Environment experts warn of potential for influx of cockroaches in Spain this summer

Tourists sunbathe on Palma Beach in Palma de Mallorca on March 29, 2021
-Credit: (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Holidaymakers jetting off to Spain are being alerted about a potential influx of cockroaches fuelled by climate change.

Spanish environmentalists have raised the alarm over an expected surge and say bars, restaurants and hotels should act swiftly if they come across an infestation.

Anecpla, Spain's National Association of Environmental Health Companies says the increase in cockroach numbers is linked to higher temperatures and longer summers. "A summer of significant cockroach infestations is approaching," said Jorge Galvan, Anecpla's general director.

He explained that the warming climate is causing pests such as bedbugs and cockroaches to speed up their life cycles dramatically.

Anecpla has also pointed to research showing that cockroaches breed more quickly at temperatures above 28C. Furthermore, stricter EU regulations on certain pesticides are making it increasingly difficult for pest control services to effectively manage these populations, reports Chronicle Live.

"The heat arrives in the middle of spring and does not end until well into autumn, so cockroach populations have only expanded," added Jorge. He warned that recent years have seen the emergence of random genetic mutations in cockroaches, making them resistant to the biocide products previously used for their control.

"Of course, environmental health professionals evaluate the cost-benefit that exists depending on the situation and we give preference whenever possible to physical and biological measures over chemical ones," noted the Anecpla chief. "But when there is no other possible solution for the adequate control of a pest such as, in this case, cockroaches, its use is essential."

Cockroaches are known to be one of the biggest risks, spreading harmful bacteria and viruses that can transmit diseases to humans, which is a particularly serious concern in the food industry. Tourists who spot infestations should report them to their accommodation providers immediately. To prevent infestations, it's crucial to maintain cleanliness, avoid leaving out food, store products in an orderly fashion, and use rubbish bins with secure lids.

Hotels and restaurants are also encouraged to adopt these preventative measures, seal any cracks or openings in walls, and arrange for regular inspections by environmental health professionals.

Last year saw holidaymakers expressing shock over an increase in bed bug cases reported across various UK and European destinations. Bed bugs are regarded as the most troublesome common pest infestation in the UK, invading bedrooms at night to feed on human blood, leading to skin irritation, itching, and even psychological effects.

Last year saw a surge in bed bug populations across European capitals such as Paris, with these pests infesting hotel rooms and even spotted emerging from the cushioned seats of public trains. The bed bug season usually kicks off at the end of spring and wraps up at the beginning of November, coinciding with the increase in summer travel.