Cockroach advice

The two types of cockroaches found in the U.K. that may cause a health risk are the Oriental Cockroach and the German Cockroach. Both species were accidentally introduced and are nonnative to the UK.

Oriental Cockroach (Blatta orientalis)

The Oriental Cockroach is the larger of the two with adults growing up to 18 to 29 mm long. It is dark brown in colour with a glossy body.

A close-up of a Oriental Cockroach on the ground.







Some males are capable of short flight up to 2 to 3 meters. They prefer to live in humid dark places close to sources of food, such as sewers, drains and damp basements. Mostly nocturnal, infested areas may show no signs of activity to the untrained eye during the day.

German Cockroach (Blattella germanica)

Adult German Cockroaches are usually between 13 to 16mm long. They can be tan, brown or almost black in colour and have two dark parallel streaks running from their head to the base of their wings.

A close up of a German Cockroach on a leaf.






They can emit an unpleasant odour when exited or frightened

Health Risk

Cockroaches can contaminate foodstuffs with their droppings, dirt carried on their body as well as broken wings, legs etc. Due to the environment they live in they can also potentially transmit dysentery, gastro enteritis, typhoid and food poisoning infections such as salmonella. As a consequence of their risk to public health there is a legal duty on property owners, occupiers and business operators to keep their property free from cockroaches.

Reporting Cockroaches

Please contact health admin on telephone number 01474 337000, or Environmental Protection via email at If it involves a food business the matter will be referred to the council’s Commercial Team for investigation. If it involves a private rented residential property then the Environmental Protection Team can write to the landlord reminding them of their legal duty and provide them with pest control advice.

How do I treat Cockroaches?

Gravesham Borough Council does not provide a pest treatment service to treat for cockroaches. It is the responsibility of the occupier and owner of a property to take all reasonable actions to keep their property free from pests.

The following actions can help with keeping your property free from cockroaches and controlling an existing infestation.

  • Maintaining good hygiene is essential in denying cockroaches access to food. Surfaces need to be cleared of food and crumbs, grease needs to be removed from kitchen hobs etc, food residue around the base of cookers etc needs to be cleared up.
  • Food and waste should be stored in pest proof containers.
  • Empty and wash out internal bins regularly.
  • Do not leave dirty dishes out overnight.
  • Cockroaches love moisture and are attracted to water, fix any dripping taps and leaks.
  • Cracks and crevices must be suitable sealed to deny harbourage and access, especially around drains and pipework.

Whilst there are insecticides available over the counter for the treatment of cockroaches they are not as effective as insecticides available to professional pest control services. It is therefore recommended that you seek professional help at the first signs of an infestation. Details of pest control companies can be found in your local telephone directory and online.

If you live in a council owned property then you must advise your housing officer of the infestation.