Landlords love to blame cockroach infestation on the tenants, so that they can excuse themselves from their legal responsibilities to eradicate the infestation and restore habitability to the place.
"You live like pigs. That's why you have cockroaches," you hear them say.
Not so, at all. Cockroaches are hearty creatures, who have outlived the dinosaurs and
can survive atomic radiation. They have propagated throughout the world,
in different types.
Cockroaches reach maturity in about a month. Each
female can produce 200-800 new cockroaches per year. She continues to do so for the rest of her
life: 3 months to 2 years. They can live without water for a month and without food for 3 months. Food is anything, especially
glue, cardboard and
paper, but also dust and soap.
Cockroach infestation has little to do with
cleanliness and mostly to do with how many are in the building, trying
"We don't have cockroaches. Those are Palmetto
bugs" [or water bugs, or beetles, and other euphemisms]. Sorry,
those are just the common names for common cockroaches.
Forget roach traps; they kill a few, but are ineffective, expensive and
disgusting, and have to be placed right.
Sound devices don't work.
Spot spraying with poison like Raid can kill a few, but they just go next door, or into the walls, for a vacation, and then return in greater numbers.
Cockroach powder, usually made of borax and diatomaceous earth (tiny crustacean skeletons), is not
poisonous, but has limited usefulness. It is coarse, designed to scratch their waxy undercoating when cockroaches crawl over it, causing them to dehydrate and die that way. However, it won't work if the cockroaches don't walk that way, or go around it, and won't work on carpets
because the powder sinks down and the cockroaches walk on the tops of the
fibers. Also, it has to be constantly re-applied in places where the cockroaches are likely to crawl, leaving a gritty floor.
Like the other attempts, it does make it look like the landlord is doing something, but it is a
band-aid for a heart attack. The only real solution is to tent the entire building and fumigate, and landlords rarely want to do that, due to the expense.
| There are 5 common types
In warm dry areas, such a cupboards bathrooms, and closets,
you may find German or American cockroaches. The Germans are 1/2 inch
long and tan. The Americans are an inch or two and chestnut brown. Both
need to near a water source.
German Cockroach American Cockroach, alias
"Palmetto" or "Waterbug"
The Oriental cockroach lives in cooler, dark damp places like
basements and sewers.
Less common are the Smoky Brown and Brown-banded
cockroaches, which come inside houses..
Smokey Brown Cockroach