Forget the blue screen of death, or forgetting to delete your browser history — these are not the scariest things that can happen to your desktop computer. The computer case that houses your system's motherboard and other vital components can also become a breeding ground for German cockroaches.
Why Do German Cockroaches Invade Desktop Computers?
Like most insect pests, German cockroaches are attracted to habitats that are warm, dark, and sheltered. The inside of your desktop computer's case ticks all of these boxes. Because German cockroaches are much smaller than other cockroach species (about half an inch long), they can easily squeeze through tiny gaps and ventilation ports in your desktop's case.
With more people than ever working from home, eating at your home workstation is becoming more common. Unfortunately, German cockroaches are more likely to infest your computer if there is access to nearby food sources. This could be unsealed snacks that you leave on your desk overnight, or crumbs and food debris caught in your keyboard.
Can German Cockroaches Damage Your Desktop Computer?
German cockroaches may be small, but they can still seriously disturb the internal workings of your desktop as they crawl around inside. They can cause irreparable damage to exposed circuit boards and chipsets, and cause power surges if they touch any components carrying a live current.
Moving components, such as CPU fans, are especially vulnerable. German cockroaches are not long-lived, and the bodies of dead cockroaches can jam moving components.
You will also have to worry about cockroach excrement, which is highly acidic and corrodes metal components. It also smells pretty terrible, and a strong, musty odor coming from your computer should always be a cause for concern.
What Should You Do If You Find German Cockroaches In Your Desktop Computer?
If you open up your desktop's case, only to be confronted with a teeming mass of cockroaches, shut off its power supply as quickly as possible, and disconnect all wires and cables. Until the cockroaches are removed, you should consider your desktop unusable.
If German cockroaches have found their way into your computer, they have almost certainly infested other areas of your home, such as your kitchen, crawl space, or bathroom. These tiny cockroaches are notoriously difficult to control, even when compared to other cockroach species. They breed incredibly quickly and form massive underground colonies that are very difficult to eradicate.
For these reasons, you should call in a professional pest control service as quickly as possible. Your service will give your home a full inspection, and determine how the cockroaches made it into your computer in the first place. They will also check other parts of your home for signs of infestation, and figure out where the cockroaches are breeding.
Once their colonies and breeding sites have been isolated, your service will come up with a long-term plan to control and destroy the roaches. They may deploy poisoned bait traps, and spray infested areas with long-lasting, residual insecticides. These traps and sprays are far more powerful than anything available to members of the public and will stop the infestation in its tracks.
Because German cockroaches breed so quickly, it can take weeks or months to fully control an infestation and get these pests out of your home. To speed the process, your pest control service may deploy insect growth regulators or IGRs. These chemicals alter the reproductive cycle of cockroaches and effectively prevent German cockroaches from breeding.
Don't forget about your poor computer. If you are reasonably familiar with assembling and disassembling desktops, you can remove the cover and blast the cockroaches away with compressed air and/or computer degreaser sprays. If you are (understandably) not comfortable with doing this yourself, some computer and electronic repair services will be willing to clean and, if necessary, repair your desktop.
Make sure to tell them the nature of the problem upfront -- if you don't, your desktop may be sent back untouched. Be aware that most services willing to tackle the problem will charge an additional, non-refundable biohazard fee for dealing with the cockroaches.