Cockroaches move inside during cooler weather to find warmth, food, and water. Unfortunately, once they’ve set up house in your house, it can be difficult to get rid of their growing population. It’s important, however, to take steps to get them under control: What seems to be normal winter cold or spring allergy symptoms may actually be triggered by cockroaches in your home. As they move around your house, they leave allergens in their wake, including body parts, droppings, and saliva, which can exacerbate allergy and asthma symptoms. They also can transmit more than 30 types of bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli.
In addition to having regularly scheduled professional pest control, which can eliminate existing populations and prevent new infestations, there are a number of things you can do to protect your home:
Keep a tidy kitchen: Every Floridian has experienced heading to the kitchen for a midnight snack and finding cockroaches that had the same idea. Even if you don’t see them during the day, they can be raiding your kitchen at night as they look for crumbs and moisture. Meticulously cleaning your counters, sinks, and appliances is key to preventing roaches. Clean up every crumb and spill, and regularly clean cabinet interiors with soap and water, and don’t leave pet food in bowls overnight.
Store food carefully: Cockroaches will easily find their way into boxed foods such as cereal or loosely closed bags. Use food-safe containers with tightly sealing lids, and check those bags and boxes in the back of your pantry.
Remove water sources: In the bathroom and the kitchen, even drops of standing water are enticing to roaches. Wipe kitchen counters dry, empty your pet’s water bowl, and keep paper towels handy in your bathrooms to dry sinks and tubs before bedtime. Check your home for leaky faucets, too.
Seal up entry points: Check around doors and windows for worn weather stripping, and seal cracks and crevices with steel wool and/or caulk.
According to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, there are nearly 70 different cockroach species in the U.S., with seven of these being very common in Florida. It also recommends contracting with a professional pest control operator, who will have the training, equipment, and products to do a thorough job.