By Peta Florus
What is it about cockroaches that give us the heebie jeebies?
Is it those revolting feelers that twitch all the time, or is it the fact that they just sit there like their feet are stuck to the wall or maybe it’s the fact that they dart off at the slightest movement you make. Whatever the reason, it freaks me out.
My attempts of banishing the Bush Cockroach
I live in a leafy suburb of Cape Town and recently these critters have been invading my space. When I say invading, I really mean invading … I find at least one or two in my house every day. Not doing much; just stuck to the wall, waiting to shock the living daylights out of me.
My first reaction is to empty a can of insecticide (I’m on my third can for the week and its becoming a costly exercise) directly onto the critter until it drops to the floor with its legs wiggling in the air … and then I run like crazy just in case it’s not actually dead and decides to take revenge by flying into my hair.
Since this situation is clearly out of control and my DIY pest control approach isn’t proving successful, I have decided to call in some help from the experts at Rentokil.
What the Expert says about the Bush Cockroach
The Rentokil man tells me that these specific cockroaches are Deropeltis erythrocephala; commonly known as ‘the bush cockroach’ and they are completely harmless. In fact, they are hailed as an environmentally friendly pest… yeah right! The key word for me is ‘pest’.
Our expert also tells me that there is a distinct difference between the male and female of the species. Males are black and long-winged, and females are roundish in shape and wingless. These cockroaches are very common in gardens or vegetated areas, living under stones or dry tree trunks and feed on vegetation (so nothing to do with the half eaten sandwich left on the counter from last night!). They’ve ventured inside as the area outside has become a bit damp and they prefer dry areas.
The bush cockroach is a seasonal pest, and is common around this time of year (September). We all love spring and can’t wait to get out and go adventuring, but my message to roaches of all kinds is: consider yourselves uninvited at all times, because from my point of view a cockroach is a cockroach, no matter what name you give it! You can call it an American or German or even Oriental, it’s still a cockroach and they have no place in my home.
Helpful Cockroach Prevention Tips
“So what to do if the extended family decides to come too? How will I keep the cockroach country cousins at bay?” I ask the Rentokil man. In the unlikely event of this happening, he suggests I consult the Rentokil website for tips on how to get rid of cockroaches. There are pictures for easy identification of the cockroach you may have encountered, and helpful tips to keep them out such as:
- Be sure to keep any left overs in containers (and not lying on the kitchen counter like I did! Fortunately the bush cockroach wasn’t interested, but if it were any other cockroach species, I’d be inviting an invasion!)
- Don’t leave any water in the sink and clean any spillages as this also attracts cockroaches.
- Take out the garbage regularly, and ensure the lids of the rubbish bins are tightly sealed.
- Cockroaches seek shelter in undisturbed areas, such as piles of magazines or stacks of cardboard. Since ‘tis the spring season, why not start spring cleaning to de-clutter areas that might seem welcoming to these critters?
I’m glad that I found out that the bush cockroach isn’t here to stay, and by practicing the above cockroach prevention tips, I know that I won’t have any uninvited house guests crawling around. Rentokil man – 1 Bushies – 0. For next season, ‘Bushies’ beware, I have the Rentokil