GETTING RID OF COCKROACHES
HOW TO GET RID OF COCKROACHES
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Everyone has heard the catchy Spanish
folk song, "La Cucaracha," about a cockroach unable to
walk because he has lost one of his six legs. While the
song may be loved by children and fun to sing along to, it
is highly unlikely that anyone feels the same affection
for this ick-inspiring and disease-spreading pest!
Most boat owners are aware of the health
and safety risks associated with cockroach infestations,
including the allergies and asthma triggered by
cockroach allergens, and the germs and bacteria they
have been known to spread. What may not be as widely
known is the fact that cockroaches are a very
interesting and resilient pest that exhibits some very
odd behavior and survival tactics. For example,
cockroaches spend 75% of their time resting and can
withstand temperatures as cold as 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
OF COCKROACH AND HOW TO IDENTIFY THEM
- Appearance: American
cockroaches are reddish brown with a yellowish
figure 8 pattern on the back of their head.
- Unique Facts: They are
active when the temperature is 70 degrees or
higher, but they can survive lower temperatures
with the right conditions.
- Appearance: Brownbanded
cockroaches are brown with pronounced banding
across their wings.
- Habitat: Brownbanded
cockroaches tend to prefer warmer, drier, and
higher locations than any of the other pest
roaches. They are often found in upper cabinets or
in galleys. This species often hides its egg cases
in or under furniture.
- Unique Facts: Brown-banded
cockroaches get their name from the two lighter
bands they have across their dark brownish bodies.
The male's wings are larger than the female's
- Appearance: German
cockroaches are light brown to tan with two dark
stripes located on their backs. They are oval
shaped with six legs and antennae.
- Habitat: German cockroaches
can be found anywhere but show a preference for
warm and humid places. They are usually found in
places with water sources, but infestations often
occur in other areas where people eat and drink.
- Unique Facts: The German
cockroach is by far the most important and usually
the most common of the cockroaches. In addition to
being a nuisance, the German cockroach has been
implicated in outbreaks of illness and allergic
reactions in many people.
- Appearance: Oriental
Cockroaches are large very dark colored and shiny.
- Habitat: Oriental
cockroaches are often found in sewers. They can
also be found in leaf piles and firewood outdoors.
- Unique Facts: Oriental
cockroaches are sometimes called "water bugs"
because they come out of drains, and "black beetle
cockroaches" because of their smooth, dark bodies.
This species creates a strong smell and is
considered one of the dirtiest of all the
1. A cockroach
can live for a week without its head. Due to their
open circulatory system, and the fact that they
breathe through little holes in each of their body
segments, they are not dependent on the mouth or head
to breathe. The roach only dies because without a
mouth, it can't drink water and dies of thirst.
facts prove that cockroaches are some of the most
adaptable creatures on earth, which makes controlling
and eliminating a cockroach infestation all the more
difficult. Even the cleanest of boats can be
prone to these little pests. Diligence and
observation are your first defense, but what can you
do to eliminate them? To get rid of
cockroaches in your boat, keep food sealed and stored
properly, particularly in the galley, which should be
cleaned daily to prevent crumbs and trash from building
up. Garbage should be disposed of regularly and stored
in sealed containers. Try to seek out and seal all
cracks and holes (if you have many cracks and holes in
your boat, then cockroaches may be the least of your
problems). If possible fit mosquito nets to ports,
this will help stop critters from crawling in as well as
things flying in. Cockroaches like to climb,
mooring lines are always a problem, If possible spray or
dust lines with insecticide (checking first that the
chemical you use will not damage/effect your
2. A cockroach can hold its breath for 40 minutes, and
can even survive being submerged under water for half
an hour. They hold their breath often to help regulate
their loss of water.
3. Cockroaches can run up to three miles in an hour,
which means they can spread germs and bacteria
throughout a boat very quickly.
4. Newborn German cockroaches become adults in as
little as 36 days. In fact, the German cockroach is
the most common of the cockroaches and has been
implicated in outbreaks of illness and allergic
reactions in many people.
5. A one-day-old baby cockroach, which is about the
size of a speck of dust, can run almost as fast as its
6. The American cockroach has shown a marked
attraction to alcoholic beverages, especially beer.
