In Case of Emergency

Although pests like mice and cockroaches do not pose an immediate health threat, they can result in adverse health effects for people with asthma and breathing problems. Contact the Healthy Homes Coalition for more information on Integrated Pest Management.  

Cockroaches

Cockroaches are not just a nuisance, they can make children sick. The presence of cockroaches increases the symptoms of asthma and allergies. The toxic chemicals used to spray and bomb them are harmful for children and can persist in the home.

Your home doesn’t have to be dirty to support cockroaches. Once they are in the home, they can survive with very little food and water. While cleaning up helps, a number of strategies used in combination is the best solution.

 

About

Cockroaches are most commonly found in basements, kitchens and bathrooms. There are four cockroaches that are common in Michigan: the American Cockroach, the Oriental Cockroach, the German Cockroach, and the Brown-banded Cockroach. See here for more information on the different kinds of cockroaches.

 

The Source

Cockroaches are hitchhikers. They come into the home by hitching a ride on clothes, backpacks, bags, and other items brought into the home. Used furniture and appliances can be especially problematic, as they can also carry cockroach egg cases. Contrary to popular belief, they do not typically crawl or fly from one house to another in Michigan.

 

Who is at Risk?

Children are put at risk when sprays and bug bombs are used to try to rid the home of pests. For people with asthma and allergies, cockroaches are extremely problematic as their saliva, exoskeletons, and feces are all highly allergenic.

 

Symptoms

The easiest way to detect cockroaches living a the home is to look for their feces, which looks like greasy black pepper and is often found in the corners of cabinets and shelving, along cracks, and by other hiding places. Of course seeing a cockroach itself is a sign of infestation. People with allergies or asthma will often exhibit symptoms when cockroaches are in the home.

 

Health Impacts

Cockroaches are an extremely common asthma trigger and are highly problematic for those with allergies. Some research points to their presence around young children as contributing to the development of asthma.

 

Solutions

Pests need food, water and shelter to survive. Removing those makes it very hard for pests to survive in your home.  Sprays and other pesticides should not be used, as they endanger people living in the house and only kill bugs when they come into contact with them.

You can take these Integrated Pest Management (IPM) steps to eliminate cockroaches:

  • Keep all living areas uncluttered and clean.
  • Eat in one area of the home to contain crumbs and food clean up.
  • Put all food, food scraps and pet food in tightly sealed containers.
  • Keep trash in a sealed container.
  • Mop and clean surfaces at least once a week.
  • Fix all plumbing and water leaks.
  • After food, water, and shelter have been removed, bait stations and insect growth regulators can be used to kill the existing population.

 

Click here for IPM Services for Families

Click here for IPM Services for Landlords

Image Credit: National Center for Healthy Housing

Did You Know...

Cockroaches can fit in a crack as thin as a dime.

Healthy Homes in the News

Parents, a Healthy Homes Coalition board member, and staff were all featured on a Michigan Radio news story. We are sharing it here in case you missed it.

In the words of one of Healthy Homes’ newest board members, grandparent Lisa Matthews, "“People think (lead) is a small problem, but it’s a very big problem. I know it takes time to do something about it … I’m just sayin’ what are we going to do now?”

Healthy Homes is eager to begin working with the City and community partners to implement the solutions recommended in this report.


Join the Healthy Homes Team!

The Healthy Homes Coalition is looking for a Community Organizer to support Parents for Healthy Homes as they advance equity and safety for our kids by promoting policies, investments, and systems that put an end to substandard housing for Grand Rapids families.


Spotlight: Lisa's Peer Education visits take off!

Lisa Matthews' reputation as a connected community member precedes her - she has been helping her neighbors get access to, and navigate, area resources for years.  Among the important community work Lisa dedicates her time to, she has made providing her neighbors with lead education visits as a community educator one of her priorities.  She has been instrumental in helping the peer education group she is a member of complete 44 peer-to-peer lead education visits in a matter of months...