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Cockroaches
( Copyright 2011 Shawn Cole. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Cole Home Maintenance is an exterminator Located in Palatine and serving towns in
Lake County, Cook County, Mc Henry County, Du Page County, Kane County
630-306-7925
$60.00 to spray up to a 2 bedroom apt for bed bugs




Cole Home Maintenance will treat a 6-flat apartment building for

cockroaches for as low as $100, $150 for deluxe (longer lasting pesticide)




Cockroaches will invade any structure that has food preparation or stored food.  They will contaminate food, destroy fabric and paper products and leaved stains and odors to any surface they contact.  Cockroaches can spread Salmonella which causes food poisoning.

The German cockroach is the most common cockroach found in apartments and homes in the northern Illinois area.  They are 1/2 inch long, light brown with two dark stripes.  These pests are mostly found in the kitchen, bathrooms and any areas of food preparation and areas where food is stored.

Cockroaches hide in crevices and dark places during the day.  Around midnight or when your tenants go to bed and turn out the lights, the cockroaches come out from their hiding places to feast on food and drink water.  If you, as the owner of the apartment building were there at night and turned on the lights, you would see the cockroaches scattering everywhere to get out of the light and back into their dark hiding places.  The problem is that you are not there at night and it seems your tenants live with them, sometimes not even bothering to tell you there are cockroaches everywhere until the infestation is so huge, you are shocked at what you find.

German cockroaches  can run so fast, they can cover 50 times their body length in 1 second.  That is comparable to a human running 180 miles per hour.

A cockroach can go for long periods of time without food.  Cockroaches with their heads cut off, will have their body survive for weeks until it finally dies from dehydration.

Cockroaches repeatedly regurgitate (throw up some food) when feeding.  These secretions will contaminate stored foods.  Cockroaches often produce an objectionable odor which is a combination of their feces and saliva and regurgitated food.

Scientists say if the world were destroyed by a neuclar attack, cockroaches will be the last living things on the planet.  The reason for that is because radiation can only damage the cell structure when the cell is reproducing.  In humans and mammals, the cells are constantly dividing and thus constantly absorbing any radiation.  In a cockroach, the cells only divide when the cockroach is molting and thus receives very little radiation compared to other living animals and insects.  They will  survive while the rest of us will perish.

Cockroaches Are a Serious Health Problem

Cockroaches are not only a nuisance pest because most emit a repulsived odor if  large quantities of them are in an apartment building. But they also degrade the  apartment environment.   They are recognized as a health hazard that has been associated with higher risks of asthma symptoms.  Cockroaches may carry disease-causing bacteria and fungi that can contaminate food.  Studies have shown cockroaches to  be  carriers of Salmonella, a disease-causing bacteria, food poisoning that can be life-threatening.  They also carry bacteria such as Staphylococcus, streptococcus and other pathogens such as E.coli.  The reason is because cockroaches feed on contaminated food and the disease bacteria can remain in the cockroaches' digestive system for a month or more.   As that cockroach walks over dishes, counters and tables, it leaves feces and saliva on those surfaces which contaminate the food preparation and eating areas.

Asthma affects approximately 15 million people in the United States, nearly 5% of the total population. This results in more than 5,000 deaths.  These health problems have been documented to be associated with indoor cockroaches, especially in children.  Cockroaches leave behind old shells, saliva, body parts, body part dust, and their droppings which all contribute toward health hazards.  Bacteria on the bodies of roaches can cause vomiting, sneezing, diarrhea, and redden skin.

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) reports that one-in-five children in the United states have severe sensitivites to cockroach allergens, which increase the severitysevedrity of asthma symptoms.

Cole Home Maintenance Strategy

  Cole Home Maintenance believes that more needs to be done than simply killing the adult cockroaches that are currently in the apartment building.  It is important to also put down cockroach perventive methods that will continue to kill cockroaches over a longer period of time in order to kill the new cockroaches that are hatching from the eggs.

Some exterminators simply kill the cockroaches that are there at the time in order to keep coming back, and coming back.  This is not my policy.  While it is true that one spraying will kill the cockroaches that are there at that time, it is my policy to also apply  longer-term  chemicals that will continue to kill the cockroaches as they hatch from the eggs.

