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The Basics
Suggested Organic Strategies:
  • Use traps to identify where the cockroaches are hiding and reduce numbers.
  • You can also reduce cockroach numbers by storing food in airtight containers, sweeping floors regularly, storing rubbish in well-sealed bins and fixing leaking taps.
  • Use a caulking gun to fill cracks and crevices.
  • Install door and window screens.

Organic Strategies for Cockroach Control Frances Michaels

Australia has many species of cockroaches, some of which are native and cause no problems. The German, American, Australian, Smoky Brown and Oriental cockroaches are considered pests because they live indoors. Cockroaches have not yet been proven to be involved in the transmission of disease, but the potential definitely exists. Most cockroach species live for 3 to 12 months and take only 6 weeks to reach adulthood. Depending on the species each female can lay 13 to 50 egg cases, each containing between 16 to 40 eggs.

General Strategies:
The key to long-term cockroach management is reduction of sources of food; water and the shelter cockroaches need to survive. Spraying of insecticides is a potentially toxic and short-term measure.

Indirect Strategies:
Proper Storage of Food
Food should be kept in tightly closed containers that are unable to be chewed by cockroaches. Cardboard boxes should not be considered cockroach-proof. Sealing food containers will also reduce any health risk associated with cockroaches. Any pet food should not be left out overnight. If necessary place it in a bowl of soapy water to prevent cockroach access.
Storage of Organic Waste
Compost buckets need to have tight fitting lids; this also reduces fly and ant problems. Bottles, cans and wrappings that have food particles clinging to them should be washed out before storage for recycling.
Screening for Vents and Windows
This is especially important in high-rise buildings and home units, as unscreened vents and windows allow the cockroaches to crawl from one apartment to another. Place door seals on the bottom of doors to ensure that cockroaches cannot enter. Eucalyptus oil can be used to repel them.
Habitat Modification
Fix dripping taps and leaking pipes, as cockroaches need water and humidity to survive. Try to remove unnecessary containers of water, such as trays under pot plants as these will also breed mosquitoes.
A vacuum cleaner is useful to remove crumbs from corners and cracks in the floor, as well as inside cupboards. It will also suck up egg cases. The dust inside the vacuum cleaner blocking their breathing apparatus will kill most cockroaches. Regularly 'spring cleaning' behind stoves and fridges, to remove accumulated grease is important. When there isn't time to wash the dishes, submerge them in soapy water.
Sealing Cracks
Cockroaches can hide in cracks only 1.5mm wide. Seal as many cracks as possible, paying particular attention to areas that the trapping program has highlighted.

Direct Strategies:
Chemical Controls
Many conventional insecticides are ineffective against cockroaches. There are two main reasons for this. Sometimes the chemicals used are repellent to cockroaches, so they escape its effects by moving away from it into wall cavities for a few days. The second reason is that cockroaches have developed resistance to many insecticides. If you make the permanent changes to the cockroach environment outlined above, you are more likely to get the results you want when you do use an insecticide. There are three types of least-toxic chemical controls available: insecticidal dusts, insecticidal baits and insect growth regulators. An important factor to bear in mind about these materials is that they take a week or longer to kill large numbers of cockroaches.

Cockroach Traps
Buzz cockroach traps are an important monitoring tool, allowing you to identify the extent and location of the problem. Traps should be placed in drawers, cupboards, under sinks and stoves and behind fridges. Cockroaches prefer to move along walls rather than out in the open, so you need to place traps accordingly. Traps are useful in several ways:
  • determining the areas with the worst problem
  • confirming whether your management strategies or chemical controls are working
  • with small infestations they can help to control numbers
Suggested Products:
Diatomaceous Earth
Orange Guard Crawling Insect Spray
Buzz Cockroach Traps

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