A Bug's Life Defending Your Home Against Six-Legged Invaders

Although spring ushers in a host of good things–like warm weather, longer days, and lower heating bills–the season also brings with it a proliferation of critters, not all of them welcome.

Unfortunately, most condo and co-op dwellers are familiar with New York City’s most prevalent indoor insect: the cockroach. Other pests–such as ants and termites–tend to be less of a problem in a city with the size and climate of New York. According to several pest control professionals, even bedbugs (numbers of which have increased in New York City in recent years) are still not nearly as pervasive a problem as roaches.

Profile of a Cockroach

Aside from just being plain "gross," roaches can be unpleasant–even harmful–in less obvious ways, too. Their fecal matter can contaminate the air, which can cause respiratory trouble in people with allergies, or people with weak or delicate lungs–particularly young children and the elderly. Roaches also track germs and bacteria into the apartment that can also cause respiratory distress or sickness.

Three types of cockroaches predominate in the United States: the German, the brown bandit, and the American (known rather euphemistically as "water bugs"). In New York City, German cockroaches are the most abundant. Unlike American cockroaches, which flourish in the warmer, more humid climates of the South, German cockroaches can survive even in the chilliest, draftiest New York apartment. And while brown bandit roaches are more or less "nomads," according to Nana Kojo of Kojo’s Pest Elimination and Pest Control in the Bronx, often traveling individually or in small groups, German cockroaches tend to "cluster" in groups, resulting in sickeningly high reproductive rates. Considering the fact that a roach, which reproduces every six weeks, can produce forty to forty-two eggs in one egg sac (adding up to roughly a million new roaches per year, if you count the offspring’s offspring), "clustering" does not bode well for apartment dwellers.


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  • This comment is more related to non chemical prevention. II never go to garage sales, buy used articles that might harbour roaches, avoid boxes/bags and use net bags when I shop. It may not always work but I have never had a roach invasion yet.
  • West Side Cooperator on Saturday, June 29, 2013 3:31 PM
    Exterminate the little buggers yourself! I live in one of those co-ops that are so socially concious that they have allowed rats to run rampant on the grounds at night, because (literally) two squirrels died because they did not read that the signs were rat bait. I live above two restaurants and doubt that I have seen 10 roaches in the twenty years because I use roach baits that I purchase directly from the drugstore, and also use gels and egg eliminators. Needless to say, one never leaves dirty dishes in the sink overnight, and never leave trash sitting inside the house overnight either. However, my co-op spent over $250;000 in trying to eliminate bedbugs with that stupid dog's company. The cheapest and easiest way to eliminate any pests is by utilizing the heat of the summer on its hottest days. If you are going away for even a few days at a time, close all doors and windows, and keep the apartment as hot as you can while you're gone. This will kill anything moving. Of course, be careful to remove all pets and combustibles. Me, I prefer the chemical treatments, which can cause problems for pets roaming around the house, and small children, but can be used with children who are old enough to understand not to touch anything while wet. During those days, it is best to evacuate your space for up to eight hours. I knew that I was in trouble when one of my neighbors sniffed and asked wheter I had bedbugs, and when I replied no, sniffed and said that I would. I had exactly one (that's another story, but be careful to shake out your clothes after you leave your friends homes). I used a twenty year old unopened bottle of Dursban, which I was too cheap to throw out, and was just the thing that I needed to inssure that I had no bedbugs. I move all furniture and clothing into the middle of the floor of each room; washed everything washable (even rugs and carpets) with ammonia to wipe out bug trails; and sprayed into every crack and crevice with the Dursban. You must spray twice -- the initial spraying of everything, and a second spraying ten days later. I have never had a roach or bedbug problem, but get friends of mine out of state to purchase professional exterminator supplies, specifically Bayer Professional exterminator supplies like Suspend, or Cyanara 9:7, and they bring them back into the city. Ironically, the New York City Council asked for permission to use these insecticides to kill off bed bugs too.