Cockroaches: Facts, Identification & Control
Cockroaches belong to Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Arthropoda, Class Insecta and Order Blattaria. Some species invade human dwellings and are considered pests. These cockroaches can be carriers of various diseases because they are commonly found near waste deposits or in the kitchen, where food is present. Restaurants may also experience cockroach infestations.
- Cockroaches can measure over one inch in length, with tropical species tending to be larger than those found in other climates.
- Cockroaches have six legs, two antennae and wings. However, a number of winged cockroaches are not particularly adept at flying.
- Cockroaches emit unpleasant odors and may also produce sound.
- The Madagascar hissing cockroach is the most famous of these vocal cockroaches, although more common species may produce quieter clicking or chirping noises.
- Cockroaches can wreak havoc on your home.
To win the war in cockroach control, here’s what you should know:
- Entry: Cockroaches can enter your home in many different ways, from the outside through cracks and crevices, vents, sewer and drain pipes. We even bring them in on products like grocery bags, boxes, purses and on our person!
- Ideal environment: Your home is an ideal breeding ground most species of cockroaches. With plenty of food, warmth, water and nesting sites, they can remain active all year round.
- Reproduction: Cockroaches reproduce quickly. For every one you see there can be many, many more hiding and multiplying behind your walls.
- Evasiveness: Because cockroaches are nocturnal, if you’ve seen one, you probably haven’t seen them all. The few cockroaches you see by day could mean they were likely forced out by overcrowding; a possible sign of severe infestation.
- Allergies/Asthma: The dust created by cast-off cockroach skins, dead bodies and droppings can aggravate allergies, especially in children and sensitive individuals.
- Do-it-yourself ineffectiveness: Cockroaches are better at hiding than you are at finding them, and their eggs are naturally protected from insecticides. Without special equipment, materials and know-how, cockroach control can be a losing battle.
Importance of Cockroach Control
Cockroaches may become pests in homes, schools, restaurants, hospitals, warehouses, offices, and virtually in any structure that has food preparation or storage areas. They contaminate food and eating utensils, destroy fabric and paper products, and impart stains and unpleasant odors to surfaces they contact.
People are repulsed when they find cockroaches in their homes and kitchens. Cockroaches (especially the American cockroach, which comes into contact with human excrement in sewers or with pet droppings) may transmit bacteria that cause food poisoning (Salmonella). German cockroaches are believed to be capable of transmitting disease-causing organisms such as Staphylococcus spp, hepatitis virus, and coliform bacteria. They also have been implicated in the spread of typhoid and dysentery. Indoor infestations of cockroaches are an important source of allergens and the risk for asthma among some populations. The levels of cockroaches and allergens are directly related to cockroach density, housing disrepair, and sanitary conditions that is why contacting an exterminator is important.
Types of Cockroaches
For cockroach pest control purposes, there are two categories of cockroaches-indoor and outdoor.
- Indoor Cockroaches:
- German cockroach
The German species is about one half inch in length, light brown in color and has two dark brown stripes on the head area The Brownbanded The Brownbanded males are about one half inch in length and golden tan in color. The females are a darker brown. Both have light-brown bands on the abdomen, if you spot any one of them be sure to call an exterminator for cockroach pest control.
Outdoor Cockroaches: The Oriental Cockroach
The Oriental Cockroach species is about 1.25 inches in length, black in color; wings are shorter than their bodies. They prefer cool damp and dark places like woodpiles, ivy, ground cover, garages, water meter boxes and drains.
The Smokeybrown cockroach is about 1.5 inches in length; dark brown to almost black. They like planter boxes, trees shrubs and heavy vegetation which is all outside, if you come in contact with one of these make sure to contact an exterminator or do the necessary means for pest control.
The American cockroach
The American cockroach is about two inches long; reddish brown in color and large bodied. They like sewers, water meter boxes, storm drains and animal-rearing facilities.
