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What you can do if you have cockroaches.


What they look like

Cockroaches are quite large insects. They vary in size from 10mm-23mm in length with long antennae and two sets of wings. The two main species of cockroach found in the UK are the German cockroach and the Oriental cockroach.

The German cockroach prefers warm, moist environments, particularly heating systems in large buildings. It can swim, fly, climb smooth surfaces easily and hide in inaccessible places.

The Oriental cockroach is found mainly indoors in heated buildings like hospitals, hotels, restaurants, prisons and blocks of flats. They can be sometimes found outdoors around dustbins and rubbish tips. It is dark brown to black in colour, very shiny, and has long flexible antennae and a flattened body. It cannot fly or climb smooth surfaces but can move very rapidly.

The American cockroach is the largest of the common species, growing to a length of 1 1/2 inches or more. It's dark red to dark brown in colour, with light markings on the thorax. American cockroaches prefer a warm, moist habitat. They're common in food handling establishments and industrial plants. Outdoors, in countries which have the climate, they live under tree bark, in sewers, or in underground utility chases. This species may travel directly from the sewer to your home carrying organisms on its body and legs that could contaminate your food and kitchen surfaces.

Where they live

Cockroaches are nocturnal by nature being visible often only at night. They spend the day hiding in cracks around areas like sinks, drains, cookers and the backs of service ducts. If at night you suddenly turn the lights on you may see them.

Where they are present in large numbers they may give out an unpleasant almond-like smell. The female cockroach can produce up to eight purse-like egg cases each month each of which can contain up to 30 eggs. Cockroach nymphs emerge from their eggs after 2-4 weeks (up to 6-12 weeks for oriental cockroaches). The nymphs are like the adults but smaller and lighter. The nymphs take some months to mature. Cockroaches will feed on almost anything including faecal matter.

Why cockroaches are a pest

Germs can be spread from the body of a cockroach or from their droppings. They can carry dysentery, gastro-enteritis, typhoid and food poisoning organisms. Contamination occurs when the cockroaches come into contact with our foodstuffs.

How you can prevent an infestation

Good hygiene is the key to keeping cockroaches out of your home. It denies them a food source and makes them easier to spot. All cracks, crevices and other building problems that could provide a dark enclosure for cockroaches should be repaired as quickly as possible. Pipe work should not be boxed in as it provides an excellent hiding place for them.

How can I get rid of cockroaches?

Most treatments that you can buy yourself over the counter are not very effective against cockroaches. You should seek help from a professional pest control company at an early stage if you have cockroaches.

It is possible to carry out treatment yourself using pesticides which are commonly available. If you do attempt treatment yourself, always follow the instructions on the label provided by the manufacturer.

What to do if you are infested with cockroaches

Things you can do if you have an infestation of cockroaches.

  • If you are an Hillingdon Housing Service tenant  please contact repairs
  • Other tenants should contact their landlords initially, especially if they believe the infestation was present at the time they moved in. 
  • Alternatively private owner occupiers and other tenants could access pest control service from our contractor by calling our Contact Centre on 01895 556000. There will be a charge for this service.
  • You could also seek help from a professional pest control company at an early stage. Reputable contractors are members of the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) Call 0870 609 2687 or visit  BPCA or National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA), call 01773 717 716.
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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 09 Apr 2018 at 09:02