Although there are many thousands of different cockroach species around the world, the majority of those live in tropical regions. Only two varieties will be commonly encountered here. We most commonly find the German cockroach which is light brown and around 12 to 15mm in length. We also have problems with the Oriental cockroach which is rather larger (typically 17 – 30mm in length) and very dark brown or black.

Although cockroaches can be found outdoors (around drains, dustbins and on refuse tips), they are generally encountered in warm buildings. They are frequently associated with restaurants, hotels, hospitals, prisons, and of course residential flats. They will always seek out a supply of food with high water content.

Cockroaches feed on more or less anything, including faecal matter and rotting waste materials. In consequence it should come as no surprise that they are a health risk because they can carry and spread disease. When they come into contact with food or even kitchen surfaces, utensils, crockery or cutlery, bacteria can be transferred and we can pick up gastro-intestinal diseases via the food we eat.

Female cockroaches produce up to eight egg cases each month throughout their lives. Each egg case will contain between 16-30 nymphs each.

The German cockroach carries the egg case behind her until the nymphs are ready to hatch out some 2-4 weeks later. Nymphs are small, transparent miniature (young) cockroaches. The nymphs develop, shedding their outer skin between five and seven times as they grow to maturity, usually around four months.

The Oriental cockroach deposits its egg case in a dark, sheltered place. After about two months the nymphs emerge. These shed their outer skin 7 to 10 times before reaching maturity. This can take anything from 10 months to two years. So, if you have had an infestation of Oriental cockroaches, it takes two years before you can be certain that it has been fully eradicated.


In most cases, common sense combined with good housekeeping and hygiene practices is all you need. Always make sure that your home is clean and store all opened food in pest proof containers. Unfortunately dried foods such as rice can become infested during commercial storage in warehouses and shops.

Even if you shop carefully, it’s hard to be certain that incoming foods are free from cockroaches. Within your food storage cupboards, cracks and crevices could provide a dark enclosure for cockroaches in your home. Where possible you should maintain your kitchen and any other food storage areas clean and in good repair.


If you have an infestation of insects that you suspect are cockroaches, you may already need professional help. We provide a free-of-charge insect identification service and you need only bring in an uncrushed specimen in a small jar or bottle. If we confirm that the insect is a cockroach, we will ask you some questions about where you live.

It would be helpful if you could ask your immediate (above, below and next door) neighbours whether they are also affected. Cockroaches are rarely satisfied with infesting just one flat within a block. It is important for you to take immediate action when you spot cockroaches in your home as they can quickly spread to your neighbours.


We’re happy to treat of a cockroach problem. We will also investigate complaints about other people who are failing to treat cockroach infestations. We make a charge for all treatment services but advice and investigation are free.

Get information on fees and charges on our pest control homepage.