If you contact an exterminator and he tells you that one spraying will solve your problems forever,  become an educated building owner and learn why this is not true.  No honest exterminator can make that promise.

Also be skeptical of any exterminator who wants to lock you into a year's contract.  You may find yourself paying for spraying every month even when the cockroaches are no longer there.  Some other exterminators actually persuade building owners that spraying every month under a year's contract is necessary.  It is not.

How many times you need to have cockroaches sprayed depends on how many cockroaches and eggs you have in the building.  Cole recommends spraying the building apartments, including the laundry room  and know that Cole also applies a longer-acting treatment at the same time to kill the cockroaches that will hatch later from the eggs that are already in your building.  Those un-hatched eggs are a major source of re-infestation.  Wait two months to allow these treatments to do their job.  Any cockroaches that are hiding in closets and on the shelves near food will  leave their dark, protected areas and seek food in the kitchen where they will encounter the spray and long-term bait.

Since cockroaches tend to gather together in favorable spots in the apartment, cockroaches that encounter the baits will bring that bait back to other cockroaches.  Then see if you find if the infestation is gone.  Depending on the amount of infestation or re-infestation from your tenants, you may find that is all you need.  Remember German cockroaches, common in this area, can live up to 42 days without food or water.

Saturday, Sunday and Evenings

Cole Home Haintenance realized that most tenants are not home during the day and need to have their apartments sprayed in the evening or the weekends. There is no extra charge to any services during these times. In fact, Cole will do repairs in your building in the evenings and weekends to make it convenient for you and your tenants.

Illinois State License and Training are Required to Spray for Cockroaches

Exterminators (also known as pest control management professionals) must be licensed by the State of Illinois.  In order to obtain this license, the licensee goes through extensive training.   It is a violation of law for any person to spray for cockroaches and other pests in another person's building without having the proper license and certification from the State.

Why Are Cockroaches in the Apartments?

Cockroaches are found in restaurants and warehouses that contain food and food stores.  Your tenants can bring them home with the groceries and from where they work.  A roach can go undetected as it lives in the seams of cardboard boxes you bring home from the stores.  They especially like the corrugated types that hold fruits and vegetables.  Even if you examine boxes and packaging for live cockroaches, most of the time you won't see the small, newly hatched German cockroaches or the eggs of a brown banded cockroach which have been glued to the crevices of the cardboard.

Many people buy used furniture.  Some tenants, believe it or not actually pick up furniture left as trash by  people moving from one apartment or house to another.  Other people may find cockroaches and eggs on furniture bought at a garage sale or from friends who have extra furniture when they are moving who have cockroaches in their apartments. 

Cockroaches can also hitchhike on the clothing of guests who have cockroaches in their apartment who come to visit your tenants.  They can be on the coats and clothing of your co-workers at work and crawl onto your coat or crawl into your handbag or briefcase.   If another tenant in the building has a cockroach problem that is not taken care of quickly, these cockroaches will spread throughout the entire building, invading the other apartments.

Cockroaches can enter an apartment when they find an opening as thin as a dime when young or as thick as a quarter when adult.  They can move from one apartment to another inside the wall, crawling on water pipes and electrical wiring or under the doors to the hall.

Where Are Cockroaches Found?

Cockroaches concentrations are found in the kitchen drawers, under refrigerators, under sinks and behind baseboards on the lower parts of walls and behind, in and under kitchen cabinets.  They will hide in wall switches, lamps, furniture  clothes closets, behind loose wallpaper, inside hollow doors and under the refrigerator.  They like dark, damp areas that are  close to a water source and food.

What Do Cockroaches Eat?

A single cockroach can live for an entire year off the glue on a postage stamp.  Cockroaches are not fussy about what they eat.  In fact, they will eat everything that you do and some things you would not.  For instance, cockroaches will eat dog poop, rotten food, soap, paper, clothes, cigarette butts,  your favorite book, wood, human hair, nail clippings, leather, fabric and even the  glue on the back of your wallpaper or photo album.  They will eat any type of organic food source they find.

