How Do I Get Rid Of Roaches In My Houston Home?
Cockroach on a steel wool scrub.

How Do I Get Rid Of Roaches In My Houston Home?

A few weeks ago, many people paid a lot of money to watch horror movies on the big screen at local theatres; others spent a small fortune to be scared at a haunted house or maze. Many want to be scared, but only on their terms. You may not be the type of person who pays to be frightened, but if you were to do such a thing, no doubt you'd want to be scared on your terms, in a controlled environment, in a place where you know there is an escape. 

What we do not like is being scared when we least expect it. Perhaps you are reading this article because recently, you got up in the middle of the night and stumbled into the bathroom. You turned on the lights and were startled by cockroaches running for cover. You watched in horror as those filthy creatures scurried down the shower stall drain and under the cabinets. You cringe to think they are hiding underneath the bathroom towels you are using. When you return to bed, you feel they are crawling over you. Suddenly, your peaceful house seems more like a haunted house.

If cockroaches run rampant in your house, get the best pest control in Houston, Modern Pest Control. We have been eradicating cockroaches from local homes since 1952. No one stays in business for seven decades without doing the job right, and Modern Pest Control is no exception. Our independently-owned company fight roaches using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies to produce outstanding results and satisfied customers. To help you understand what you are battling in your house, continue reading to learn the answers to commonly asked questions. 

Does Seeing One Cockroach In My Home Mean I Have An Infestation?

It is unlikely that the one cockroach you spot is the only one in your Houston house. Of the 4,000 species worldwide, 55 are in the United States. Cockroaches in Houston include the following species: American, German, Oriental, Asian, smoky-brown, and brown-banded.

The most common cockroach in Houston homes is the German cockroach. This species grows from egg to adulthood in a mere 36 days. A single female German cockroach can produce six to eight egg capsules, or "ootheca," each containing 48 eggs during her 20 to 30-week lifespan. In one year, two generations will produce 10,000 cockroaches.

Second to the German cockroach in Houston homes is the American cockroach. Also called a palmetto bug, this reddish-brown cockroach measures up to two inches in length, making it the largest cockroach infesting Houston homes. Adult female American cockroaches live up to one year, and a single cockroach may produce up to 150 offspring. A few female roaches produce thousands of American cockroaches in a year.

The smoky-brown cockroach is 1 1/2 inches long and slightly smaller than the American cockroach. During its two to six-month lifespan, a female produces 18 egg capsules containing 12 to 24 eggs. 

Although not as prevalent in Houston homes, the shiny, black Oriental cockroach is smaller and not as fertile as the others. Still, a single female Oriental cockroach produces eight egg capsules containing up to 16 eggs during her brief lifetime of 34 to 180 days. 

Brown-banded cockroaches are the smallest cockroaches in Houston (about half an inch) but have a high reproduction rate. During the roughly 200-day lifespan, a female roach will produce 14 egg capsules containing 10 to 18 eggs. It only takes a couple of female cockroaches to cause explosive population growth in a short time.

Asian cockroaches are primarily in Texas, Florida, and a few other southeastern states. Although they were discovered in the United States as recently as 1986 in Lakeland, Florida, areas around Tampa report cockroach populations of 250,000 per acre! A female Asian cockroach produces four egg cases during her short 100-day lifespan, but each case contains dozens of eggs. 

Although all cockroach species reproduce rapidly, one cockroach does not necessarily indicate more are in your house. To determine if there is more than one cockroach in your Houston home, look for these signs of a cockroach infestation:

  • Pepper-like droppings: Although some confuse cockroach and mice droppings, you can distinguish the two by shape. Cockroach droppings have sharp ridges, while mice leave behind rod-shaped fecal matter. 

  • Dark-colored egg capsules: You will find the egg cases glued to surfaces in the laundry, basement, and behind appliances in the kitchen near food sources. 

  • Dank, musty smell: Male cockroaches produce a pheromone to attract and seduce female roaches. This odor is noticeable when a sizable amount of cockroaches infest an area.

  • Fecal stains: German cockroaches leave smears and dark spots in corners, tops of doors, or around cracks in walls.

  • Skins: Cockroaches leave behind their exoskeletons as they mature so they can grow. 

Investigate for signs of cockroaches in your home inside kitchen cabinets, drawers, underneath appliances, under countertops, in the garbage disposal, and inside the pantry. In the bathroom, search for proof around drains and in the cabinets. Investigate under furniture, between furniture cushions, and behind pictures in the bedrooms and living room. Look in the corners and high-moisture areas if you have a basement.

Is It Dangerous To Have Roaches In My House?

Every cockroach species is dangerous to your Houston home because they spread disease, trigger allergies, and may produce a debilitating fear. Let's talk about each of these harmful effects cockroaches cause Houston homeowners.

Cockroaches are filthy insects who feed on rotting garbage, animal feces, and organic, decomposing plant, animal, and human refuse in sewage systems. The surface of this kind of material is rife with bacteria, viruses, and parasitic worms. Cockroach legs have spines that attract the pathogens lying in these areas. After leaving their feeding zones, the disease-causing organisms on their bodies fall off and contaminate surfaces like kitchen countertops, cooking surfaces, kitchen drawers, and cabinets. Later, when food products, humans, or animals contact those areas, the pathogens transfer to the person, animal, or product and may cause potential harm. 

Cockroaches spread disease by urination, feces, and salivation. As they travel from their dirty food sources to their nests, they defecate constantly and pollute surfaces. When they chew on food products attempting to get food, they contaminate the packaging with their saliva. In summary, pathogens and continual defecation from cockroaches degrade exposed foods, surfaces, and products.

