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American Cockroaches

American Cockroaches

Periplaneta americana (L.)
Color: Reddish brown, with a yellowish figure 8 pattern on the back of the head
Legs: 6
Shape: Oval
Size: 2"
Antennae: True
Region: Found throughout U.S.

The American cockroach is the largest of the house-infesting cockroach.

Habits

American cockroaches are found in food processing areas and food storage areas, as well as other types of buildings. They are active when the temperature is 70 degrees or higher, but they can survive lower temperatures with the right conditions.

Habitat

American cockroaches are often found in sewers and basements, particularly around pipes and drains.

Threats

Cockroaches have been reported to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms, and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens. They can pick up germs on the spines of their legs and bodies as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage and then carry these into food or onto food surfaces. Germs that cockroaches eat from decaying matter or sewage are protected while in their bodies and may remain infective for several weeks longer than if they had been exposed to cleaning agents, rinse water, or just sunlight and air. Recent medical studies have shown that cockroach allergens cause lots of allergic reactions in inner city children. They were even shown to cause asthma in children. These allergens build up in deposits of droppings, secretions, cast skins, and dead bodies of roaches.

Prevention:

Good sanitation and habitat reduction, along with vacuuming, surveillance, a baiting program, and some sealing of cracks can usually quickly reduce or eliminate a cockroach population.

German Cockroaches

German Cockroaches

Blattella germanica
Color: Tan through brown to almost black, and has two dark parallel streaks running from the head to the base of the wings
Legs: 6
Shape: Oval
Size: 1.3 cm (0.51 in) to 1.6 cm (0.63 in)
Antennae: True
Region: Found throughout U.S.

 

Habits

German cockroaches usually prefer a moist environment with a relatively high degree of warmth.

Habitat

The insects are mostly scavengers and will feed on a wide variety of foods. They are especially fond of starches, sweets, grease, and meat products. In many locations, garbage is a principal food source. As with other species, German cockroaches are mostly active at night, when they forage for food, water, and mates. During the day they hide in cracks and crevices and other dark sites that provide a warm and humid environment. Their relatively wide, flat bodies enable them to move in and out of cracks and narrow openings with ease. They may be seen during the daytime, particularly if a heavy population is present or if there is some other stress, such as a lack of food or water or an application of pesticides.

Threats

German cockroaches produce odorous secretions that can affect the flavor of various foods. When cockroach populations are high, these secretions may result in a characteristic odor in the general region of the infestation. Disease-producing organisms such as bacteria, protozoans, and viruses have been found on cockroach bodies.

Different forms of gastroenteritis (food poisoning, dysentery, diarrhea, and other illnesses) appear to be the principal diseases transmitted by German cockroaches. The organisms causing these diseases are carried on the legs and bodies of cockroaches and are deposited on food and utensils as the cockroaches forage. Cockroach excrement and cast skins also contain a number of allergens to which many people exhibit allergic responses, such as skin rashes, watery eyes and sneezing, congestion of nasal passages, and asthma.

 

Prevention:

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.

Oriental Cockroaches

Oriental Cockroaches

Blatta orientalis
Color: Dark brown to black in colour and has a glossy body
Legs: 6
Shape: Oval
Size: 25 mm (2.5 cm) to 30 mm (3.0 cm)
Antennae: True
Region: Found around the world

Also known as "waterbugs" or "black beetles"

Habits

They prefer warm places and a relatively high humidity if possible; they also need a source of food/liquid. The optimum temperature for oriental cockroaches is between 20 °C (68 °F) to 29 °C (84 °F)

Habitat

They are often called "waterbugs" since they prefer dark, moist places. They can often be found around decaying organic matter, and in sewers, drains, damp basements, porches, and other damp locations. They can be found outside in bushes, under leaf groundcover, under mulch, and around other damp places outdoors.

Threats

The most important aspect of cockroach damage derives from their habit of feeding and harboring in damp and unsanitary places such as sewers, garbage disposals, kitchens, bathrooms, and indoor storage areas. Filth from these sources is spread by cockroaches to food supplies, food preparation surfaces, dishes, utensils, and other surfaces. Cockroaches contaminate far more food than they are able to eat.

 

Prevention:

Caulk all penetrations through ground level walls, stop water leaks, screen equipment overflow drains, and take overflow water away from buildings, keep drain traps full or capped. Remove rotting leaves from window wells. Move garbage cans out of preferred moist habitat. Ventilate moist space.

Brown Banded Cockroaches

Brown Banded Cockroaches

Supella longipalpa
Color: Tan to light brown. It has two light-colored bands across the wings and abdomen
Legs: 6
Shape: Oval
Size: 10 to 14 mm long
Antennae: True
Region: Found throughout the US

 

Habits

Nocturnal; can fly. They may be found throughout any structure, but prefer dry, warm areas, high locations and inside furniture.

Habitat

They need less moisture than the German Cockroach so they tend to be more broadly distributed in the home, such as in living rooms and bedrooms. They can often be found in homes and apartments, but are less common in restaurants. They tend not to be found in the daytime, since they avoid light.

Threats

The brownbanded cockroach feeds on a wide variety of materials. Like members of other cockroach species, it may consume materials like glue or paste (especially from animal-based materials), starch, and certain color dyes. As a result, items like stamps, envelopes, bindings of older books, draperies, and occasionally wallpapers may show signs of feeding. This species has also been known to chew on nonfood materials, such as nylon stockings, presumably for the residues of body oils and skin flakes.

 

Prevention:

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.

 

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