Cockroaches are generally found indoors, in areas such as cellars, basements, kitchens, bakeries and heating ducts. The Oriental cockroach can survive outdoors in Britain. Cockroaches will often remain hidden during the day using cracks and crevices as harbourages. This means that in most cases they will not be evident during the hours of daylight. Most species can climb with ease, especially the German cockroach which can climb smooth vertical surfaces.
Cockroaches can survive for several months without food, but will not live for more than a few days without water.
The two main species of cockroach in Britain are the Oriental cockroach which is dark brown in colour and about 30mm long and the German cockroach which is light yellowish brown and about 12mm long. Both species bodies are divided into three sections and have long antennae protruding from the head. Immature stages look just like the adults on a smaller scale. There may be a distinctive odour due to the presence of cockroach infestation.
Cockroaches are capable of carrying the organisms which cause food poisoning in humans and many other bacteria. They fill feed on almost anything, including refuse, faecal matter and food for human consumption.
A thorough cleansing of the area should take place prior to the insecticidal treatment, paying particular attention to removing food and water sources and hiding places. Sticky traps can be used to monitor the extent of the infestation.
Many of the insects and their egg cases are hidden in cracks and crevices, so particular attention is paid to these areas when applying insecticides. To control an infestation, the insecticide should persist until the egg cases have hatched. This will require further applications.
Baits can also be used giving continuous control of cockroaches over an extended period. The cockroaches will feed on these baits picking up enough insecticide to kill them.