Cockroaches spread 33 different diseases, six parasitic worms, and seven types of human pathogens which include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Salmonellosis 

  • Typhoid fever

  • Cholera

  • Gastroenteritis

  • Dysentery

  • Listeriosis

  • Giardia

  • E. coli infection 

Disease symptoms range from nausea, diarrhea, dehydration, cramps, and vomiting to hospitalization. Roach control is necessary for keeping your family safe from exposure to these pathogens.

Cockroaches can trigger allergic reactions. When a person has an allergic reaction, it is because of exposure to an allergen. For many people, a protein contained in cockroach body parts, saliva, and waste is an allergen that triggers a response. Typical responses to the cockroach allergen are the same as a normal allergic reaction; sneezing, runny nose, itchy, red, or watery eyes, stuffy nose, itchy mouth, throat, or nose, postnasal drip, cough, and an itchy rash. 

However, in some cases, the cockroach allergen can trigger an asthma attack. When this happens, the reactions are more severe such as difficulty breathing, pain or tightness in the chest, wheezing when breathing out, coughing, and trouble sleeping due to these symptoms. 

Cockroaches present danger affecting an individual's physical health in the house, but they can also harm one's wellbeing. In some instances, cockroaches trigger a debilitating fear of cockroaches known as katsaridaphobia. Those with this fear may struggle to stay in the house and, to calm their fears, may resort to spraying dangerous chemicals throughout the home that endanger family members and pets. 

Why Do I Have Roaches In My House?

A common question people ask is, why are there cockroaches in my house? Although the common assumption is that cockroaches are present because the home is unsanitary is untrue in many cases. Cockroaches prefer to stay outdoors but enter homes when the temperature declines or weather conditions necessitate them to look for favorable conditions elsewhere.

Cockroaches enter homes seeking warmth. Cockroaches prefer temperatures over 70℉ and some, like the brown-banded cockroach, prefer temperatures higher than 80℉. Most cockroaches cannot reproduce when temperatures are below 40℉, and according to research, German cockroaches cannot survive in temperatures at this level. All cockroaches die once the air is 15℉ or colder unless they find shelter in a house, outdoor structure, under leaf piles, or deep into mulch. Since most people maintain a home temperature of 70℉ or higher, houses make the perfect shelter from cold weather. Once the roaches invade the house, the warm environment allows for uninhibited reproduction and a quick explosion in population size. 

Cockroaches invade homes in search of moisture. Since warmth is not usually a problem inside houses, the next stop for most roach species is to locate an area with high humidity. Ideal locations for American, German, smoky-brown, and Asian cockroaches include bathroom and kitchen drains, garbage disposals, leaky pipes, laundry rooms, basements, attics, and crawlspaces with poor ventilation. The brown-banded cockroach is the exception since it prefers dry and hot areas such as attics, upper kitchen cabinets, behind picture frames, and ceiling-mounted smoke and fire detectors. 

Most cockroaches like dark areas. Once inside a house, they will hide in cracks, crevices, and dark corners in secluded areas near food sources. However, unlike the American, German, Oriental, brown-banded, and smokey-brown cockroaches who run from light, Asian cockroaches fly towards light. In houses, Asian cockroaches land on porch lights, television screens, and lampshades. Asian cockroaches do not invade homes as much as the other species, but they will fly towards light emanating from your house and find a way inside to get to the light. 

Food attracts cockroaches into Houston houses. Initially, the roaches may enter a Houston home to escape cold temperatures. If they find open garbage cans, exposed pet food, unswept floors, uncleaned cooking areas, or dirty dishes left in the sink overnight, they will nest in a dark location near the food. Not all cockroaches have the same diet. For example, brown-banded cockroaches consume high-starch items such as glue, boxes, drapes, and book bindings in addition to rotting food sources. 

How Do I Get Rid Of Cockroaches In My House?

Cockroaches multiply quickly, so if you find a cockroach in your house, act fast and do the following before the population grows out of control:

  • Disinfect cooking and eating surfaces before and after each meal.
  • Clean dishes after each meal and store them away in cabinets.

  • Store all food products in sealable containers.

  • Remove pet food from dishes at night and store it in sealed containers.

  • Keep trash can lids closed at all times. 

  • Vacuum the floors and use a wand attachment to suction corners, cracks around baseboards, and crevices in furniture to remove the eggs.

  • Seal the foundation cracks with caulk.

  • Close the gaps between wiring and pipes entering the house with caulk and steel wool.

  • Repair holes in window and door screens.

  • Install door sweeps.

  • Remove cardboard clutter and stacks of old magazines.

  • Keep clothing picked up off the floor at night. 

  • Provide proper ventilation in the bathrooms, crawlspace, attic, and basement. 

  • Remove leaf and wood piles from the yard.

  • Prune shrubs and trees away from the house.

  • Store firewood 20 feet from the structure and elevate it to allow for ventilation. 

While these tactics will reduce the current cockroach population in your Houston house and prevent future infestation cockroaches, eliminating the current group of cockroaches requires the help of the cockroach pest control professionals from Modern Pest Control. 

When we inspect your Houston home, we will determine entry points, attractions, nesting locations, and the cockroach species infesting your house. Next, we will design a custom plan using proven Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies. With your approval, we will treat your home using environmentally safe and effective cockroach control products to ensure success. Contact us today and schedule your free inspection from our highly-trained and certified pest management technicians.

Share To: