Cockroaches are resilient insects that can crawl, fly, and float. Over the years, they’ve become resistant to pesticides, making them difficult to remove from your home. Sadly, about 30 percent of homes in Austin already have roaches living in them.
These versatile pests can damage household items and pose a health risk to your family,
especially if they build a nest, reach the adult stage, and start laying eggs. Once they move in, they can be difficult to remove. Preventing a roach infestation allows you to avoid all the headaches associated with these pests.
Common Cockroaches in Austin, TX
Of the 4,500 cockroach species worldwide, 55 live in the United States. The most common in Austin are German cockroaches, brown-banded cockroaches, and American cockroaches.
American cockroaches are the largest, growing up to three inches long. Many people call them palmetto bugs. They live in sewers and other filthy places, making them major disease spreaders. These pests are dark brown with a yellow band behind their heads. American cockroaches can fly, but you won’t see them do so often.
German cockroaches are a smaller species. They are only about a half-inch in length. They are easy to identify by the two stripes that run down their backs. German roaches have wings, but they run rather than fly. They like humid temperatures and prefer to eat starchy things like glue, wood, and book bindings.
Brown-banded cockroaches are slightly smaller than German cockroaches. They are light brown with darker brown bands on their wings. They like dry spaces, such as cupboards, and tend to be active at night.
Cockroach Dangers and Problems
Cockroaches do not attack humans or bite them. The danger they present comes from destroying property and spreading disease. As they walk over sewage and garbage, they pick up bacteria. They then spread that bacteria into food preparation areas.
When people eat food prepared in contaminated areas, they can develop serious gastrointestinal problems that result in fevers, diarrhea, and more. Roaches spread diseases like dysentery, salmonellosis, and giardia. They also carry viruses, tapeworms, and roundworms.
Cockroaches also ruin household items made of paper, fabric, and glue. They nibble on them and discolor them with their droppings.
Along with spreading diseases, cockroaches trigger asthma attacks and allergy symptoms. Their skins and droppings are a common allergen, especially for children.
How Do Cockroaches Get Into Austin Homes?
Like all household pests, roaches enter looking for shelter, water, and food. They enter under doors, through window screens, and cracks in foundations. Electrical wires and utility pipes also provide entry points.
Homeowners can accidentally bring roaches into their homes on boxes, used furniture, grocery bags, and used clothing.
Where Can I Find Cockroaches?
Ideally, most cockroaches live outside in humid and secluded spaces. Brown-banded roaches are the exception, preferring dry heat. When outdoors, they live in trees, compost piles, under rocks and mulch, and near trash bins.
If they get into your house, they build their nests in basements, especially under piles of newspapers or old boxes. They also move into cupboards and cabinets. You might also see them in laundry rooms or under kitchen appliances.
Preventing Cockroaches From Getting Into Your Austin Home
Take the following steps in and around your home to limit cockroaches.
- Remove standing water from your sidewalks, garages, and potted plants.
- Seal cracks and crevices around your foundation using caulk or sealants.
- Install weather-stripping and door sweeps.
- Use dehumidifiers to reduce moisture in your home.
- Clean your gutters.
- Clean under and behind your appliances.
- Keep pet food in airtight containers.
- Store leftovers in your refrigerator.
- Clean pet food bowls every day.
- Do not store boxes or newspapers in your home.
- Keep your exterior trash bins out of your garage and away from your entryways.
- Declutter and vacuum weekly.
- Clean any grease from your indoor and outdoor food-prep areas.
- Install thin polyethylene sheeting in your crawl space to reduce moisture.
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