The kitchen is the favorite place for cockroaches to live.  If you make a sandwich and don't wipe the counter of the crumbs, this will become a feast for a cockroach.  If you put your dirty dishes in the sink and don't wash them right away and instead go to bed, when you turn off your lights, the cockroaches come out from their hiding places and feast on the left-over food.

Once the cockroaches find a source of food, they eat and leave a chemical trail from their bodies and feces as they walk all over your counters, floors, and tables.  This will help more cockroaches find that source of food the next evening.  That chemical trail attracts other cockroaches from other apartments to invade more  apartments. 

Some of Your Tenants Live With Cockroaches and Don't Care

Some of your tenants don't even both to complain to you so you don't know your building is infested until you are at your building and see them crawling in your laundry room and search some of the apartments.  Getting rid of cockroaches in an apartment building is particularly difficult because as an owner of the building, you have very little control over your  tenants.  Tenants leave out food.  They don't always wash their floors.  Their children drop cookie crumbs and other food all over the apartment.

You get your building clean and exterminate all the cockroaches and then a few months later you inspect your building only to find that it is infested again.  You begin to understand that getting rid of  cockroaches is a battle that is not cocquered for several reasons:

Preventing Re-Infestation

While you can't dictate where your tenants work or that they bring  friends over to visit that bring cockroaches with them on their clothes, you can try to talk to your tenants about keeping the apartment building clean after you get rid of the current infestation.  From experience, I can tell you that trying to have your tenants keep their apartments clean, wipe up food spills, don't leave food out, and ask them to put food in sealed containers is probably a losing propositoin.  This strategy only works with people who personally dislike cockroaches and absolutely do not want to live with them.  Unfortunately, many of the tenants in this area only care about cockroaches when the infestation is so bad, even they cannot stand it.

The only strategy for these people  is to hire Cole Home Maintenance (a licensed pest control technician) to exterminate all the cockroaches in the building.  Every month when you collect your rent, ask each tenant if they see any more cockroaches.  Don't depend on them to call you.  They probably won't.    Ask your tenants if they see the adults  or are starting to see only the small juveniles.  The sight of small juveniles means that the pest control techniques are working. The small cockroaches are the ones hatching from eggs that were laid.

Train Your Tenants to Dislike Cockroaches

Even tenants that are used to living with cockroaches will eventually like living in a clean, roach-free apartment when you, as the owner, ask them every month if they see any more cockroaches.  If one of your tenants say they still have roaches, that  means that the cockroach eggs are hatching or that they or  another apartment tenant has brought roaches into the building.  Even though an exterminator can rid your apartments of all the nymphs and adult cockroaches, the eggs will be waiting to hatch for a few months.

When your tenants know that you will take action to have an exterminator re-spray the apartment, the tenants will start informing you when you need to take action before the problem is huge.  Remember that many of your tenants don't complain about cockroaches because they lived in another apartment building where they did not a building owner who cared about eliminating cockroaches.    Asking  your tenants shows you care.

A side benefit of taking action because you care about cockroaches, is that your tenants may start to tell you about water leaks, broken fixtures etc., before there is a major problem.  Remember in Palatine and surrounding towns, water is expensived.  One leaky toilet in the building can make a huge difference when you get your water bill.

On a personal note,  I have found that once tenants know you will eliminate cockroaches in their apartment and not blame them, they also have a tendency to keep the front and back doors closed in winter, report leaky toilets, leaky faucets and actually do less damage to the apartment.  The tenants realize you care about their well being and they slowly start to respond to help you keep your property in good condition.  Everybody wants to live in nice conditions.  They realize that they do not want to move away to another building where a different owner allows cockroaches.  They begin to want to re-new their leases.

If you don't enlist your tenants to help you at eliminating the cockroaches, the problem will never go away.  You will probably find that the tenants start keeping their apartments cleaner because they  start to realize that they don't have to live with cockroaches.  If they see some, you will take action.

