Cockroaches are common and hardy insects, and can tolerate a wide range of environments from Arctic cold to tropical heat. They date back to 320 million years ago.

Appearance, life cycle and habits

Tropical cockroaches are often much bigger than temperate species. They are often depicted as dirty pests, though the great majority of species are inoffensive and live in a wide range of habitats around the world.

Useful tips on cockroaches

Like most animals, cockroaches need food, water and shelter, which they find in most houses and buildings where humans live and work.

The following preventative measures are recommended:

  • Eliminate food and water sources. This is achieved by implementing clean-up procedures at the end of each day so that food is not available at night when cockroaches are active
  • Use vacuum cleaners to remove food waste from floors and cupboards in kitchens. Wiping may leave residues in cracks
  • Keep garbage in sealed containers prior to collection
  • Store food in sealed containers and in refrigerators to reduce accessibility by cockroaches
  • Heat-treat appropriate food articles in a microwave to kill egg cases before storage in the kitchen
  • Regularly inspect the motors of washing machines and refrigerators, electronic controls of microwave ovens, stoves and computers as cockroaches are attracted to warmth and can damage equipment. This may help avoid expensive repairs
  • Fill in cracks and crevices in walls and cupboards to prevent cockroach access
  • Inspect roof cavities as this can often locate populations of otherwise undetected smoky-brown and American cockroaches

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