Cockroaches

Roaches, the most disgusted, fearsome insects that is hated by most of the people worldwide. Yet, these prehistoric insects are the most successful and cosmopolitan insects of all time. Due to human activities, cockroaches are able to proliferate almost all the continent in the Earth (except north and south pole). Cockroaches are generally detritus and scavenger, so they are not picky on the food that is offered to them; they feed on leftover food in dirty plates we left in the sink, cardboard piles that are stacked on the floor. They also known to feed on droppings, vomitus and dead body of their own kind.

Their dorsal-ventrally flatten body allow them to squeeze through a very narrow holes, cracks and crevices; They like that their back and belly to be touch with the wall surfaces. Crowded space of hoarded cardboard box, stacked newspaper, cracks and crevices are their favorite hiding and breeding place. They are nocturnal insects, they will be active during night or even so under dark condition. However, whenever the number of population has increased into an uncontrollable level, cockroach will start to venture out of their comfort zone, in which people may starts to see huge numbers come out during day time.

Why cockroaches are an issue

  1. Nuisance pest; cockroaches are considered filthy insects, and the environment infested with cockroaches has foul smell (cockroach smell). Katsaridaphobia is the term used to describe individual who are fear of cockroaches, i.e.: cockroach phobia.
  2. Source of food and medical supplies contamination; cockroaches live in filthy environment, such as sewage pipe, septic tanks, underneath your washing area, inside refuse bin etc. Plus, they defecate while feeding. Their droppings contain many disease-causing pathogens including Bacillus cereus that is responsible for diarrhoea.
  3. Source of allergens; Cockroaches shed skins constantly and can be source of allergen that cause asthma. Cockroaches droppings and dead bodies are found to trigger skin allergy in some people.
  4. Shorten food product shelves life; When cockroaches travel, their legs may carry fungus spores. As the cockroaches feed, moisture is usually produced. This further promotes food to rot and turns mouldy before the expiry date.
  5. Business revenue lost; Ministry of Health is taking sanitation and hygiene in food serving industry very serious. Premise that found to have infested with cockroaches will be compounded and therewith receive a 2 week-closure notice under Section 11 of the Food Act 1983.

How to control cockroaches?

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1. Residual Treatment

Spraying of insecticide creates chemical barrier that kills cockroaches as they crawl through. Insecticide will be sprayed at areas that cockroaches are usually found.

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2. Intensive cockroaches’ treatment

Intensive cockroaches’ treatment is a combination of residual spray and space treatment, which is used to bring down high cockroaches’ population. Space treatment (chemical misting) is used to flush out and kill cockroaches that hide in between hard-to-reach area, such as wall cracks, gaps in between kitchen cabinets and open store cabinet. Cockroaches will get knock down when the cockroaches get contacted with residual chemicals on the floor.

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3. Gel baiting

Gel baiting can be applied to reduce the number of cockroaches from the source, their nest. Cockroaches’ nymphs seldom forage away from their harbourage, so they usually feed on adult’s droppings for growth (coprophagy). Thorough inspection to locate cockroaches’ hideouts and deploying the gel bait for the cockroach to feed on, will give effective treatment result. When cockroaches feed on gel bait, some of the undigested insecticide in the bait will left inside the droppings. Other cockroaches that feed on the droppings will get killed.

It is an effective and food-preparation safe approach to control cockroaches, especially in sensitive area where residual spraying cannot be done.

Baiting must be complementary with up-keep of sanitation level. Baiting effectiveness are greatly reduced in poor sanitation premise. Poor hygiene provides alternative food to the cockroaches, hence reduce the chance of cockroaches to encounter the bait placed.

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4. Sanitation

Poor sanitation environment provides alternative food to the cockroaches, which allow cockroaches to breed uncontrollably. Cockroaches’ droppings and dead carcasses may attract cockroaches to gather and breed. Droppings and dead cockroaches may contaminate food and apparatus nearby. Besides, good sanitation is proven effective to enhance the performance of gel baiting treatment.

  • Never leave dirty plates in sink overnight; Tight up garbage and dispose into a lidded garbage bin.
  • Make sure that kitchen floor is clean; food, raw materials, grease and water should not be found on the floor.
  • Clean up cockroaches’ droppings and dead carcasses when it is found.

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5. Proofing & Maintenance

  • American cockroaches are usually breed and nest in septic tanks and drainage system. Drain hole should be properly covered with drain caps. The drain cap should be in good form (not dented). Replaced dented drain cap as soon as possible if it is found broken.
  • Do not hoard stuff such as old newspaper, carton boxes and egg cartons in storeroom. Cockroaches may breed and hide inside the mentioned area.
  • Make sure there is no holes, cracks and crevices on the wall. Patch up the holes to remove potential hiding place of cockroaches
  • Repair leaky pipe as these may provide the cockroaches the moisture needed to survive in your house.
  • Store raw materials in closed, clear container. Clear containers make its inside space unfavourable for cockroaches to hide.

American Cockroaches

Periplaneta americana

  • Dark brown in colour, pronotum (the part after the head) are clear brown colour with 2 dark brown patches.
  • Both female and male have wings; length measures around 3 to 4 cm – They hide and nest in sewage pipe, septic tanks, rubbish chute.
  • general feeder
  • adult cockroaches can live up to 10 months, can produce up to 90 egg case (oothecae) per lifetime. Each oothecae may contains up to 28 eggs.

German Cockroaches

Blattella germanica

  • Light creamy colour, pronotum (the part after the head) have 2 parallel, longitudinal dark brown bands.
  • Both female and male have wings; length measures around 1 to 1.5 cm
  • Female cockroach bears oothecae until the nymph (young) hatches.
  • They prefer warm and moist environment as breeding ground; They’re usually found in crack crevices of building, near heating system, in between the crevices of kitchen cabinets or inside coffee brewing machine. It may also infest old stacks newspaper and cardboard cartons
  • general feeder; but they prefer starchy food.
  • adult cockroaches can live up to 6 months, can produce up to 8 egg case (oothecae) per lifetime. Each oothecae may contains up to 48 eggs.

Brown-Banded Cockroaches

Supella longipalpa

  • Brown colour, 2 transverse light brown bands on the mesonotum.
  • Male have fully developed wing, female have partially developed wing;
  • hardcore cockroaches that can live in dry environment, such as bedroom, office, inside vehicle.
  • Prefer starchy food
  • adult cockroaches can live up to 4 months, can produce up to 5 egg case (oothecae) per lifetime. Each oothecae may contains up to 16 eggs.
  • The adult cockroach can glide (fly) when it is disturbed