News > You found a cockroach in your apartment. Now what?
You found a cockroach in your apartment. Now what?
February 27, 2022
We know it kind of sucks.
But it doesn’t mean it’s a disaster.
It’s happened to the best of us: You’re living in an apartment in what you think is a pretty decent (or even luxury) apartment building; the hallways and common areas are kept clean; you keep your own suite clean and disinfected. But then it happens: You go to the kitchen one morning and see a weird bug in the sink.
You take a picture, do some Googling, and realize that you are, in fact, looking at a cockroach.
What do you do?
5 steps to solving the cockroach problem in your apartment
1. Don’t panic.
Sure, it’s gross, but seeing one roach in a sink doesn’t mean your whole home is infested or suddenly uninhabitable. If the cockroach is alive, kill it, then put the body in a sealable plastic bag and dispose of it outside your unit.
2. Notify your landlord/superintendent immediately.
If you’re living in a multi-unit residential property, whether it’s a house divided into apartments or a huge apartment building, any pest problem is a building problem. And don’t be embarrassed: Your landlord, superintendent and property management company would rather know you’ve seen a single cockroach in your sink than wait for months to hear from other tenants that they’re swarming all over the building. Your early identification of a problem is saving them time, money and stress.
(And the truth is that if you’ve seen one cockroach, there are more. It might not be a full-on infestation, but german cockroaches – the ones most commonly seen in southern Ontario – generally don’t go on solo expeditions.)
3(b). Check and clean your kitchen (and bathroom, probably).
Cockroaches tend to hang around kitchens when there are damp areas or food sources. So even if you’re normally a pretty clean and tidy housekeeper, it’s worth giving the cupboard under your sink a good clean and inspection for any leaky pipes, just in case something’s happened that you haven’t noticed. It’s also worth going through your cupboards to make sure there’s no open food and you haven’t had a sudden colonization of a forgotten box of cereal in the back somewhere.
It’s also worth giving your bathroom a good inspection as well, especially under the sink.
And let’s face it: If you’ve found a cockroach, you probably feel like bleaching every surface in sight anyway.
3(b) Check the laundry and garbage areas.
In larger apartment buildings, laundry and garbage areas tend to be where roaches can get a foothold first. So if you’ve seen one in your unit and you want the management to act quickly, it’s worth checking laundry and garbage areas, too – and take a couple of pictures if you find cockroaches in those areas.
4 Get a caulking gun and start sealing stuff up.
Bugs, including roaches, can move from apartment to apartment via the walls. So you want to protect your unit by ensuring there are no little gaps: You’ll want to seal any gaps around pipes under your sink, gaps between floors and baseboards, gaps around windows, gaps around radiators, etc.
5. Get some roach spray, baits and traps.
While you’re waiting for your superintendent to get a pest control company to come in to inspect, treat or spray, you should probably get some roach traps from the hardware store. Put them in your kitchen, bathroom, or in any area where you’ve seen the first roach. These will serve two purposes: First, of course, they’ll trap anything that comes by. Even more importantly, they’ll give you a better insight into what you’re dealing with, because if you leave them out for a couple of days and catch nothing, you’ll have some peace of mind that the one you saw was more ‘random’ than ‘infestation’.
Stay on top of the situation.
As a renter in Ontario, you have a right to a pest-free space. In our experience, most landlords, property managers and superintendents are pretty responsive to pest reports (and it’s in their best interests to be responsive). But if they aren’t, don’t hesitate to insist that treatment is done. It’s better if the whole property is treated at the same time, so you might also want to speak to your neighbours as well: If you’re all letting the superintendent that there’s a problem, that may speed up the response.