Basic Information

Cockroaches are insects. Cockroaches have six legs, wings, and antenna. They can run up to three miles an hour, and have been around since the dinosaurs. They range in size and color, and their shed skin contains allergens that can cause asthma. Cockroaches are primarily nocturnal. Daytime sightings may indicate potentially heavy infestations. They tend to hide in cracks and crevices and can move freely from room to room or adjoining housing units via wall spaces, plumbing, and other utility installations. Entry into homes is often accomplished through food and beverage boxes, grocery sacks, animal food, and household goods carried into the home. The three most common types of roaches in Oklahoma are German, American and Oriental cockroaches. 

As housing inspectors, THD assists tenants and landlords to educate on preventing harborage conditions as well as review the importance of pest control. Property managers/owners are to provide pest control to prevent and treat pest control infestations. 

Control Methods

Four management strategies exist for controlling cockroaches:

This strategy includes inspecting items being carried into the home and sealing cracks and crevices in kitchens, bathrooms, exterior doors, and windows. Structural modifications would include weather stripping and pipe collars.

This denies cockroaches food, water, and shelter. These efforts include quickly cleaning food particles from shelving and floors; timely washing of dinnerware; and routine cleaning under refrigerators, stoves, furniture, and similar areas. If pets are fed indoors, pet food should be stored in tight containers and not left in bowls overnight. Litter boxes should be cleaned routinely. Access should be denied to water sources by fixing leaking plumbing, drains, sink traps, and aquaria. Elimination of shelter can be partially accomplished by purging clutter, such as papers and soiled clothing and rags.

Commercially available cockroach traps can be used to capture roaches and serve as a monitoring device. The most effective trap placement is against vertical surfaces, primarily corners, and under sinks, in cabinets, basements, and floor drains.

Chemical Control
The use of chemicals typically indicates that the other three strategies have been applied incorrectly. Numerous insecticides are available and appropriate information is obtainable from EPA or services are available from local pest control companies.

Health Impacts

The cockroach is considered an allergen source and an asthma trigger for residents. Although little evidence exists to link the cockroach to specific disease outbreaks, it has been demonstrated to carry Salmonella typhimurium, Entamoeba histolytica and the poliomyelitis virus. The sight of cockroaches can cause considerable psychologic or emotional distress in some individuals. They do not bite, but they do have heavy leg spines that may scratch.