Usually the word ‘baby’ conjures up warm positive feelings, but when it comes to baby cockroaches there is nothing positive or appealing about them! In fact, quite the opposite – if you have discovered baby roaches in your home, you may be facing a serious pest infestation which needs to be dealt with as speedily as possible. Just as smoke usually means there’s a fire somewhere, so a baby roach means there’s a breeding colony somewhere nearby. If left unchecked the population can explode exponentially within a short period of time. This article will discuss everything you need to know about identifying the roaches, understanding what you are up against, and most importantly, what you can do to win the battle against cockroach babies.
What do Baby Roaches Look Like?
Besides being smaller in size than their adult counterparts, baby roaches are usually lighter in color. When the nymphs hatch out of the egg sacs they are white or light grey and they usually darken somewhat within a few hours. This can vary slightly between the different species. The two most common species you may encounter in your home are the American cockroach and the German cockroach. The main difference between an adult and a baby is that the adults have wings while the babies don’t. At first the babies are really tiny (as small as 3mm) so you may not immediately realize that they are indeed cockroaches. They tend to stay near the hatching area, in dark corners of your kitchen or laundry where they can find warmth, shelter and food.
How soon will they be able to reproduce?
As the babies grow they will go through stages of molting in which they must shed their outer shells in order to expand. Usually a baby will shed its shell about six or seven times before becoming an adult and this can take from two to three months, depending on the species and the temperature of the environment. Adult female cockroaches release pheromones to attract males, and after mating the female produces an egg sac or pouch which is also called an ootheca. Each of these pouches can produce up to sixteen babies, at a rate of one or two pouches per week. American cockroaches can live up to about eighteen months, while reproducing hundreds of offspring which in turn begin to reproduce themselves. German cockroaches are more prolific than their American counterparts and they can lay up to fifty eggs at a time.
What are the health risks of having roaches in your home?
Both baby and adult cockroaches can carry viruses and bacteria which could cause diseases such as dysentery and diarrhea. They can also affect those who suffer from respiratory conditions such as asthma and allergies. If you have baby roaches in your home you may find that your eyes become itchy and watery and you are coughing and sneezing more than usual. This can be caused by the molted shells which the baby cockroaches tend to leave lying around your home in numbers as they go through their stages of molting. The only lasting and healthy solution is to get rid of the roaches completely.
How Can You Get Rid of Cockroach Babies?
The most obvious method of attack would be to kill all those you see scurrying about your home, and this is good, but it may not bring lasting relief. Often a multi-pronged approach is required in order to penetrate the breeding grounds and effectively deal with the infestation at its source. So here are several pointers which you may find helpful in eradicating baby cockroaches (as well as adults) from your living space.
Prepare your home for war!
The first step to take once you have declared war on your resident baby roaches is to make sure that your home is no longer a pleasant place for them to live. Start with the following three areas:
- Seal up any holes and cracks. Go through your home carefully and identify any entry points where the cockroaches could be coming in. These may include baseboards, floors and walls, interior pipes or decks, porches and steps. Now use a sealant such as caulk or spray foam to block up those holes and cracks.
- Don’t leave water standing around. Like humans, cockroaches need water to survive, so they will gravitate towards any standing water available. This may be as innocent as the pets’ water bowl, or the dishwater you left in the sink. Also check that there are no leaking faucets which may be inadvertently supplying the roaches with water.
- Keep your home clean. Cockroaches are particularly interested in any food sources, so never leave food out in the open – put all leftovers away. Be careful to wipe off your kitchen working surfaces, and don’t leave dirty dishes unwashed. Scrape off uneaten food into the garbage and empty the trash regularly. Be particularly vigilant about cleaning behind appliances such as the refrigerator, stove and toaster as this is where food particles and crumbs can tend to accumulate.
Use insect growth regulators (IGR’s)
Using an IGR (I like to use and recommend Gentrol) will not kill the cockroaches outright, but it will ensure that they do not reach maturity and start breeding, thus compounding your problem. Insect growth regulators are critical to putting a stop to the explosion in roach populations. Unfortunately, it is a very little known secret and many people who try to tackle their own roach infestation fail because they don’t know how to use IGRs. Don’t make that mistake. Don’t skip this step at all.
IGRs is a very effective preventative measure to take when you first spot the cockroach baby in your home. Before you start implementing any of the other methods, get yourself some IGRs first.. The way an insect growth regulator works is that it provides imitation juvenile hormones which prevent the cockroach babies from molting and becoming adults.
Use roach traps
The next step you could take is to set some roach traps such as glue traps. There are some roach specific traps, but I’ve found the generic insect traps to work just as well, and they are much cheaper in terms of cost per trap. The ones, I use are the Trapper Insect Traps. This would help you to ascertain the exact location of the roaches in your home, and then you could identify possible breeding areas to target for further extermination.
Get some borax
This simple household cleaner can be sprinkled wherever the roaches are likely to be, under appliances and kitchen counters. It has the effect of drying out the exoskeleton of the cockroach so that it dies from dehydration. As the roach returns to its nest it will carry the powder on to other roaches which will also then be effectively eliminated.
Grab boric acid
Boric Acid is even more toxic to roaches than Borax and is also an effective solution. For quick and easy application, I just buy the boric acid bottles by Harris–which are bottled, and labeled specifically for ants, roaches, and other insects. If you mix the boric acid with a little sugar, the cockroaches will be attracted to the area in greater numbers. Be sure to keep the acid out of reach of children and pets, and be vigilant about cleaning up the dead roaches every morning.
Hire a professional exterminator
If you have a heavy and persistent infestation it is always advisable to call in the professionals. They will have the knowledge and experience to accurately assess your particular needs and the extent of the problem. Most professional exterminators would use chemicals or poisons, baits and traps to get rid of your roaches once and for all.
So if you are battling against baby cockroaches in your living area, take heart because with one or more of these tried and tested methods you are sure to win the battle. There’s no need to share your home with roaches, even if they are babies. Get rid of them as soon as possible and you can relax and enjoy a pest free home as it should be.