Getting rid of cockroaches — one of Australia’s most common home invaders — and preventing their return is easier than you think. All it takes is a combination of keeping your home clean and tidy (which will make it less attractive to cockroaches) and having the right products on hand to deal with those that will inevitably show up.
Cockroaches feed on a diet of rotting garbage and food scraps (and sewage, but we won’t go there), so for long-term prevention, it’s important to try to mop up any spills as soon as they happen, keep things tidy (memo to kids) and store your food in sealed containers.
As with all pest protection, be sure to take your rubbish out regularly, and if you have compost bins, keep a close eye on any unwelcome guests enjoying the feast.
For pet owners, cleaning your companions’ food bowls every night will stop them having to share their dinner with a crawling critter. And be sure to keep an eye on what they’re playing with on the kitchen floor.
The best remedy for a problem is always to go to the source — in this case, the cockroach nest. So, don your investigative hat and follow the path of any cockroaches that you spot. They tend to congregate in cracks in walls, skirting boards or inside cupboards, as well as under moveable appliances.
Cardboard boxes are also culprits for unwittingly smuggling cockroaches into the home, especially if they’ve been stored in garages or sheds. Consider setting up bait as soon as possible if you can’t transfer all the contents into plastic boxes.
COCKROACHES ORDER BLATTIDAE
While most of the 200-plus species are bush cockroaches, the best-known members of this family are the introduced pests. The large (40 mm), shiny red American cockroach, Periplaneta Americana and the so-called Australian cockroach, P. australasiae, which originated in Asia, are an integral part of domestic life. P. australasiae can be recognized by a yellow band across the base of the pronotum and yellow slashes along the base of the forewings. Their effective diurnal hiding and the ability to fly into new territory make them all but impossible to eradicate. Among the bush cockroaches are many large, wingless genera. These fat, sometimes colourful, cockroaches are often diurnal and clamber about on the bushes they feed on. Many can emit a powerful defensive chemical smell. Polyzosteria and Cosmozosteria have some very striking, flightless, sometimes metallic-coloured species.
Incomplete life cycle; small to large (3-70 mm in length); broad, flattened body with the pronotum forming a shield usually overhanging the body on the sides and partly the head; wings, when present, are membranous with toughened forewings which overlap left over right; head has mandibulate mouthparts, pointing downwards and with the ocelli reduced to two lensless points between the eyes; legs are long, spined and adapted for running.
The general form of cockroaches varies little. Therefore, the image of the introduced city dwelling species helps to place the majority of the native bush species in this order.
Source: A field guide to insects in Australia - third edition - Paul Zborowski and Ross Storey - New Holand publishers