Cockroach eating pear

Cockroaches

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Cockroaches

Finding cockroaches in your home or business can be very distressing. Cockroaches are  known carriers of diseases such as Salmonella, Dysentery & Gastro-enteritis, exposure to this pest also poses significant health risks. Increases in eczema and asthma have even been linked to cockroach droppings.

Cockroaches are very tough insects and their ability to breed rapidly makes professional treatment essential to control any infestation. Only expert products and solutions are powerful enough to eliminate all stages of their lifecycle.

Why are cockroaches pests?

Cockroaches carry with them a number of diseases that can be potentially quite serious to humans.

Cockroaches in your place of business can ruin your reputation and they are notoriously considered a sign of an unclean space. However, there are other concerns that make cockroaches pests that must be dealt with by professionals.

Cockroaches can bring about illnesses such as:

  • Food poisoning - because they like to eat rotten food and crawl around unsanitary places, they can track germs across the food on your counter and in cabinets and that can cause food poisoning.
  • Dysentery - a disease that comes from ingesting fecal matter, which cockroaches are more than happy to walk across and then bring onto your food.
  • Tapeworms - which can cause serious illness and problems with digesting food in humans and other animals.
  • Roundworm - parasite organisms, such as pinworms, that can be very dangerous to humans and cause illnesses such as trichinosis.
  • Fungus - cockroach droppings, shed skins and other material can develop fungi that will affect the lungs or eyes. Those with asthma can be very much at risk from fungus left by cockroaches.
  • Viruses - roaches are known to carry a number of viruses including those as serious as polio.
  • Allergies - cockroach droppings, skins and saliva are one of the leading causes of allergies for those who live in urban locations

Do Cockroaches smell?

Yes, whilst a single cockroach may not produce a strong odour, a cockroach infestation will definitely provide you with a heavy scent that is distinguishable. The smell can be described as musty, sweet and sometimes like almond and this can taint food and surfaces they come in contact with.s.  

If you have noticed an unpleasant, lingering odour under sinks, behind appliances or in store cupboards, it’s time to check for signs of cockroaches.

Cockroaches have been found as fossils and encased in amber dating back millions of years. Experts estimate that cockroaches are between 350 - 400 million years old.

They are highly resilient and can breed rapidly. A quick response at the very first sign of an infestation is essential to control cockroaches in your property and to stop the spread of this pest to your neighbours.

Rentokil Effective Cockroach Control

Once an infestation is established, cockroaches can spread quickly to neighbouring properties. This makes prompt action at the first signs of activity critical to enable fast and effective control.

At Rentokil, our British Pest Control Association (BPCA) certified technicians are able to provide customised, targeted treatments to guarantee complete control of your cockroach problem and help to prevent a re-infestation.

If you are unsure on how to remove cockroaches or preventing them from returning, the pest specialist technicians are highly trained  at Rentokil can provide you with peace of mind to solve your pest problem.

1. Contact

Call us and we will arrange for your local team to contact you

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2. Survey

We will discuss your pest problem, arrange a survey if necessary, and provide a quote and recommendations

  • Appointment at a time convenient to you
  • Solutions tailored to your pest problem
  • BPCA certified

3. Treatment

Our BPCA certified technicians will come out to provide your treatment

  • Appointment at a time convenient to you
  • Tailored treatment & effective solutions offered
  • Child & pet friendly treatments

4. Aftercare

We'll make as many visits as required to ensure your problem is resolved

  • Pest identification & prevention advice
  • Effective & discrete solutions
  • Peace of mind
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Know your cockroach

Although there are over 3000 different species of roaches around the planet, the ones that are most common in the U.K:

  • German cockroach - these roaches prefer to live and breed indoors and most often found around your kitchen or scurrying around your bathroom. 
  • American cockroach - found in basements and kitchens, but prefer to breed outdoors and live on trees. 
  • Oriental cockroach - dark black or brown in color they love cool, damp areas. These are a health concern because they love to feed on garbage and decaying things.
  • Brown banded - One of the smallest species on 10-15mm length. Usually stay on the ground however have the ability to fly in warmer climates.

Do It Yourself Cockroach Products

Rentokil have a range of Do-It-Yourself products to combat smaller cockroach infestations. However once an infestation is established, this will require a professional pest exterminator to ensure that the problem is eliminated. In many cases, a thorough disinfection of the infested room or building is required, to quickly reduce the disease-causing organisms left after a heavy infestation.

Cockroach FAQ


  • How do I know if I have a cockroach infestation?

    Signs of a cockroach problem can be identified by physical evidence such as:

    • Cockroach droppings
    • Unusual and distinctive odour — caused by their droppings
    • Smear marks
    • Shed skin
    • Cockroach eggs — called ootheca
    • Damage caused by cockroaches, such as chewed packaging
    • Actual sightings of live or dead cockroaches, or body parts, in kitchens, laundry rooms, drains, roof voids and damp basements

    See our main page on signs of a cockroach infestation for more details.


  • Where should I look for cockroaches?

    Some species of cockroach prefer warmer, damp areas while others prefer cooler conditions. These are the areas in a building where they are found:

    • Kitchens: cupboards, cabinets, hidden areas under sinks, behind machinery such as dishwashers, hidden spaces in appliances
    • Bathrooms: at the back of cabinets, around the plumbing, in the drainage pipes, and any sheltered/hidden dark places
    • Laundry rooms: in cupboards under sinks, around the plumbing, in hidden spaces in washing machines and dryers
    • Basements: in cracks and gaps in walls and floors, under floor boards, in boxes and piles of paper material
    • Drains: inside drains, entering through damaged covers or pipes, and gaps around pipes
    • Outdoors: beneath decking, in undisturbed areas in outbuildings, in rubbish tips

    See our page on signs of cockroach infestation for more details.


  • What cockroach species are found in the U.K?

    There are several species found in the U.K:

    German cockroach, American cockroach, Oriental cockroach and brown banded cockroach.


  • Can cockroaches fly?

    Yes some species are better at flying than others. Eastern and German cockroaches cannot fly.


  • How do you get rid of cockroaches?

    There are various products sold in DIY stores. However professional treatments are often the most effective way to get rid of cockroaches in your home or business.


  • Best treatments against cockroaches?

    For a small infestation you can try the DIY Rentokil products that you can purchase over the counter.  For intense infestations, more specialised products are required to target the places where cockroaches hide, breed and live and can only be applied by certified pest contractors.


  • What products are effective for killing cockroaches?

    As a professional pest control company Rentokil offers a full range of effective insecticides and effective protection products against cockroach infestation.


  • Do cockroaches bite?

    Cockroaches are omnivorous, they eat everything that is edible. They do not attack people who are awake but can bite while sleeping. However only large species can pierce human skin.


  • Where do cockroaches live?

    Cockroaches are closely associated with the human environment and have become pests worldwide. They are attracted to buildings where there is food, moisture and, in colder climates, warmth. They feed on a wide range of human foods and also organic materials such as cardboard, glue, faeces, dead animals and fellow cockroaches. They can pick up diseases from the filth in their surroundings and readily transmit them onto food and surfaces.