If you’ve spent time travelling around London, there’s a good chance you’ll have spotted a cockroach or two. Even if you haven’t seen one yourself, you have probably been very close to one.
Cockroaches are just one of London’s pest control problems, and they are a problem that seems to be getting worse. The London Evening Standard recently reported that the city’s firefighters are discovering an increasing number of cockroach-infested temporary dwellings. Local media often contains stories of restaurants and hotels where infestations have been discovered.
With pest control budgets being cut by councils and firms looking to save money, it’s no surprise that cockroach numbers seem to be rising. These hardy insects have developed the capability to survive under many different conditions, and their ability to breed quickly makes them difficult to eradicate.
Why cockroaches are a problem in London
These ugly brown or black insects can be found in a huge variety of environments right across the city. Homes, hotels, warehouses and even trains and buses are all common habitats for cockroaches, some of which can grow to over an inch (30mm) in length.
Most of them live out of sight, in the dark spaces under cupboards and appliances, and in cracks and crevices. They prefer to come out at night and if you disturb them by turning on a light, they’ll scuttle back to somewhere dark.
Cockroaches thrive in these places because of the warmth and the abundant food supply. They will eat virtually anything, but can also survive for long periods without food or water.
In addition to doing damage and being unpleasant to look at, cockroaches are a pest because they can carry a number of different diseases, including salmonella and dysentery. Any food they come into contact with becomes tainted, and they give off an unpleasant odour.
What to do if you have a cockroach problem
If you think your house or business premises is providing a home to cockroaches, you should take prompt action. The longer you leave them, the harder they will be to eradicate. Cockroaches are tough survivors and it often requires the persistence of a pest control expert to get rid of them completely.
Signs of an infestation include finding droppings or smear marks on surfaces, discovering damage to foodstuffs or paper containers, and encountering an unpleasant musty smell. You may also find the insects themselves if you look into cracks or beneath cupboards or go into the area at night.
Immediate actions to take include putting all foods into strong, sealable containers and promptly clearing up spills of food and liquid, including crumbs, on surfaces, including the floor. Also, tidy up the area to remove possible hiding places.
You can buy DIY cockroach products that may help deal with the problem. But calling in a professional will give you access to stronger insecticides, along with expert advice on how to prevent the insects returning. Just because cockroaches are becoming more common in London does not mean they have a to be a problem for you.