With over 300 million years in the making, the Cockroach represents one of nature’s true success stories. This remarkable little insect not only has survived all this time, but it hasn’t needed to evolve much from its original design. A key part of its success is its primitive makeup and their ability to quickly adapt to an ever changing environment. Other species from that time couldn’t adapt quickly enough and became extinct, while the cockroach continued to thrive to this very day.
In Australia, none of the 400 native species of cockroaches are considered serious pests. For the most part they are happy living outside in the garden and only occasionally stumble into our homes. It’s the introduced cockroaches that are considered pests in Australia and of those cockroaches introduced only the German, American and Oriental cockroaches have truly made their mark.
These scavenging and survival experts have the ability to make some people run in fear at the mere sight of their shiny exoskeleton darting from one dark corner to another dark corner but there are things you can do to help avoid getting an infestation.
All animals need food, shelter and warmth to survive and breed, so by removing the availability of these you can reduce the chances of getting an infestation. Clean up spilt food and regularly clear refuse as this can provide plenty of food availability for all types of pests – especially as most human food is high in sugar and fats. Cockroaches do not need much in the way of spilt food or refuse to live and breed a family.
Dog and cat food is nearly always left on the floor all day and night where it is easily accessed by foraging cockroaches. Much like our food, it is high in proteins and vitamins and therefore is ideal for supporting cockroach infestations.
The boom in cash ‘n’ carry stores has caused an increase in the number of households who stockpile soft packaged foods like large sacks of rice, cereal boxes, biscuits, crisps, dog biscuits etc. to take advantage of the cheaper prices. The soft packaging allows these stockpiled foodstuffs to be easily accessed by foraging cockroaches and quite often the infestation will go un-noticed for weeks due to the slow turnover of ‘stock’.
Why are cockroaches a bad thing? One of the main reason is they spread germs. You only have to look where they inhabit, dark and dirty areas of a home, they love nothing more than rummaging in refuse and then traipsing these germs over any surface that they run across causing Salmonella, E. Coli etc. Cockroaches also constantly defecate leaving behind a trail of waste.