Cockroaches have been on earth for more than 300 million years and are excellent at adapting to new environments. There are over 4,000 species of cockroaches in the world and over 60 species in the United States. Among the cockroaches found in the U.S. these are the most common home invaders: American, Australian, brown, brownbanded, German, oriental, Pennsylvania Wood and Smokybrown cockroaches. German Cockroaches are responsible for most cockroach infestations. These pests can bring a variety of disease-causing germs into your home that can trigger allergic reactions and transmit illnesses such as food poisoning, hepatitis and diarrhea.
In extremely rare instances cockroaches will “bite” humans. In heavy infestations, cockroaches may be found nibbling on food particles they find on people. If a cockroach does truly bite, it is relatively harmless and may leave just a small mark.
Cockroaches prefer warm and humid environments and are traditionally from tropical and subtropical regions. Cockroaches are scavengers which is one of the reasons why they are so good at adapting to different environments and situations. They will eat almost anything but prefer grease, meat, sweets and starches. Cockroaches will also eat glue, the material in book bindings and dead skin flakes. Some species, like the German Cockroach, will eat their own young.
The female cockroach will produce an egg capsule that can have anywhere from 4 to 60 eggs depending on the species. Some cockroach species will carry the egg capsule up until the time when the eggs are ready to hatch where others will carry it for a short period before depositing it in a safe area for the eggs to develop. When cockroaches hatch, they look like tiny versions of the adults. Cockroaches will shed their skins as they grow. Development from egg to adult can take anywhere from two months to two years, and depends on the temperature, humidity level and species.
Types of Cockroaches
The usual suspects when it comes to cockroach pests can range in size from ½-inch to 3 ½-inch and have dark brown to black bodies. Some species of cockroaches have distinguishable markings, such as the two black “racing stripes” that German Cockroaches have down the length of their bodies and the mask-like marking on the heads of Brownbanded Cockroaches. These insects have oval-shaped bodies that are broad and flat.
Cockroaches In The House & The Apartment
Since they are nocturnal, they spend the day hiding in tiny cracks and crevices. Cockroaches seek out dark sheltered areas with plenty of moisture such as the motors of refrigerators and dishwashers, in the insulated area of stoves, along the gaskets around refrigerator and freezer doors and behind the kick plates under base cabinets. The hiding spots really depend on the species, for example, the American cockroach will often hide in boiler rooms. Cockroaches will fit themselves in very tight cracks and feel most secure in spaces where they are being touched by surfaces on all sides.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to prevent cockroach infestations?
There are various steps you can take to prevent cockroaches from setting up camp in your home. Most important is cleanliness and proper sanitation. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight, keep food stored in lidded containers and routinely pull stove out away from wall and clean the areas behind and alongside the stove where bits of food and grease get trapped. Regularly vacuum cracks and crevices to remove food crumbs and immediately clean up any food or drink spills. Take garbage out frequently and store in a covered outdoor trash bin. It is also good to store pet food in sealed containers and not leave any food out after your pet is done eating.
It is also important to eliminate areas of excess moisture and seal up any cracks that the cockroaches could use to enter your home. Fix leaky pipes and install dehumidifiers in basements. Trim back bushes and other landscaping that cockroaches could hide in. Add weather stripping to doors and windows.
Benefits of Professional Cockroach Pest Control
Contact a pest management professional as soon as you see more than two or three cockroaches, especially during the day. These insects are usually only active at night, so if they are out during the daytime it is an indication of a large-scale infestation lurking in your house. A pest management professional can identify the species of cockroach and eliminate the problem from your home.