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What to do in case of a cockroach infestation.

Coarkroaches in a kitchen.

An infestation of cockroaches can quickly get out of control and cause health problems. These small harmful insects, of the order or suborder Blattodea or Blattaria, got their English name from the Spanish name cucaracha in the early 1600s. They are known for their ability to infiltrate homes and reproduce extremely fast.

Learn how to recognize the cockroach in order to act quickly should you notice any sign of their presence. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced exterminator.

What do the cockroaches in Québec look like?

There are thousands of species of cockroaches worldwide, but only about a dozen are found in this province. One of the most frequently found species of cockroaches in Québec is the German cockroach.

The adult cockroach measures between less than 1/2″ to 2″ long, depending on the species. However, the German cockroach measures 1/2″ to 5/8″ long. It has an oval-shaped body and long antennae (or feelers). Its colour varies from light brown to dark brown or almost black.

Even though it has wings, the cockroach can’t fly. It is no less quick and agile. It has no trouble sneaking into tiny cracks!

Insects that look like the German cockroach

The German cockroach can sometimes be confused with other species of cockroach, like the larger American cockroach, but also with other insects. So it’s important to correctly identify the problematic insect in order to apply the appropriate measures.

For example, some species of beetles and bugs can resemble cockroaches.

To distinguish between a cockroach and other insects, take note of its size, its colour and its antennae (feelers).

Photos of cockroaches

A dead coarkroach.


How do cockroaches come into our homes?

Cockroaches often infiltrate buildings by unexpected means.

Cracks in walls as well as narrow gaps in the frames of windows and doors are frequent access points.

However, cockroaches often hide in bags, boxes, clothing, or furniture. They can thus be accidentally brought into a house after a move, by bringing in an item bought second-hand, or simply by a guest.

Once inside a building, cockroaches reproduce fast and become hard to eradicate without professional help.

What attracts cockroaches inside a house or apartment?

Cockroaches choose locations that offer them food, water, and shelter. They prefer warm, damp and dark places like those found in kitchens, bathrooms and basements.

Contrary to popular belief, a cockroach infestation is not always a sign of poor hygiene. However, the presence of food such as crumbs or unwrapped foods that are left on counters, floors or pantries do increase the risk of infestation.

Are cockroaches dangerous?

Although they technically don’t cause actual damage to property, German cockroaches can represent a potential health risk.

They are carriers of bacteria that can cause infections. They can also be a source of food poisoning. As they travel, they deposit their excrement over various surfaces used for food preparation (as in kitchens). The food then becomes contaminated.

Some people can also experience asthma attacks in the presence of cockroaches.

How to avoid being infested by cockroaches

Cockroaches are gregarious insects that reproduce very fast. A single female cockroach can lay hundreds of thousands of eggs in a single year.

Here are a few tips to help reduce your risk of having cockroaches invade your home:

  • Avoid leaving dirty dishes on the counter.
  • Regularly clean kitchen appliances on all sides, including the space behind them.
  • Clean greasy residues and splatters in the kitchen.
  • Store food in airtight containers (avoid cardboard).
  • Take out the trash regularly and keep trash cans closed with a secure lid.
  • Avoid leaving your pet’s water and food out in the open.
  • Repair all water leaks so as to eliminate any source of humidity.
  • Avoid clutter.
  • Regularly inspect your home.
  • Seal all cracks or gaps where cockroaches might pass through.

Risks during a move

Infestations tend to increase during moving season[1]. Insects can be transported in the moving truck and crawl into your boxes. They could also already be present in the house or apartment you’re moving to.

It is highly recommended to thoroughly inspect your new lodging, and to check and clean your possessions before you settle in.

Signs of a cockroach infestation

Because cockroaches are nocturnal insects, they can be hard to notice during the day. However, they still leave behind some signs of their presence:

  • Traces of cockroach stools.
  • Eggs or eggshells in dark and isolated areas.
  • Nauseating odour from pheromones secreted by cockroaches, and that attracts even more cockroaches.
  • Dead cockroaches or their exoskeletons.

Seeing cockroaches in day time can be a sign of a major infestation.

Coakroach laying its eggs.

Where do cockroaches hide during the day?

Cockroaches like to hide in dark places where it’s warm and humid, and where they can access food crumbs and water. Pay special attention to the areas underneath your kitchen appliances, inside kitchen cabinets and cupboards, under sinks and in bathrooms.

How to get rid of cockroaches in an apartment or in a house.

Here are a few measures you can implement as soon as you notice the presence of cockroaches in your home:

  • Install cockroach traps such as sticky traps with bait.
  • Steam clean furniture and other articles.
  • Regularly vacuum to eliminate sources of food and cockroach eggs.
  • Use chemical products such as boric acid, pyrethrin or diatomaceous earth.
  • Seal cracks and install fine mesh mosquito netting on all gaps that could likely be used by insects to enter your home.

If you rent your home, you should inform the owner as soon as possible. Cockroaches can infiltrate other apartments in the building and cause a serious infestation.

What should I do if my neighbour has cockroaches?

If your neighbour has cockroaches, talk to them about this matter and reinforce all preventive measures in your own apartment, such as frequent cleaning and sealing of cracks.

It is also recommended to use sticky traps that will help you track the movements of the cockroaches and detect their intrusion into your home.

If necessary, you should also inform the landlord or manager of your building, and remain alert to any sign of infestation in your apartment. If in doubt, consult an exterminator.

Contact a professional exterminator for a professional treatment against cockroaches.

The extermination of cockroaches can be difficult. These insects are in fact very resistant. An infestation can therefore go out of control and become a threat to a healthy environment.

It is recommended to contact a pest control professional as soon as you suspect there might be cockroaches in your home. We can provide advice on the measures you can take to get rid of them for good.


[1] Source: (article in French only)