Abu Dhabi: If you think use of chemicals and other alternative pest control substances can effectively wipe out cockroaches from your home, think again. According to the Abu Dhabi Waste Management Centre (Tadweer), pest control measures must necessarily be backed by routine housekeeping, with maintenance of proper cleanliness and hygiene.
Engineer Mohammad Al Marzooqi, director of Pest Control Projects at Tadweer, said, “We may apply the necessary pest control substances, but if residents fail to maintain regular hygiene and cleanliness at home, our efforts will go futile and the pests will come back after some time.”
Giving Gulf News access to a heavily infested apartment on Hamdan Street in the capital during an inspection tour this week, Tadweer officials demonstrated how poorly maintained homes become breeding grounds for cockroaches and other insects.
With the apartment’s kitchen and adjacent room piled up with old, discarded goods, it was only natural that they attracted pests, they said.
“The house owner has piled up useless polythene bags, plastic boxes and aluminium utensils which are now filled with German cockroaches and their countless eggs,” said a Tadweer spokesperson.
The team first vacuumed the live roaches and their eggs, following which it rolled out “catchmaster” insect traps and monitor sheets at different spots. One two-by-two inch sheet can capture almost 100 roaches at a time. Non-chemical glue-based insect traps were also used with gel.
“Undisposed materials, cluttered commodities and unclean kitchens are the main reasons for heavy infestation of roaches. Regular housekeeping must be carried out and proper hygiene maintained,” the spokesperson said.
Al Marzooqi said, “We have asked the house owner to remove unnecessary materials, discarded plastic cans and polythene bags. It looks like they have been piled up for a long time. Dumping and accumulation of waste and absence of regular cleaning increase the harbourage for insects.”
Tadweer officials said in such scenarios, pest control treatment cannot prove to be effective. Residents must cooperate by keeping their homes clean with regular housekeeping, they added.
The Hamdan Street apartment resident, who did not want to be named, said, “We needed treatment only for cockroaches in the kitchen as bedrooms and bathrooms are safe. We have tried using insect killer sprays in the kitchen but to no avail.”
She acknowledged that the problem was a long-standing one and that her niece and she had even developed asthma at one point in time.
Tadweer officials confirmed that pest infestations also cause asthmatic problems among residents.
“Presence of insects in the house aggravates asthma. The dust of the cockroaches is an allergen and affects humans, particularly children and older people,” the spokesperson said.
He spoke of how Tadweer had once encountered a home where pests had crept into the drainage. “The house had seven adults and three children. We told the building owners to address the pest problem but they showed no concern. Eventually they agreed to use gel and pest traps after vacuuming the live pests. Since there were children at home, chemical sprays had to be avoided. “
How to keep homes safe from pests
- Remove all clutter – cardboard, plastic boxes, cans, polythene bags etc
- Make regular inspections and routine comprehensive cleaning of home.
- Block small cracks in the foundation or small holes in the roof, doors and windows.
- Remove any wood piles or debris as insects often take shelter in moist and dark areas.
- Don’t allow soil or mulch to build up around the foundation. Firewood should be stored away from the home.
- Make sure garbage cans and reycling bins amd poly bags are sealed and placed away from the house.
- Clean the kitchen regularly. Clear food from all surfaces, clean dishes every night, and sweep floors of crumbs.