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With the holidays behind us, the presents have given way to piles of cardboard boxes and mounds of wrapping paper. While the paper is easy to get rid of, the bulky boxes often present more of a challenge. What should you do with them? It’s fine to pile those boxes up against the wall in the garage, right?

Unwelcome Guests: Cockroaches in Packages

When new items arrive at your house, it’s important to remember that your order may not be alone. CUE OMINOUS MUSIC! Joking aside, it isn’t uncommon for cockroaches and other pests to catch a ride from a manufacturing or storage facility to your home. A few simple tips can help limit the potential for introducing new pests:

  • When new items arrive, unbox them outside or in the garage. If there happens to be a stowaway in or on the box, you won’t unintentionally invite them inside your home.
    • Secondhand scores from a yard sale or vintage shop should be looked over well and cleaned before placement in their new space as well.
  • Regarding holiday presents, removal from shipping boxes before wrapping limits introduction in the same way.

The goal in any of these instances is to leave any unintentional tagalongs outside, limiting the need for treatment later.

Shelter, Food, and Relative Privacy: Cockroach Heaven

After the holidays are over and the trash is done away with, there are often boxes left behind, taking up space in the corner of your garage, attic, basement, or any number of places. Each of these locations can be “out of sight, out of mind,” resulting in the perfect place for cockroaches to live, breed, and even find nutrition.

Despite regularly coexisting with humans, cockroaches want little to do with us other than what we provide them. Let’s face it, if we pick something up and one runs out, we get frightened, they get frightened, and we both become frantic. Boxes left and forgotten in areas we don’t frequently go in our houses can be ideal shelter for roaches, offering a dark, protected, private place for them to establish and thrive.

If in a place where excess moisture is a concern, cardboard absorbs it. This can result in a source of water and even nutrition for the cockroaches if they consume the cardboard or glues. In pest control, a triangle is often used to describe the requirements for a pest population. The three sides of this pest triangle are:

  1. The pest itself
  2. A host or environment they can thrive in
  3. Food and water capable of sustaining the pest

As outlined above, stored cardboard boxes can offer a roach nutrition and a place to live, meaning the last piece of the puzzle is the pest itself.

What Can I Do about Cockroaches?

Simply removing the boxes and cleaning the area where they were stored are steps one and two. By doing so, we remove the shelter and one of their sources of sustenance. Cleaning that area is also important. Their excrement can cause respiratory issues and attract other roaches.

In the event removing the boxes isn’t enough to rid your living space of the unwanted guests, a trusted pest control professional can be consulted to discuss which treatment options may be optimal for your home.

Important Takeaways:

  • Opening newly arrived items outside your home or in a garage helps keep unwanted visitors outside of your living spaces.
  • Inspecting new items and inspecting/cleaning secondhand items helps ensure that you don’t accidentally bring pests into your home.
  • Discarding unused cardboard boxes helps limit spaces where cockroaches can establish themselves.
  • If a population has established, removing the cardboard and cleaning the area removes living space and nutrition, as well as eliminates the fecal matter that may cause respiratory issues or attract other cockroaches.
  • Contacting a trusted pest control professional may be needed to discuss the best control methods to rid your space of these undesirable pests.