They are most likely attracted by the alcohol mixed
with hops and sugar.
7. The world's largest roach (which lives in South
America) is six inches long with a one-foot wingspan.
Average cockroaches can vary in size from ½"- 2" long.
8. Cockroaches are believed to have originated more
than 280 million years ago, in the Carboniferous era.
9. There are more than 4,000 species of cockroaches
worldwide, including the most common species, the
German cockroach, in addition to other common species,
the brownbanded cockroach and American cockroach.
10. Because they are cold-blooded insects, cockroaches
can live without food for one month, but will only
survive one week without water.
ELIMINATING AN INFESTATION
Cockroach control and management are
important for health and safety reasons. If you suspect
a cockroach infestation, DON'T PANIC, there are
simple and safe ways of dealing with them.
The most simple method is BORIC ACID,
use bottle tops, equal amounts of boric acid, water and
sugar. Place the 'tops' inside cupboards, drawers,
even in galley stowage areas. Boric Acid is no
more harmful to us humans than salt. Cockroaches
are attracted to the water and sugar, they ingest the
boric acid at the same time, this 'bungs' them up,
rendering them unable to consume more water, thus they
die of thirst. Boric acid can be purchased in
pharmacies, and is very cheap.
Roach traps can be bought in most
countries. Place them in cupboards, lockers,
corners. However, they contain poison, if you have
any pets on board, there is a possibility that the
poisoned roach could be consumed by your pet.
Bombs (not the nuke variety). This
is a fairly radical approach. Having let off a
bomb in your boat you will have to vacate for a while,
and remember that when you return, everything will be
covered with a thin layer of insecticide - always read
the instructions in these cases.
If leaving your boat for any length of
time, the bottle top approach is probably the best,
remember to keep the 'tops' topped up with water from
time to time and check them when you return.
Once you've manged to rid
yourself of them, keep a control up for a few
days. A jam jar (one with an overhanging lip on
the inside), some beer, vaseline and a piece of bread is
all you need. Fill the jar up to about one
quarter, put in a small piece of bread. Now smear
the inside of the jam jar lip with vaseline (so
that they can climb in, but not out. You
will need to create a little ladder for any visitors
here, a piece of kitchen town taped to the lip is
perfect. Leave this jar in an area where you
believe you have had any cockroaches. If you get
any in the jar, then you still have a problem, if after
a few days the jar is roach free, then you have
successfully managed to rid your boat of the problem.
A few more
pests to make you itch...
Some times these critters get a
helping hand to smuggle themselves aboard, inside bags
of dried goods. Keep a close eye on your stored
The Indian meal moth was given
its name after an insect scientist found it feeding
on corn meal, also known as Indian meal. From wing
tip to wing tip, adult moths measure from
five-eighths of an inch to three-fourths of an inch
Merchant grain beetles are
typically not found in grain products, but instead
like to attack cereals, cake mixes, macaroni, cookies
and chocolate. Merchant grain beetles are dark brown
and have six saw-like teeth on each side of their
bodies. They can grow to be one-eighth of an inch long
and have very flat bodies.
Bed bugs likely get their name
from their habit of feeding on humans while they sleep
in their beds. They are found in virtually every place
people tend to gather, including boats.
If you do identify bed bugs on
your boat, take the mattress outside into the sun,
thoroughly clean the cabin, ensuring that there is no
dust left, and vent the area. Keep an eye on
dust levels in general, as these little critters love
nothing more than snuggling up in your dead skin for
A far more
serious issue than cockroaches.
Termites date back more than 120
million years to the time of the dinosaurs. They are
known as "silent destroyers" because of their ability
to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper
undetected. If you have a lot of wood in your
boat, check regularly. Should you be at all
concerned, contact a specialist immediately.
Everything that you always wanted
to know about ants! If these little critters
don't give you nightmares then nothing will.
There are many types of ant powders on the market, as
with any insecticide, keep away from children and
Acrobat ants get their common
name from their ability to acrobatically raise
their abdomen over their thorax and head,
especially when disturbed. There are various
species of this light brown to black ant found
throughout the United States, even at altitudes of
up to 8,000 feet.