The Turkestan Cockroach
The Turkestan Cockroach female is about one inch long with cream-colored markings along the edges behind the head and around the short wings; the male is slightly smaller with yellowish-tan wings and cream-colored stripes along the edges. They like water-meter boxes, cracks between poured concrete blocks, compost piles, leaf litter and potted plants.
Cockroach Life Cycle
Cockroaches pass through three stages of development: egg, nymph, and adult.
Egg. Cockroaches deposit eggs in groups of 20 to 50 in a leathery case or capsule called an ootheca. Usually, the ootheca is dropped or glued to a surface by the female as soon as it is formed. However, the German cockroach carries its egg case. It can be seen protruding from the female’s body until the eggs are ready to hatch so make sure you catch that pest control problem before it starts.
Nymph. When cockroach nymphs hatch from eggs, they resemble the adults in shape, except that they are much smaller and lack wings. Nymphs shed their skin (molt) several times, increasing in size each time before molting into an adult. Depending on the kind of cockroach, the wings vary from being longer than the body to being small pads if you see some nymphs you should contact your exterminator.
Adult. Newly molted cockroaches are soft and white, but harden and darken in color rapidly. Therefore, there are no “albino” cockroaches. Normally, cockroaches molt in protected areas, but in serious infestations, they may be seen in the open.
Small cockroaches often produce six to eight generations a year with 30 to 48 eggs per case. Larger cockroaches usually produce one to three generations per year with 10 to 28 eggs per case. You don’t want those hanging around the house, make sure you take care of your pest control problems right away since all cockroaches are most active at night and you might not find them until they have hatched.
Major Cockroach Pests
Unlike most cockroaches, German cockroach females protect their egg cases by carrying them around. The egg case protrudes from her body until the eggs are nearly ready to hatch. Each case can contain 30 to 48 eggs that require about 2 weeks to hatch during that time it would be the perfect time to call an exterminator. A female German cockroach may produce between one and seven cases during her life. Adults may live 3 to 4 months.
Males are known to fly in warm homes or apartments while females cannot fly. Brownbanded cockroaches may be found anywhere in the house, especially above the floor around cabinets, in room corners, and underneath drawers. They are also found behind pictures, in furniture and appliances, including TVs, microwaves, computers, and radios. These cockroaches are common in public buildings if you see anything fly around make sure you get your pest control situation handled as soon as possible.
Generally, they are red-brown in color, with pale yellow “halo-like” markings on the above the head. The nymphs are about 3/16 inch long when they hatch from the egg case and are initially gray-brown. American cockroaches are often found in dark, moist, warm areas, especially around sewers, storage rooms, and garbage sites. Along the coast, they may be found in trees, especially palmettos. When they are inside, they generally stay on the basement and first floor levels if you encounter an American Cockroach make sure to contact an exterminator. Adults may fly on warm evenings.
Adults are about 1 to 1-1/2 inches long .As the name implies; they are smoky brown in color. The young nymphs are about 3/8 inch long, with black bodies and white markings on the middle of their bodies and on the tips of their antennae. Smokybrown cockroaches prefer dark, humid environments. They can be very mobile and will use a variety of habitats such as mulch, log piles, thick vegetation, and roofs. In structures, they can be found from the attic to the crawl space if you come in contact with one you should get rid of your pest control problem immediately. Adults may fly on warm evenings.
Adults are 1 to 1-1/4 inches long and dark brown to jet black in color .The wings of the males are not quite as long as the body, while the females have only small wing pads. The nymphs are about 1/4 inch long when they hatch and go from red to brown as they develop. These cockroaches prefer dark, damp, relatively cool locations. These cockroaches are commonly found in bathtubs because they have difficulty climbing smooth surfaces. They also can be found in water meter boxes, sewer lines, leaf litter, crawl spaces, and basements. In a structure, they rarely go above the basement level so make sure you check your basements and if you see anything call an exterminator.
