Your home is your sanctuary. And nothing turns your sanctuary into a scene from a horror movie like a cockroach infestation. The sound of tiny, scattering feet when you turn on the lights can set your heart racing. Take a deep breath. They may live through a nuclear holocaust, but this is your domain, and you’re bigger and smarter. You can do this!
Seal Off Entrances
To set up and keep residence in your home, roaches need three things: food, water, and hiding spots. Eliminate all three with a deep clean. Empty out the cupboards and clear out all the crumbs. Clean out the gunk behind your appliances and in your trash can. And get rid of old paper and cardboard boxes, which are favorite hiding spots for these unwelcome guests.
Don’t let dishes pile up in the sink. And when you finish washing dishes, wipe down the sink and counters. Roaches can live several days without food if they have access to water. Replace your trash can with one that has a tightly-sealed lid, and take out the trash often. Make sure you store your food in sealed containers. Cereal, for example, should go in plastic tubs, not left in its box.
Cracks in the window? Gap underneath the door? Roaches see these as formal invitations. Invest in caulk, steel wool, or some other sealant from the hardware store to keep them outside. And beware of used furniture, groceries, and cardboard boxes from deliveries. These are all free rides into your home for invaders.
Renters’ Right to Extermination
Roaches aren’t just gross. They’re dangerous. When they skitter across your countertop, they can leave behind E. Coli, salmonella, or other illness-causing bacteria. Especially if you live in a large building, the infestation is likely deeper than just your apartment. Unfortunately, your legal rights for infestations are not difficult to use, when available.
Every state and locality is different, but generally, landlords are not required to fix problems caused by the tenant. With roaches, it’s hard to say who caused it – at least, that’s what the landlord might argue. They will argue that your messiness attracted the roaches. Some states have rules that say that landlords are only required to fix bug infestations if they affect multiple units in the same building owned by the same landlord. So one way to get an extermination is to talk to your neighbors and see if they’ve had similar problems. If not, well… you’re on your own.
Another method is to consider whether there are gaps or nooks where roaches are entering. Some city housing codes require landlords to seal off apartment walls.
Of course, laws vary state by state. Learn your rights with RenterPeace and then talk to your landlord about calling in the cavalry. Your health and wellbeing are worth it!
If your landlord refuses or is not required to pay for an extermination, you’re on your own. Cleaning the house is an essential first step because killing individual roaches is useless if you have something that’s attracting more. Start with buying some caulk and seal off any cracks in your apartment. Then, buy some bug spray or traps and keep them around in case you see the roach(es) again. You may also want to consider doing a bug bomb, but this is not safe if you share vents with other renters. Also, consider your pets – buy spray should be used sparingly and cleaned up immediately after.
Together, these methods should eliminate most roach infestations, even in big cities. Before you know it, you’ll be doing a victory dance, singing “La Cucaracha.”