Cockroaches


The cockroach is more than just a creepy nuisance pest that can survive freezing temperatures and a week without its head. This hearty creature can pose serious health risks to humans if it finds a way indoors. In fact, all types of cockroaches pick up germs on the spines of their legs as they crawl through decaying matter, which may be transferred to humans through food contamination. This can lead to illnesses such as E. coli and Salmonella.

In addition, cockroaches are linked to increased asthma and allergy attacks as their droppings, saliva and shed skin contain potent allergens known to trigger allergic reactions and exacerbate asthma symptoms, especially in children.

To remain safe and healthy from different types of cockroaches, pest control and management is key. However, with approximately 4,000 living species of cockroaches in the world, and about 70 species found in the United States, it’s inevitable that some cockroaches will find a way inside homes. As a result, it’s important to pay close attention for signs of an infestation and take action if this pest is found.




American Cockroach (Periplaneta Americana)

BIOLOGY / CHARACTERISTICS

  • American cockroaches are reddish brown with a yellowish figure 8 pattern on the back of their head.
  • Size 2 inches in length
  • Adult females carry the egg cases around for about 6 days and then cement them to a protected surface where they incubate for about 2 months or longer.
  • The egg cases, which are about 3/8 inch long, are brown when laid but turn black in 1 to 2 days.
  • Each egg capsule contains about 12 young; a female and her offspring can produce over 800 cockroaches in one year.

 

HABITAT

The American cockroach, Periplaneta americana, prefers warm and humid environments, usually with temperatures in excess of 82°F. Under the right conditions, they readily live outdoors and are common pests in zoos and animal-rearing facilities. They are also common in sewers, steam tunnels, and masonry storm drains. Occasionally they forage from sewers and other areas into the ground floor of buildings. American cockroaches are often found in sewers and basements, particularly around pipes and drains.

 

MANAGEMENT

To control American cockroaches, it is important to do a thorough inspection. A cockroach survey (trapping) is sometimes necessary to determine the extent of an infestation, as even a thorough inspection does not always reveal all cockroach harborages or foraging areas.

Modifying the interior environment—removing food, moisture, and harborages available to cockroaches—is the first step in treatment. Eliminating cockroach harborages involves caulking in closets and cabinets, caulking under the sink, etc., or making similar structural repairs in the kitchen, bathroom, and other areas of the house. To prevent the insects from establishing a breeding population, clean up all spilled food materials, including crumbs on the floor. Do not leave dirty dishes overnight.



German Cockroach (Blattella Germanica)

 

BIOLOGY / CHARACTERISTICS

  • German cockroaches are light brown to tan with two dark stripes located on their backs.
  • They are oval shaped with six legs and antennae. Size 0.5 inch in length.
  • The German cockroach, Blattella germanica, is the most common indoor species, especially in multiple-family dwellings.
  • This species reproduces the fastest of the common pest cockroaches: a single female and her offspring can produce over 30,000 individuals in a year, but many succumb to cannibalism and other population pressures. Egg laying occurs more frequently during warm weather. The female carries around a light tan egg case (about 1/4 inch long) until 1 to 2 days before it hatches, when she drops it. Sometimes the egg case hatches while it is still being carried by the female. Each egg case contains about 30 young, and a female may produce a new egg case every few weeks.

HABITAT

German cockroaches can be found throughout structures but show a preference for warm and humid places. They are usually found in kitchens and secondarily in bathrooms, but infestations often occur in rooms where people eat and drink.

MANAGEMENT

To control German cockroaches, it is important to do a thorough inspection. Whenever possible, place survey traps either against a wall or in a corner of the floor, a shelf, or a drawer, or under equipment and counters.

A key factor in prevention is sanitation. Clean up all spilled foods, including crumbs on the floor. Do not leave dirty dishes overnight. Store items such as cereal, crackers, cookies, flour, sugar, and bread in airtight sealed containers. Empty garbage each evening into a sturdy container with a tightly fitted lid. Structural modifications such as caulking holes in walls where pipes pass through are necessary in the kitchen, bathroom, and other areas of the house in order to control German cockroaches.


Brown Banded Cockroach (Supella Longipalpa)

 

BIOLOGY / CHARACTERISTICS

  • Brownbanded cockroaches are brown with pronounced banding across their wings.
  • 0.5 inch; males are golden tan; females are darker brown; both have light-colored bands on abdomen, wings, and sides of pronotum.
  • The brownbanded cockroach, Supella longipalpa, is not as common as the German cockroach in California and accounts for only about 1% of all indoor infestations.
  • Brownbanded cockroaches prefer starchy food (e.g., glue on stamps and envelopes), are often found in offices and other places where paper is stored, and are more common in apartments or homes that are not air conditioned.
  • Adult males sometimes fly when disturbed, but females do not fly. Females glue light brown egg cases, which are about 1/4 inch long, to ceilings, beneath furniture, or in closets or other dark places where eggs incubate for several weeks before hatching.
  • Each female and her offspring are capable of producing over 600 cockroaches in one year.

 

HABITAT

Within a room, brownbanded cockroaches tend to prefer warmer, drier; preferring temperatures of about 80°F, about 5° to 10°F warmer than what German cockroaches prefer and higher locations than any of the other urban pest roaches. They are often found in upper cabinets or in rooms other than the kitchens or bathrooms. This species often hides its egg cases in or under furniture.

This species seeks out areas that are very warm most of the time, favorite locations include near the warm electrical components of appliances such as radios, televisions, and refrigerators.

They also infest animal-rearing facilities, kitchens, and hospitals.

 

MANAGEMENT

To control brownbanded cockroaches, it is important to do a thorough inspection, or survey. Cockroach surveys involve placing sticky traps at strategic locations within the building. Whenever possible, place survey traps either against a wall or in a corner of the floor, a shelf, or a drawer. One of the key factors is sanitation. Clean up spilled foods on the floor. Do not leave dirty dishes overnight. Store items such as cereal, crackers, and cookies in airtight containers. Empty garbage each evening into a sturdy container with a tight-fitting lid.

Brown-banded cockroaches can conceal themselves in many places that are inaccessible to larger species. Making structural modifications such as caulking (in cracks, crevices; around ducts, molding, etc.) is necessary in bedrooms, bathrooms, dining rooms, and other areas of the house.