As the drought in the Western Cape reaches critical status, residents are now dealing with another cause for concern as cockroach sightings and infestations increase.
Typically, roaches are nocturnal pests, choosing to remain in the dark whenever possible. For this reason, it is often difficult to identify a cockroach infestation on sightings alone. However, current environmental conditions have driven these six-legged critters indoors, resulting in higher numbers of cockroach complaints than ever before in Cape Town as well as other parts of the country.
The cockroaches in question are American Cockroaches, the largest of the common species of cockroaches found in South Africa. Unlike their German Counterparts, the American cockroach normally prefers to make their homes outdoors in dark damp places such as drain pipes and sewers as well as the hollows of trees, in palm trees, and in the damp shady areas of ground covers such as ivy – making it even more uncommon for them to come out of hiding.
Why is this happening?
Cockroaches want what every person in the Western Cape is hoping for more of at the moment – water. A lack of water availability has forced American cockroaches to leave their sewers in search of alternative water sources – homes, hotels, restaurants and businesses being the most attractive.
According to Professor Michael Samways, from insect conservation at Stellenbosch University, “Cockroaches can get water from little crumbs on the floor and particles of fruits because the water sources are a bit dry at the moment.” (CapeTalk)
These cockroaches enter buildings by way of basins and toilets via drain pipes, as well as any open doors, windows and cracks they can find. And, once they find water, there’s no turning back – as with most insects, cockroaches shelter near food and water sources. What’s more, hot, humid climates make for the perfect breeding conditions, causing increases in cockroach populations right under our very noses.
What can be done?
If you’ve been hit with an American cockroach infestation during the drought, the best thing to do is call in a professional pest control company to eradicate the problem.
To prevent cockroaches from coming into your home or property, seal any crack or structural deformities in your building and make sure you keep a cool, dry and tidy environment.