Some cockroach species are known to transmit disease-causing organisms, and are most often implicated in the transmission of Salmonella, often the causal agent of food poisoning. German cockroaches also cause respiratory problems to individuals sensitive to the allergens they produce.
Most cockroaches are tropical or sub-tropical in origin and generally live outdoors. However, some species have adapted well to living indoors with humans. Though it is true that they prosper in clutter, filth and grime, occasionally cockroaches infest even the most sanitary and well-organized homes and buildings.
There are at least 20 different species of cockroaches in Arizona, probably about 10 are native and rarely encountered in the urban environment. Those established in urban areas include: the American, Brown- banded, Field, German, Oriental, Surinam and Turkestan.
Cockroaches are often carried into homes in infested foodstuff, particularly dried pet foods and in seasoned firewood. They also enter around loose-fitting doors and windows, where electrical lines or water and steam pipes pass through walls. If a home or building is unoccupied and sinks are not used, allowing the P-trap to dry up will allow cockroaches access but they will not come through the sewer lines otherwise. Cockroaches will feed on any unprotected kitchen goods contaminating food with excrement and salivary secretions. Some will also eat materials such as leather, wallpaper paste and bookbinding.
1) Proper sanitation, both indoors and outdoors, effectively limits cockroach food sources. Do not leave unwashed dishes, kitchen utensils and uncovered food out overnight. Clean up all spilled liquids. Areas beneath and behind cabinets, furniture, sinks, stoves and refrigerators should be cleaned often, as should cupboards, pantry shelves and storage bins where particles of food frequently accumulate. Kitchen waste and excess refuse should be kept in cockroach-proof containers, and disposed of as frequently as possible. Dry pet food should be stored in tight containers away from the kitchen and other foods. If pets are fed indoors, leftover foods should not be allowed to remain in the feeding dish overnight. Garbage cans should be cleaned regularly, inside and out.
2) Eliminate all possible hiding areas such as paper, lumber, firewood and yard trash.
3) Seal any cracks of 1/8-inch or larger in the foundation and exterior walls. Check the seal around air conditioning units, windows, doors, pipes or other openings into the home. Repair cracks and holes in floors, walls and ceilings. Seal openings around plumbing fixtures, furnace flues, electrical outlets, windowsills and walls, and along baseboards and ceiling moldings. Thresholds on doors should be as tight as possible and cracks in porches and stoops should be sealed.
4) Leaky water faucets and pipes should be repaired since most species are attracted to water sources.
5) Avoid installing lights directly above doorways, or replace light bulbs with yellow colored bulbs that are less attractive to bugs.
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