Argentine ant colonies can
grow to monumental size. A single colony can
contain several hundred thousand workers with the
colony borders sometimes cover entire habitats.
These dark brown to black ants give off a musty
odor when crushed.
Carpenter ants get their name
because they excavate wood in order to build their
nests. Their excavation results in smooth tunnels
inside the wood. These are large ants ranging in
size from one-quarter inch for a worker ant to up
to three-quarters inch for a queen.
Crazy ants get their common
name from the workers' habit of running in an
erratic, jerky manner when searching for food.
The common name of the field
ant comes from its preference for nesting
outdoors. The field ant is the largest genus of
ants found north of Mexico. Field ants are also
known by many other names such as thatching ants,
red ants and wood ants.
Ghost ants get their common
name from the fact that they are very hard to see
due to their pale color and tiny size. They are a
tropical species, probably of African or Asian
origin. In the United States, ghost ants are found
primarily in central and southern Florida and
Hawaii. This type of ant is unable to survive in
the northern states except in greenhouses and
The harvester ant gets its
common name from its behavior of collecting seeds.
There are 22 species of harvester ants found in
the United States. The most common types of
harvester ants are the California harvester ant,
Florida harvester ant, red harvester ant, black
harvester ant and the Western harvester ant. All
are limited to west of the Mississippi River
except the Florida harvester ant.
Leaf cutting Ants
Leaf cutting ants get their
name from their habit of cutting leaves into small
pieces. There are only two species in the United
States, which are found in Arizona, Texas, western
Louisiana and southern California. Mature nests of
leaf cutting ants may contain in excess of one
million individuals, but only one queen who is
long-lived. Some very old colonies may occupy the
same area for 60-70 years.
Little Black Ants
The little black ant gets its
common name from its very small size and black
coloration. Colonies are moderate to very large
and contain many queens.
Pharaoh ants get their name
from the mistaken belief that they were one of the
plagues of Egypt during the time of Pharaohs. This
species is thought to be native to Africa, but is
currently found throughout the Unites States.
The pyramid ant gets its
common name from the pyramid projection on top of
the thorax. Mature pyramid ant colonies are
usually small to moderate in size, each containing
one or more queens and up to a few thousand
Red Imported Fire Ants
Red imported fire ants (RIFAs,
for short) get their common name from their
ability to inflict painful bites and stings. These
dark reddish-brown ants are an invasive species
found throughout the southern part of the
Thief ants get their name from
their habit of nesting very near other ants, which
they then rob of food and brood (larvae and
pupae). Colonies tend to be smaller than those of
other species, but can contain many queens and
several thousand workers. Thief ants are also
known as grease ants and are often confused with
pharaoh ants, although they differ in
White-footed ants get their
common name from their very light-colored feet.
Mature colonies can range from 8,000 to 3 million
individuals, with as many as 33 percent being
The yellow ant gets its common
name from the yellow coloring of its body. Yellow
ants are also referred to as citronella ants because
of the citrus or lemon-like odor they give off when
crushed. The most important structural pest species
in this group is the larger yellow ant, Lasius
interjectus, which is found from southern New
England westward to Washington and southward to
Florida and Mexico
Happy hunting - it's open season!
But here's the
Anyone in the mood for fried
caterpillars? Roasted silkworms? Braised crickets? You
might be blanching, but according to a group of Oxford
researchers, certain bugs are more nutritious than
our favorite meat staples.
from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
researchers compared the nutritional profile of six
commercially available insects – crickets, honey bees,
silkworms, mealworms, mopane caterpillars and palm
weevil larvae – to chicken, beef and pork using two
different scoring systems that tracked variables like
protein, fat, sodium, vitamins and minerals.
result? When the two scoring systems were taken
together, “every single insect the researchers
examined came out on top,” reports Medical Daily.
The researchers note that crickets, mealworms and palm
weevil larvae were “significantly healthier.”
In other words, instead of
slaving over Cricket à la King for dinner, try
folding a little protein-rich cricket flour into your
next batch of bread or cupcakes.