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Preventing cockroaches

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What is the issue?
Cockroaches are a common infesting insect in warm climates. They make boating life unpleasant, unhealthy, and lonesome.

Why address this?
Once a few cockroaches have arrived aboard and establish themselves they are prolific breeders. With the tiniest amount of food and water they are capable of producing thousands of offspring annually and building an infestation very quickly. Roaches carry bacteria that cause food poisoning and have recently been found to be a source of allergy. Justifiably most people find them repulsive and once it is known that you have them aboard your vessel, friends will no longer want to visit. Worse still they will live in fear that you will visit their vessel should you carry any eggs aboard.

How to address this?
The key to preventing cockroaches is to stop them arriving on your vessel and to create an inhospitable roach environment aboard.

In some cases, cockroaches wander into a vessel from pontoons or harbour walls. This may be easily addressed by lying to anchor offshore.

Most cockroaches however become established in yachts after being introduced in grocery boxes, bags, product cardboard wrapping, within fruit and vegetables, both as insects or eggs. The solution is to make a policy of not allowing cardboard bags/boxes/product wrapping aboard the vessel under any circumstances and to wash all fruit and vegetables before taking them aboard. If you have walked in areas where roaches were present, or indeed upon roaches, make certain to wash off your shoes before returning to your vessel.

Cockroaches need to have food, warmth and moisture to take hold. Sanitation is an important step in prevention and control. There should not be crumbs or spillages aboard that have not been cleaned up. All surfaces and areas around the galley must be clean and food containers should be sealed. Likewise all staples, flour, rice etc should be stored in solid airtight containers. There should be no food source available whatsoever.

Prevention is key. With a little due diligence and forethought you can avoid introducing cockroaches to your vessel.

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.

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