockroach expert will conduct a thorough property survey and if cockroach activity is confirmed, a control plan will be implemented. We also provide hygiene and housekeeping recommendations that will make the environment inhospitable to cockroach infestations.
Cockroach Diseases: Cockroaches are serious public health pests due to the number of diseases that they can transmit. These include:
The unsavoury environments that cockroaches inhabit mean that physical transmission of pathogens to food storage and food preparation areas is always a risk during a cockroach infestation. Pathogens can also be ingested when cockroaches are feeding on contaminated food, which multiply in their digestive systems. Subsequent contamination occurs in their droppings and in their vomit/saliva when they are feeding.
Cockroach Contamination: Cockroaches contaminate our homes and businesses with droppings, shed skins, egg cases, dead cockroaches. Their preference for areas of high humidity results in kitchens and bathrooms providing ideal environments for cockroaches to proliferate, and contamination of these food preparation/hygiene areas presents the greatest risk.
Cockroaches Cause Loss of Reputation: An infestation in a business (especially a food business) can lead to damaging publicity resulting in loss of customers or even the closure of a business. Social media feeds about pest issues in businesses intensifies the speed at which these stories are made public knowledge. There have been many court cases involving well know food retailers that have resulted in huge fines been imposed and environmental health inspectors will close food premises due to cockroach infestations.
Cockroach Damage: Cockroaches are omnivores and as such they will eat a variety of materials including fermenting substances, soiled dressings, faeces, leather and food for human consumption. They have been known to cause considerable damage to many paper-based products such as wallpaper, books, magazines, cartons etc. Cockroaches have also been known to cause damage to electrical appliances such as toasters, coffee machines, juicers etc.
Cockroaches Cause Allergic Reactions: Cockroaches can trigger allergic responses such as asthma. It is the proteins that are found in cockroach faeces, shed skins and dead bodies that can illicit an allergic response in susceptible people when these particles become airborne.
Cockroaches being nocturnal will hide away in cracks and crevices through the day. This ability to hide away means they are innocently transported in a range of items. Cockroaches also produce egg cases(oothecae) that can easily be transported resulting in new environments becoming infested. Infestations will also pass between adjoining buildings, which sometimes requires undertaking the treatment of several properties simultaneously to eliminate the infestation.
Infested Materials: Cockroaches can unwittingly be imported into homes and businesses on a variety of materials. Commonly infested second-hand items include kitchen goods such as fridges, freezers, washing machines, dryers, coffee machines etc. As cockroaches have flattened bodies, they can squeeze into the smallest of gaps. Pallets, crates and packaging materials such as cardboard and paper are also common sources of cockroaches. Corrugated cardboard is especially prone to carry hidden egg cases, nymphs and adults.
Infested Luggage: Cockroaches, just like bed bugs, can hide away in our luggage when we stay in hotels. These can then be brought home where the hitchhiking cockroaches can quickly multiply to infest homes. It is therefore good practice to check luggage and contents before returning home.
From Neighbouring Properties: Sometimes cockroaches will move to neighbouring properties via gaps in the building structure, service conduits and the drainage systems. Where this occurs, it is preferable to carry out a block treatment (treat all effected properties). Without this type of approach, the cockroach infestation always has the potential to reoccur and its spread will continue.
Resident Infestation: Sometimes an infestation is already established when a property or business is reoccupied, and it is the new owners/tenants that are left with the problem. Kestrel Pest Management offer a pest check to buyers/tenants of properties, that ensures that there are no established infestations.
When a cockroach infestation is present, they leave tell-tale signs that we as pest controllers are looking for:
Live cockroach sightings: It is usually the sighting of cockroaches scurrying in response to the lights being turned on that first alerts people to the presence of cockroaches. Although cockroaches are mainly nocturnal, they can still be seen during the daytime. Cockroaches have an incomplete metamorphosis (See Life Cycle Below) and as such the population consists of both nymphs (immature cockroaches) and adults, which is why there is such a variation in size within the population. Cockroaches will hide away in small gaps through the day such as gaps around pipes, in conduits, under sinks and showers, behind fridges/freezers, cookers, washing machines etc. Cockroaches tend to congregate together in these areas of harbourage and this behaviour is achieved by the emission of an aggregation pheromone.
Cockroach Droppings: The droppings of cockroaches resemble black pepper or black coffee. They will defecate anywhere they are active, and the number of droppings is a good indicator of the intensity of the infestation. Places where cockroaches hide away during the day will have a high number of droppings such as kitchen cupboards, fridges, freezers, under sinks etc.
Shed Cockroach Skins: As cockroaches develop from one nymphal stage to the next, they will shed their skins in order to grow. The process of moulting is called ecdysis and involves the larvae taking in large volumes of air in order to split, shed and crawl out of their old skin (exuviae). During this process the newly emerged nymph is particularly vulnerable, as the new cuticle is soft and white and will take a few hours to harden. For this reason, many shed skins will be found where the cockroaches hide away during the day.