Repair Leaky Water Pipes and Clogged Drains

Even if you cannot persuade your tenants to keep food cleaned up and used as a source of cockroach food as well as they should, cockroaches must have water in order to live.  This means repairing leaking pipes that will attract cockroaches to find water.  This is why cockroaches live in kitchens and bathrooms where water is available.  Unless your tenants eat in the bedrooms, they probably are not in those rooms.  Clogged kitchen  drains, leaky water drain pipes under the sink attract any cockroaches in the apartment.  You can call Cole Maintenance when you have these problems.  Cole does not spray your apartment for cockroaches and then forget about you.  When you hire Cole, you have one phone number to call  for maintaining your apartment building -- whether it is cockroaches, leaky waer pipes, clogged pipes, problem doors, installation of fans, repair of electrical outlets -- the list goes on.

Check the laundry room for sources of water leaks that attract cockroaches.  Make sure that all your drains do not have  standing water.  Drainage pipes should be rodded to eliminate not only cockroaches, but cleaned before the tenants in several apartments tell you their water does not drain.  In other words, by making the environment unattractive to cockroaches, you also have less panic calls from your tenants.  (Have you noticed these calls always seem to happon on a Saturday night or just before a major Holiday?)

Two Main Cockroaches in this Area

There are approximately 3,000 species of cockroaches in the world and about 50 occur in the United States.  Of these, the most common in this area of northern Illinois is the German cockroach and the brown banded cockroach.

German Cockroach

The German cockroach is 1/2 inch to 5/8 inch long, tan to light brown and has two dark brown stripes on the body region just behind the head.  The females will produce four to eight egg capsules during their lifetime with each capsule containing approximately 40 eggs.  The egg capsule is retained by the female for 28 to 30 days.  She then deposits the eggs with 24 hours of hatching.  The eggs hatch from the combined pressure of the hatchlings gulping air.  The hatchlings are initially bright white nymphs and continue inflating themselves with air, becoming harder and darker within about four (4) hours.  Because of their white stage while hatching and later while molting, some people have claimed the existence of albino cockroaches.

The development from eggs to adults takes 3 to 4 months.  German cockroaches live up to a year.  Mathematically, this means that one female can produce 320 offspring over her lifetime.  Adult females live about 200 days.

German cockroaches are the most common indoor cockroach species in northern Illinois.  These cockroaches like warm, humid rooms that are between 70 to 75 degrees F.  These cockroaches are usually found in kitchens and bathrooms where  they are near the plumbing pipes.  They   live in groups rather than a solitary existence.

Brown Banded Cockroaches

The brown banded cockroach is 1/2 inch long, light brown and has two ligher colored bands running across the body.  These bands are located at the base of the wings and on the abdomen.  The bands are much darker during the immature stages.  The brown banded female carries the egg capsule for 24 to 48 hours before gluing it to the furniture, cabinets, or inside applicances,  The capsule contains approximately 18 eggs that hatch in 50 to 74 days.  The young reach maturity in about 160 days.  The nymph has two pale bands which run horizontally across its body.  An adult female produces about 18 capsules over a life-span of 10 months.  This means that one female can produce 324 offspring.

An adult male is golden brown and has a narrow body with its wings extending beyond the tip of its abdomen.  The female adult is dark brown and has a tear drop-shaped body and its wings do not completely cover the abdomen.  Both sexes have distinctive horizontal yellow bands.

The brown banded cockroach can survive on less moisture than a German cockroach.  The brown banded cockroach can be found on the underside of chairs, and tables, upper kitchen cabinets or upper shelves of closets and pantries.  The brown banded cockroach often infests electrical applicances such as radios, televisions, telephones and computers.  They usually do not cluster as noticeably German cockroaches.

General Information to Prevent Cockroaches

Sanitation is very important to eliminate cockroaches.  Apartment building owners need to educate their tenants about some things that they can do to eliminate a cockroach infestation:

In Summary

I hope that some of the mystery of how cockroaches invaded your building.  Remember that every owner of an apartment building has had to deal with this problem at one time or another.  You are not alone.   It is actually a common problem of doing business.  Please feel free to call Cole Home Maintenance when your building has a cockroach problem. 

Some important points to remember:



Cole Home Maintenance's objective is to keep your building clean and free of cockroaches, not to set you up to call me again and again.


630-306-7925 cell 24-7