Kaunda Selisho

Compiled by Kaunda Selisho


The roaches are coming! Tips to survive Gauteng’s cockroach outbreak 

Residents in Gauteng have seen a surge in German cockroaches leaving many with questions about how to deal with them.

Gauteng residents are lamenting news of a cockroach outbreak on top of all the other dire living conditions they have to contend with after a Rekord article confirmed the outbreak last week. 

Citing a CropLife SA article, the infestation was described as a “near-pandemic outbreak” that has affected communities across the country, but mostly in Gauteng. 

Residents in the province have confirmed seeing a surge in German cockroaches leaving many with questions about how to deal with them.

What caused Gauteng’s roach outbreak?

According to CropLife SA, multiple factors have contributed to this outbreak including unhygienic living conditions coupled with a hot and humid climate

“Cockroach control starts with a serious effort to sanitise human habitation of refuse and left-over foodstuffs,” marketing and communications manager, Elriza Theron told Rekord.

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“A dirty kitchen that is littered with left-over food and freely available pet food needs serious intervention to deny these unsavoury critters from invading a home and setting up a colony.”

The publication further advised homeowners, the fast-food and retail sectors as well as the hospitality industry to act quickly if they want to avoid an escalation of the disaster as they are the most affected by this outbreak. 

Keep roaches at bay with these simple tips from Smiths Pest Management: 

Clean the house. The pest control company advises that you start by removing everything that could attract roaches, this includes woodpiles, leaf piles, stagnant water, and overgrown underbrush. 

You would also need to make sure to secure lids to outdoor trash cans, trim foundation plantings back away from the home and limit water sources by emptying standing water in pots, pet bowls and birdbaths. Also get rid of newspapers and cardboard boxes.

“Cockroaches enjoy the heat and humidity of these places and use them to breed,” added Theron. 

In the house, wash and put away all dirty dishes immediately after use, clean up any crumbs and spills promptly, take out the garbage daily, and especially before going to bed at night, mop and sweep the floors regularly, including under and around large appliances and avoid leaving pet food out for an extended period.

Smiths Pest Management also advised that you “get serious about storing food” to eliminate potential food sources for the roaches and clean kitchen appliances. 

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“Store perishables in the refrigerator, and avoid leaving fruits and vegetables out on the counter.” 

You should also seal cracks and entry points and fix leaks right away.

Lastly, consider employing these natural home remedies to get rid of cockroaches

1. Diatomaceous Earth: This natural insecticide, composed of pulverised, fossilised algae, damages the exoskeletons of roaches and dehydrates them to death after they come into contact with it.

Smiths Pest Management advises buying some food-grade DE and sprinkling a light coating on any surface where you’ve noticed roach activity.

Though it is said to be effective, affordable, safe for kids and pets, it can be messy, can require re-application and gives you extra work as you will have to locate and dispose of dead roaches after each DE treatment.

2. Baking Soda: To make a DIY roach bait, dice a handful of onions and sprinkle them with baking soda. Place this appetiser in a shallow dish anywhere you’ve noticed roach activity. 

One of the downsides to this  effective, non-toxic and affordable roach remedy is that pets in the home may consume the onion mixture and onions are toxic for dogs.

3. Boric Acid: While this naturally occuring compound is harmless to people and pets, it’s deadly for roaches. When cockroaches come into contact with boric acid, it sticks to their legs and wings. When they ingest the powder, it acts on the roach’s nervous and digestive systems – killing it rapidly.

“To use boric acid to get rid of roaches, sprinkle a light dusting onto a paper plate. Put an orange peel or spoonful of peanut butter in the middle of the plate and place the whole thing anywhere you’ve noticed roach activity.”

4. Borax: Borax is a readily-available laundry product that’s excellent for killing roaches. For best results, combine equal parts borax and white table sugar. Dust the mixture any place you’ve seen roach activity. When the roaches consume the borax, it will dehydrate them and kill them rapidly.

5. Citrus: Citrus is a tasty treat for humans, but it’s a repellent to cockroaches. The smell of lemons, specifically, deters roaches but it will not kill them. Add a few drops of lemon oil to the water you use to mop your floors. The scent won’t be detectable to people, but it will send roaches packing. 

6. Essential Oils: Essential oils are a great natural roach repellant. For best results, purchase peppermint or lemongrass essential oil and mix it with a bit of water. Spray the mixture anywhere you’ve seen roaches. Similar to the previous remedy, this effective, affordable and non-toxic solution does not kill roaches. 

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7. Caulk all Entry Points: Use caulk to seal gaps and possible entry points to prevent new roaches from entering your home.  

“Pay close attention to gaps between walls or tile, worn-out weather stripping, or gaps in door and window seals.”

It is also with noting that caulk wears out over time, so you must check and recheck access points routinely. 

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