Why do I have roaches?

By Chris Williams on May 10, 2013.

German cockroach apartments homesHere is a podcast from our expert Zack Ciras answering why your home or apartment could have cockroaches and a safe way to get rid of them.


If you have the big old brown suckers or the good size black ones, usually basement-level laundry room of an apartment building, a lot of areas where pipes are connected to each other. In hospitals and big buildings and cities, you’ll see a lot more of the American and the Orientals.

What we want to talk about is the German cockroach. The German cockroach will infest your cabinetry, your bathroom. Underneath your sink is a really hot spot for them.

They’re looking for food, they’re looking for water, and they’re looking for heat. The heat comes from the hot water pipes around the dishwasher. The motor for the dishwasher gets really warm.

Water, obviously around the pipes and the openings. The bathroom and kitchen, again, are very common spots for these cockroaches to be.

Food. If you have a lot of grease, if you cook a lot of pan-fried foods, there might be grease splatters on the wall. Cockroaches need a lot to eat.

Where they come in from is usually on some produce if you go to a store, bring in a bag of apples or bananas or something. Especially if you go to the smaller specialty stores, the bodegas, where you have your plantains and all the specialty items you have, the sanitation there might not be as good as at the bigger supermarkets. With the produce that you’re bringing in, you’re more likely to bring in the German cockroach to your home.

Interviewer: Is it safe to treat for roaches?

Zack: Treating for roaches is safer than it’s ever been. We still some use some contact chemicals, Some pesticides that are more traditional pesticides that might pose some harm if used incorrectly. Of course, we use them correctly.

The main feature of our program for roach control is baiting. We use the safest baits. You could eat the whole tube and it wouldn’t hurt you.

One of the baits that we use has a chemical compound that’s so tightly bound together, like a long chain starch in a potato, where until it’s broken down, it’s harmless. Now, what breaks it down? The enzymes of the insects, of the roaches, will actually break down this long chain, which is harmless to us, into this more volatile product that will target just the roaches.

Where we place these baits and these chemicals is, again, pinpointing where they are, finding the little cracks and crevices under the sink, around the cabinets where the areas of activity are more concentrated.

Roaches engage in the behavior called trophylaxis. It’s not something nice to talk about, but it’s basically vomit, droppings, excrement and eating each others’ dead bodies. That’s what helps us pass the chemicals along for the roaches and keeps them out of our system.



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