The sight of a cockroach scurrying across your bathroom or kitchen can send shivers down anyone’s spine. It’s common knowledge that cockroaches are attracted to messy, dirty environments where they can find food and shelter. But what if you keep your home meticulously clean, yet these unwelcome guests keep appearing? The culprit might be your neighbour’s less-than-hygienic habits.

We often encounter this issue when we do cockroach treatments in London. That’s why we put together this guide to help you keep your home cockroach-free, even with messy neighbours.

Can Cockroaches Come From My Neighbours

But Why Did My Neighbour’s Cockroaches Come to My Home?

When your neighbour has a full-blown infestation in their home, the colony grows and needs more space and resources. Sooner or later, some pests will leave, searching for food, water, and shelter, and invade the nearest home they can sneak into. It is a common problem in London, especially in older buildings with shared walls and ventilation systems. Unfortunately, even if you live in a detached house, cockroaches can find their way inside.

Read also: Everything you need to know about cockroaches and how to get rid of them

The Sneaky Ways Cockroaches Invade Your Home

While apartment buildings and terraced houses offer the most convenient pathways for cockroaches, even detached houses aren’t immune. Understanding these pests’ travel patterns between apartments and houses is vital to strengthening your defences against them. Here are the most common ways cockroaches enter your home:

  • Shared connections: In apartment buildings, hallways and other shared spaces can become breeding grounds for various pests, especially if cluttered and lack proper sanitation. Cockroaches can easily travel from these areas to your flat.
  • Cracks and gaps: Search for openings on the walls, around windows and doors. If you live in a house, inspect the foundation too. Even the tiniest crevice can become entry points for various pests.
  • Ventilation systems: Shared vents offer enticing pathways for cockroaches seeking new food sources.
  • Drains and pipes: Cockroaches, especially the water-loving variety, can navigate your building’s plumbing system, venturing up from drains and into your home.
  • Balconies: Cockroaches can climb along railings or sneak in through potted plants on balconies.
  • Messy gardens: Standing water, overgrown vegetation or clutter in neighbouring gardens can also provide a hiding and breeding ground for cockroaches and other pests, and you can unwillingly carry them inside without noticing.
  • Firewood and outdoor storage: If you store firewood near your house, be aware that cockroaches can use it as a bridge to get inside. The same goes for cluttered outdoor storage areas like shacks or garages that might harbour these pests.
  • Package deliveries: While less common, these insects can sometimes hitch a ride on cardboard boxes delivered to your doorstep. Inspect packages before bringing them inside, especially if they’ve been sitting outside for a while.
  • Neighbourly exchange: Cockroaches can also hitchhike on furniture, tools, boxes, or clothing being moved between houses and flats.

As you can see, any openings that go into your home or lead outside can become an entry point for cockroaches.

Keeping Your Home Cockroach-Free Despite Unruly Neighbours

Now that you know how cockroaches infiltrate your space, let’s create a cockroach-repelling fortress:

  • Seal the cracks: Inspect your flat for entry points, focusing on areas around pipes, windows, doors, and electrical outlets. Use a high-quality, non-organic silicone sealant to fill any gaps. If your window screens have tears, it is recommended that you repair them or replace the entire screen if it doesn’t sit flush.
  • Door sweepers and weather stripping: Install door sweeps at the bottom of all exterior doors and replace the worn-out weather stripping around windows and doors. These create a tight seal that discourages cockroaches.
  • Mesh up the vents and pipes: Cover ventilation openings and drains with fine mesh to prevent cockroaches from entering.
  • Fill the gaps around pipes: Use caulk to seal any gaps around pipes where they enter your flat.

Fighting Back: Effective Strategies to Eliminate Existing Cockroaches

Cockroaches are prolific breeders, and unfortunately, they hide very well. So, even if you’ve spotted just one or two, you must act fast to prevent a large infestation! Here are some effective methods to get rid of them:

  • Natural repellents: Cockroaches dislike certain scents, including peppermint oil, bay leaves, and cloves. Place these around suspected entry points or in drawers and cabinets. Caution: While natural, some essential oils can harm pets, so use them carefully and research pet safety before using them.
  • Traps and baits: Strategic placement of cockroach traps and baits near entry points and suspected hiding spots is crucial. Choose baits with slow-acting poisons, allowing the cockroaches to carry them back to their nests, killing others in the colony.
  • Diatomaceous Earth: This naturally occurring powder dehydrates and kills the pests on contact. Apply it in thin lines around entry points, under sinks, and behind appliances.

Important Note: Always follow the instructions on any product you use and ensure it’s safe for use around pets and children.

Maintaining a Cockroach-Free Home

Prevention is key! Here are some habits to keep your property unappealing to cockroaches:

  • Cleanliness is key: Maintain a clean and tidy flat. Regularly sweep, mop, and vacuum floors, paying particular attention to crumbs and food debris.
  • Store food properly: Don’t leave food lying around. Keep dry food in airtight containers and put away leftovers in the refrigerator.
  • Empty the trash regularly: Don’t let overflowing bins become a buffet for cockroaches. Take out the garbage regularly and clean bins with a disinfectant wipe or spray after each emptying.
  • Fix leaky faucets: Leaking faucets and pipes create a water source for these pests. Fix any leaks promptly to eliminate this attraction.
  • Declutter your flat: Cockroaches love clutter, which provides them with hiding spots. Get rid of unnecessary boxes, magazines, and piles of clothes.
  • Don’t forget the pet food: Open bags of kibbles, bird seeds, and pet food bowls are magnets for all types of pests. Pick up any uneaten food after your pet finishes, and store it in sealed containers.
  • Scoop the cat litter: As disgusting as it sounds, cockroaches won’t shy away from eating faeces, so make sure the litter box is poop-free.
  • Clean up after cooking: Wipe down countertops, stovetops, and backsplashes after cooking to remove any food residue that might attract these pests.
  • Mind the cardboard: Cardboard boxes can be havens for cockroaches. If you must bring cardboard boxes into your home, inspect them thoroughly before bringing them inside. Consider breaking them down and recycling the cardboard outside as soon as possible.

When Professional Help is Needed

If you’ve implemented these strategies and the cockroaches persist, it’s time to call in a professional pest control company. Here are some signs you might need professional help:

  • Large infestation: If you spot multiple cockroaches daily, it is a sign of a severe infestation that may require professional intervention.
  • Recurring problem: If you’ve tried DIY methods and the cockroaches keep returning, a professional can identify the root cause and implement a targeted solution.
  • Unidentified entry points: If you keep spotting cockroaches inside your home despite all efforts, a professional can identify and seal the entry points you might have missed.
  • Species identification: Different cockroach species require different control methods. A professional can specify the type of pest you’re dealing with and recommend the most effective treatment.

Remember, a proactive approach is the best defence against cockroaches. Follow these tips and remain vigilant to create a cockroach-free haven in your London home, no matter how messy your neighbours might be!

If the battle gets too harsh, remember that help is just a phone call away! Our experienced exterminators will eliminate the cockroaches for you and provide professional advice on preventing reinfestation.