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Cockroaches have become well adapted to living with and near humans. They do not bite, but they can physically carry contaminates that may make people sick. 

Cockroaches prefer a moist, warm habitat and are customarily scavengers. Cockroaches will eat a great variety of materials, including cheese and bakery products, but they are especially fond of starchy materials, sweet substances, and meat products.

Cockroaches are primarily nocturnal. Daytime sightings may indicate potentially heavy infestations. They tend to hide in cracks and crevices and can move freely from room to room or adjoining housing units via wall spaces, plumbing, and other utility installations. Entry into homes is often accomplished through food and beverage boxes, grocery sacks, animal food, and household goods carried into the home. 

The Erie County Department of Health does not perform inspections to identify cockroaches or provide extermination services.

4 Management Strategies for Controlling Cockroaches

The first is prevention. This strategy includes inspecting items being carried into the home and sealing cracks and crevices in kitchens, bathrooms, exterior doors, and windows. Structural modifications would include weather stripping and pipe collars. 

The second strategy is sanitation. This denies cockroaches food, water, and shelter. These efforts include quickly cleaning food particles from shelving and floors; timely washing of dinnerware; and routine cleaning under refrigerators, stoves, furniture, and similar areas. If pets are fed indoors, pet food should be stored in tight containers and not left in bowls overnight. Litter boxes should be cleaned routinely. Access should be denied to water sources by fixing leaking plumbing, drains, and sink traps. Elimination of shelter can be partially accomplished by purging clutter, such as papers and soiled clothing and rags. 

The third strategy is trapping. Commercially available cockroach traps, also known as ‘glue traps’, can be used to capture roaches and serve as a monitoring device. The most effective trap placement is against vertical surfaces, primarily corners, and under sinks, in cabinets, basements, and floor drains. For additional information see Get Rid of Cockroaches and What's Bugging You.  

The fourth strategy, if necessary, is chemical control/use of pesticides. If extermination is needed, occupants or property owners should hire a licensed professional exterminator, also known as a Pesticide Applicator, to identify the cause of an infestation and determine the best way to get rid of the problem. See the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Certified Pesticide Applicators to search for licensed professionals near you.