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Rentokil offers advice from the experts on cockroach control

There are 3,500 different species of cockroach found worldwide, and about 10% of these are found in South Africa. The three species most commonly found in and around our homes are the German, American and Oriental cockroaches. Apart from being horrible to look at, it's now believed that after dust-mites, cockroaches are one of the top causes of asthma and other allergic reactions.

This is because cockroaches produce allergens which can aggravate asthma and cause allergic reactions in people with an allergen sensitivity. The allergens produced by cockroaches are concentrated in their faecal matter and in fragments of their body parts. These tiny particles become airborne and then stick to bigger particles, such as dust, which settles on surfaces and fabrics around the home. The most common way to inhale cockroach allergens is to breathe in dust that has collected in pillows, bedding or that is stirred up whilst vacuuming.

The most common symptoms of a cockroach allergy are rhinitis (inflammation of the nose), conjunctivitis (pink eye), urticaria (hives) and asthma. Not only do cockroach allergens trigger asthma and these allergic symptoms, researchers are exploring evidence that early exposure to cockroach allergen can actually cause asthma to develop in preschool aged children.1 Inhaling particles from cockroaches can cause coughing and wheezing in babies less than 12 months of age.2

Simple precautions can help prevent cockroaches at home and thus protect individuals who are sensitive to cockroach allergens. The experts at Rentokil offer the following tips to practice cockroach control at home: 

Prevent cockroaches from gaining entry:

  • Seal gaps around pipes to the outside or neighbouring properties
  • Fill up cracks and crevices in the walls, around skirting boards or behind electrical sockets.

Eliminate cockroaches' food and water supply

  • Store food in containers or in sealed plastic bags
  • Clean up all waste food and spillages immediately
  • Clean regularly under large kitchen appliances - such as the stove and fridge - as food may get trapped underneath.
  • Wash or clear-away used crockery and cutlery immediately
  • Remove pet food, water and litter trays overnight
  • Keep rubbish or compost in sealed bins
  • Do not leave liquids in sinks or buckets overnight.
  • Do not over water plants (to eliminate standing water in drip trays etc)

Learn more about other cockroach control tips you can implement to keep  them away.

Because a single female cockroach can produce up to 300 offspring in her lifetime and because cockroaches are notoriously resilient, it is essential to act swiftly when spotting even one cockroach inside your home. 

There are a number of D-I-Y cockroach control products available from supermarkets and hardware stores designed to deal with mild infestations, however it remains extremely difficult to reach all the places in which cockroaches may be hiding. This means that infestations are highly likely to reoccur when surviving eggs hatch after one or two months. For persistent infestations the help of a professional pest control technician is essential. The experts at Rentokil Pest Control use innovative and environmentally friendly products such as non-toxic insecticide dust to control cockroaches fast and effectively without jeopardising the safety of your family or pets. 


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