Egg Cases: Egg cases or ootheca are protective shells that encapsulate the cockroaches’ eggs and are carried around by the female cockroaches. The ootheca gradually grow from the abdomen and are rectangular shaped, up to 1cm long and the same colour as the cockroach. These are then deposited by the females in hidden locations that are usually near to a food source. Some species deposit the ootheca just before the eggs hatch and others deposit them weeks before they hatch out. Due to their vulnerability, these cases will be found in hidden locations such as kitchen cupboards, under kitchen units, rubbish bins etc.
Smear Marks: In an intensive infestation, especially in damp locations, cockroaches will produce distinctive dark trails as they travel around their environment. These smear marks are caused by the transfer of dirt and debris from the cockroaches as they scuttle around. These can be found around drains, under sinks and wall/floor junctions.
Cockroach Smell: The distinctive oily musty smell of a cockroach infestation is caused by the cockroaches emitting cuticular hydrocarbons (pheromones). These smells are olfactory chemical signals that communicate information among the population such as food location, harbourage sites and the sex of the individual. These chemicals are also found in dead cockroaches and shed skins, which adds to the unpleasant smell of a cockroach infestation.
It is important that during our initial survey of the property that the cockroach species, extent and level of infestation is identified. From this we will then be able to devise a control programme that will eradicate the cockroach infestation. This will involve the use of insecticides and monitoring traps. Depending on the intensity and the risk to products, we have several products that we can deploy to successfully eradicate the cockroach infestation. During our survey we will provide advice on hygiene, housekeeping and waste management that will ensure that the control programme achieves effective and lasting results.
Insecticides: We have professional insecticides that can be applied in variety of situations. In some situations, we might carry out residual spray treatments that will initially significantly reduce the cockroach population. In lower level infestations we could use insecticidal baits that incorporate an attractive food base with a potent insecticide. These dead cockroaches are then fed on by other cockroaches, which has a lethal cascade effect on the cockroach population.
Safety Considerations: Before undertaking any treatment, we will carry out a risk assessment to ensure that any risks to people, animals and the environment are minimised.
Monitoring: Throughout the treatment programme we will install cockroach monitoring traps that will attract any remaining cockroaches by means of a lure. These traps will let us know if there are any pockets of infestation remaining and where to concentrate our efforts.
Follow-up Schedule: After the initial treatment we will revisit on a regular basis to ensure the treatment is successful. Dependent on the initial infestation levels, this could require several follow-up visits.
Cockroach Treatment Completion: When the treatment is complete and the cockroach infestation has been eradicated, we will remove all the monitors and carry out any proofing work that has been requested by the customer. We will also advise the customer on how to best manage the environment to minimise the risk of a cockroach infestation.
There are two species of cockroaches that make up the majority of species that we deal with at Kestrel Pest Management. These are the German cockroach (Blattella germanica) and the Oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis). Cockroaches undergo incomplete metamorphosis, so they hatch from the eggs as small cockroaches (nymphs) and gradually increase in size until they reach adult size:
Egg Nymph Adult
Appearance: The German cockroach adult is 12 – 15mm long, has mid brown wings and easily distinguished by the two distinctive dark brown stripes on a yellow brown pronotum. The wings are full length in the male and cover a tapered abdomen. In the females the wings are shorter, and the abdomen is much stouter. Nymphs are smaller versions of the adults but do not possess wings. As with all cockroach species the antennae are long, thin and whip like.
Life Cycle: The mated female produces 4 to 8 ootheca throughout her lifetime. These ootheca take 2 to 4 weeks to develop and the mature ootheca contain 30 to 40 eggs. They are carried by the female until just before the eggs hatch. The ootheca are normally deposited near a food source. Upon hatching the nymphs go through 5 to 7 moults before they reach adulthood, which takes around 2 to 6 months depending on the temperature and food supply. Adults can live for around 8 months.
Habitat: German cockroaches are generally found in warm, humid environments such as kitchens and bathrooms. They have excellent climbing ability and can easily climb rough or smooth vertical surfaces.
Appearance: The Oriental cockroach adult is 20 to 24 mm long, they are dark brown to nearly black in colour. The male wings cover 2 thirds of the abdomen and in the females, the wings are vestigial. The nymphs are smaller versions of the adults but do not possess wings. As with all cockroach species the antennae are long, thin and whip like.
Life cycle: The mated female produces 5 ootheca throughout her lifetime. These ootheca take 4 weeks to develop and the mature ootheca contain on average 16 eggs. They are cemented in place near a food supply and take 6 to 12 weeks to hatch. Upon hatching the nymphs go through 7 to 10 moults before they reach adulthood, which takes between 10 months and 2 years depending on the temperature and food supply. Adults can live for around 6 months.
Habitat: Oriental cockroaches can be found in less humid and cooler environments than the German cockroach, so can be found in drains, basements, waste holding areas etc. They are only able to climb rough vertical surfaces.
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