A pest control body has issued guidance for landlords about the emergence of cockroaches when heating is turned on.
Heating ducts and pipes can be prime spots for cockroaches says the British Pest Control Association.
The pests can also be found near stoves and sinks, where they can contaminate food, utensils and surfaces as they forage. And they can be carriers of disease, capable of carrying the organisms which cause food poisoning in humans and many other bacteria.
Dee Ward-Thompson, BPCA technical manager, says: “The two most common species of cockroaches are the German and Oriental cockroach. They will both feed on almost anything, including refuse, faecal matter and food for human consumption. They also require access to water and will be generally found in inaccessible harbourages, close to water and food.
“Cockroaches are rarely able to survive out of doors in the British climate but thrive in areas where the temperature is more forgiving.
"For Oriental cockroaches, this may be around the heating ducts and boiler rooms of large centrally heated buildings such as hospitals, bakeries, hotels and restaurant kitchens, and blocks of flats. When Oriental cockroaches are present, they can sometimes be tracked back to the sewers.
“German cockroaches are smaller than the Oriental cockroach and they cluster around pipes, stoves, the back of refrigerator motors and sinks, especially in humid areas, and will often remain hidden during the day.”
The BPCA always recommends proactive pest approaches rather than trying to deal with an infestation is always more effective.
Tips to prevent cockroaches include:
- Clean all surfaces thoroughly to remove any food residue;
- Keep bins covered, clean and emptied regularly;
- Regularly clean areas such as the top and bottom of the fridge, where it is warm and food residue may collect;
- Make sure you inspect any new products or equipment delivered to your workplace as this is how the German cockroach sometimes enters a building;
- Sewer covers should be kept in good repair;
- Proactively monitor for cockroaches by using sticky traps with a food lure – pest management companies provide this service.
Ward-Thompson says: “Control of cockroaches is seldom easy because of the difficulty of getting to the insect.
“For any cockroach infestation, we would always recommend contacting a professional pest control company, preferably a member of the BPCA.
“They are trained in cockroach control and will have access to a range of professional use products which are not available to the public.”
For more advice about proofing your property against cockroaches, a new online guide is available here.