Why are Cockroaches So Hard to Kill


That old adage suggests that when the apocalypse happens, the only thing left on the planet will be cockroaches and Twinkies.

But why are cockroaches so hard to kill, exactly?

With an exoskeleton of overlapping plates connected via a stretchy membrane, their bodies are extremely flexible and their legs are fast making cockroaches hard to kill. Their speed allows them to squeeze into the tiniest cracks and crevices and to crawl away quickly as soon as a foe is detected. 

Any homeowner that has ever tangled with one of these nasty pests knows the challenge that comes with making sure a cockroach is actually dead. You can stomp on these little buggers, whack them with a broom or even spray them, and they’ll just keep on scurrying.

However, there’s also the upsetting fact that cockroaches are harder to kill on a larger scale; as far as species of bugs go, they can survive in a range of settings and scenarios, making it extremely difficult to get rid of a roach infestation without the assistance of an experienced professional.

We will now dive deeper into why cockroaches are hard to kill.

How Cockroaches Can Survive Almost Anything

Over millions of years, cockroaches have evolved to become some of the toughest insects. Their thick exterior provides a high level of protection—hence why you aren’t usually able to kill a cockroach just by stepping on it once. Cockroaches are masters when it comes to hiding, too. Once again, you can see how evolution has resulted in giving these insects an exterior coloring that easily allows them to blend in. And unlike many pests, cockroaches aren’t deterred by differences in climate and landscape. They can thrive in a range of temperatures and environments. Plus if of all that didn’t make them tricky enough to kill, they have an amazing sense of taste and smell, and are able to survive by sustaining on protein and nutrients found in materials like cardboard and paper.

All of this adds up to a single conclusion: the best way to deal with a cockroach infestation is to avoid having one in the first place. Fortunately, there are multiple things you can do to keep these disgusting bugs out of your home. You should start reinforcing the perimeter of your property, sealing up cracks and holes wherever possible and trying to barricade entry points. These efforts will only go so far, as cockroaches can squeeze into the smallest of spaces, however, simply weather-stripping doors and windows, putting screens and seals on sewer and drain vents, and closing gaps around utility lines can go surprisingly far in deterring roaches from entering your house.

Even more important than protecting your perimeter, however, is ensuring proper sanitation and food storage. Dirty, messy environments are basically an open invitation for cockroaches and other pests, which is yet another reason it’s so important to clean your surfaces regularly. You should always wipe down spills in your kitchen and remove crumbs and other food remnants from surfaces. You should also never leave open food out, sealing and refrigerating leftovers as much as possible, throwing away spoiled food ASAP, and never storing snacks in places you are likely to forget about them. And don’t forget about your pets, either. It is important to keep the area around your animals food/water clean, and to put their dishes away every night, assuming they do not eat outside.

“But what if I’ve already started to notice cockroaches in my house/apartment?”, you may be asking. If it’s already come to this, make sure you know…

Preventing Cockroaches: What Smell Keeps Cockroaches Away?

Citrus scents are deterrents for roaches, a smell humans enjoy. Cooking deterrents for cockroaches include cinnamon, bay leaves, garlic, peppermint, and coffee grounds. Bleach or vinegar are great disinfectants that have a strong smell. Eucalyptus and tea tree oils work best as scent-based deterrents.

Why Cockroaches Are More Prevalent in Winter

Just like you rely on your heater to provide you with warmth and protection from the snow and freezing cold Midwestern winters, cockroaches seek warmth and protection too. Your property offers the perfect shelter for cockroaches during the winter because it contains all the resources they need to survive—a cozy place to hide and food.

What You Can Do to Prevent an Infestation

Because cockroaches are attracted to your home due to the comforts it provides them, the best thing you can do to prevent an infestation is reduce any access to food sources or warm hiding spots.

Our experienced Ann Arbor and Toledo roach control technicians recommend that you:

  • Ensure that all the food in your pantry is sealed tightly—we recommend using glass containers with tight fitting lids
  • Ensure that your pantry is kept tidy and there aren’t any food crumbs or spilled contents
  • Make sure that all your appliances are kept thoroughly cleaned—this includes your oven, toaster, microwave, and the hard to reach areas around your refrigerator and stove
  • Thoroughly wash all dishes that contained pet food and never leave them to sit overnight
  • Wipe down all surfaces in your kitchen after you cook and eat a meal
  • Store your dishes and cookware upside down so it’s more difficult for cockroaches to hide within them and lay eggs
  • Vacuum and sweep regularly to ensure that you thoroughly dispose of any crumbs or food remnants
  • Either take your trash and/or compost out every night or ensure that your bins are sealed tightly enough
  • Ensure that there are no cracks between your cabinets, in your floors and walls, or around your pipes and cables so it’s more difficult for any roaches to enter your home in the first place
  • Try to eliminate any clutter within your home, as this attracts roaches
  • Plug all the drains in your sinks and tubs when they’re not in use so cockroaches can’t crawl up them to enter your home

3 Effective Ways to Kill Cockroaches

To reiterate, there is no “easy” way to get rid of a cockroach infestation. However, there are a few simple steps you can take to limit the scope of a cockroach problem before it gets out of control.

To get rid of cockroaches in your home, make sure to:

  1. Identify the Species of Cockroach: The more you know about the roaches in your home, the better prepared you will be to get rid of them. For instance, the German cockroach, which is the species most likely to invade residential spaces, is always drawn towards food. As a result, if you spot a German cockroach in your house, you will want to pay extra attention to your kitchen habits, removing food sources wherever possible and taking special care to wipe down surfaces and eliminate grease build-up.
  2. Put Down Glue Traps: The easiest kind of device on the market you can use to get rid of cockroaches are glue traps. No matter how fast a roach can run, there is nothing it can do once it gets stuck in one of these sticky little prisons. Just make sure that when putting down glue traps, you focus on areas where roaches are most likely to appear, such as the corners of your kitchen and near drain openings.
  3. Contact an Exterminator: The sooner you call professionals like our licensed team members at Frame’s Pest Control, the sooner you will be able to eliminate a cockroach infestation. As hard to kill as these bugs are, our expert exterminators are highly effective when it comes to sniffing out cockroach hiding places and using specialized equipment and bait to kill as many of these insects as possible. In addition to treatment, we can also provide solutions for long-term exclusion, so you have a better chance of avoiding a cockroach infestation in the future.

To learn more about how to get rid of cockroaches or to schedule service, call Frame’s Pest Control today at (419) 495-8283, or click here to contact us online.

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