Cockroaches are one of the oldest inhabitants of the earth and have been around since the time of dinosaurs. They evolved a lot to adapt themselves to the changing conditions on the earth’s surface. Studies have shown that there are approximately 4000 species of cockroaches living on earth.
Cockroaches generally thrive in a warm environment and that is the main reason why we find them inside buildings. They live in places close to water and food and has a lifespan of 1month to 3 years depending on the species.
Types of cockroaches common to Malaysia
· German Cockroach: These are cockroaches found mainly in hotels and apartments. They are yellowish brown in color and is about 10-15mm in length. They need dark and secluded areas to survive like behind the refrigerator and under cupboards. This type of cockroaches has a lifespan of more than 100 days.
· American Cockroach: American cockroach survives in a warm and humid area like drains and sewers. They are shining red in color and is 35-40 mm in length. This is considered to be the largest species of cockroach. The lifespan of American cockroach is 100 days to 3 years.
· Brown banded Cockroach: With an average length of 10-14 mm, this cockroach has yellow- brown stripes across its abdomen. Just like American cockroach, the brown banded cockroach also prefers warm and damp areas like a drain. The average lifespan of this cockroach is 90-115 days.
· Australian Cockroach: This type of cockroach is found in homes and around buildings. They are brown in color with a pale yellow stripe on its forewing. An adult cockroach is 27-33mm long and lives for 120-180 days.
Ways cockroaches can affect your health
Having cockroaches in your home and office can pose the following health problems
· Contaminate the food: Cockroaches feed on everything from dead plants to soap, glue and even fecal matter. Thus, if you leave your food uncovered, cockroaches might crawl and defecate on it thus contaminating the food. Sometimes, it even leaves its hair and dead skin on the food items.
· Skin allergy: The saliva and body parts of cockroaches carry hundreds of allergens. This can cause skin rashes, irritation and watery eyes.
· Asthma: As mentioned earlier, the allergens in the body of cockroaches can trigger sneezing which can be dangerous for Asthma patients. Even if you are not asthmatic, you can develop cockroach asthma if you inhale the allergens.
· Small wounds: Some species of cockroach nibble on fingertips and other soft parts of the body thus creating a wound. Small cockroaches can even enter your nostrils and ear while you sleep thus posing a health hazard.
How to get rid of them the natural way?
Even though a lot of disinfecting solutions are available in the market to get rid of cockroaches, it is advisable to make use of natural products to face the cockroach menace. Below are few of the natural products you can use to get rid of cockroaches
· Bay leaves: Cockroaches naturally resist the smell of bay leaf and as such does not come to places where they are kept. Place a bunch of bay leaves on the kitchen cupboard, near the drain hole or any other place where they are likely to thrive. You can even keep few leaves inside the wardrobe.
· Peppermint Oil: Mix 10 drops of peppermint oil with water and spray it in areas where the cockroaches are likely to move. You can also wipe kitchen countertop with this solution. The strong smell of the peppermint keeps cockroaches away.
· Cedar: This is yet another effective product to get rid of cockroaches. Place cedar blocks, balls or chips inside the cupboard or closet to keep those pesky little creatures from creating trouble.
· Lemon: Lemon has the power to keep all disease causing organisms at bay. Mix the water you use for moping the floor with lemon juice. Similarly, clean the kitchen counter top and bathroom cabinets with a mixture of water and lemon juice. This not only keeps the cockroaches away but also provides a refreshing smell to the room.
· Pepper, garlic and onion: The pungent smell of garlic and onion has the power to keep cockroaches at bay. Mix one tablespoon of pepper, half a piece of onion and one clove of garlic and mash it nicely. Add this to a liter of water along with dish soap. Spray it in places where cockroaches move around. It can even be used for moping the floor if you can bear with the raw smell.
· Cucumber: Cucumber also has the power to keep cockroaches away. Leave few slices of cucumber near sink holes or drains to ward off cockroaches.
· Coffee trap: This method is used to kill cockroaches. Fill the bottom of a small jar with ground coffee. Place it inside a large jar filled with water. The strong smell of the coffee attracts the cockroach which eventually drowns in the water kept in the large jar.
As the saying goes “Prevention is better than cure”. You should keep your house, especially warm and damp areas like kitchen and bathroom, clean so that cockroaches do not enter. Clearing garbage regularly and closing all small holes in the wall goes a long way in preventing cockroach infestation in your house.