Methods of Cockroach Control used by Element cockroach pest control extermination Prevention and Sanitation
Getting rid of cockroaches requires prevention Element and sanitation. Pest control prevention and sanitation can be divided into four categories: exclusion and elimination of food, water, and harborage. Following the recommendations in the four categories will likely eliminate the most important factors that affect the ability in getting rid of cockroaches cockroach establishment and survival.
German cockroaches can initially infest a structure when infested grocery bags are brought inside. Inspect groceries for cockroaches before storing. Keep grocery bags in outside storage areas.
Cockroaches breed prolifically in corrugated cardboard boxes. Discard unnecessary boxes immediately.
Keep doors and windows shut. Keep screens in good repair to prevent cockroaches from entering your home. Check attic vents and make sure that large openings around outside drainage lines and sewer vents are screened or sealed. Use tightly packed steel wool as temporary filler until openings can be sealed properly.
Caulk cracks and gaps around doors and windows to help prevent cockroaches from entering your home.
Children can transport cockroaches from school to home in book bags and lunch containers. Inspect these items regularly.
Dwellings, such as apartments, that are separated by a common wall are particularly difficult situations. An infestation can migrate between apartments via the plumbing encased in a common wall. Therefore, cockroaches from one apartment can easily migrate to another apartment, infesting a “clean” dwelling. To help prevent this, caulk holes in common walls and around plumbing. If that doesn’t help call an exterminator.
Elimination of Water Sources
Water is the most important factor in cockroach survival. German cockroaches can survive only 12 days with food but no water. However, if only water is present with no food, cockroaches can survive for about 42 days. Cockroaches often come indoors during periods of drought because they are looking for moisture. Eliminate water sources by doing the following:
- Tighten or patch leaky pipes in kitchen and bathroom areas.
- Do not let water stand in sinks for long periods of time.
- Do not over water indoor plants because accumulated water will be available to cockroaches.
- Empty pans under refrigerators used to catch water from condensation.
- Be aware that pet drinking dishes, aquaria, and pipe condensation (under sinks, in wall voids) can also being sources of moisture.
- Eliminate sources outside where water can collect, such as cans, tires, and tree holes, if that doesn’t work contact an exterminator.
Elimination of Food Sources
Cockroaches do not need large amounts of food to survive, especially in the presence of water. Furthermore, food sources can compete with cockroach baits, decreasing their effectiveness of the pest control. Elimination of food sources includes:
- Store and dispose of garbage properly. The highest concentration of cockroaches in a home is usually around the garbage can and around the refrigerator.
- Seal garbage can lids to prevent cockroaches from accessing food sources. Also, keep garbage areas clean by wiping frequently.
- Dump sink strainers frequently to prevent food build up.
- Wash dishes immediately after use. Dishes left unwashed are a major source of food for a kitchen infestation.
- Keep kitchen appliances such as toasters, toaster ovens, microwaves, stoves, ovens, and refrigerators free of crumbs and other food debris. In addition, clean the areas around these appliances.
- Reseal all food after opening or store in the refrigerator.
- Seal pet food tightly. Do not leave food and water out all the time.
- Regularly vacuum or sweep under and around furniture where people eat, such as the dining room table. Vacuuming can also remove cockroach egg cases that will not be killed by insecticides. Remember to promptly dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag in an outdoor container. If you run into trouble call an exterminator.
Elimination of Harborages
In addition to food and moisture, cockroaches require a place to live. The cockroach harborage is critical to its survival. Cockroaches prefer dark places that are warm and moist. Places that provide tight spaces such as stacks of newspaper or cardboard, piles of clothing, or cracks and crevices in structures are ideal. Harborages not only provide a place for cockroaches to live, but they also can create “pesticide free” zones where cockroaches can hide if insecticides are selected as one tactics, to find those zones an exterminator can help you. Eliminate harborages by doing the following:
- Seal cracks and crevices. Adult cockroaches can fit into cracks only about 1/16 inch and prefer spaces of about 3/8 inch.
- Pull mulch away from the house. The large, outdoor cockroaches breed prolifically in pine straw mulch and poorly in gravel or on bare soil.
- Stack firewood off the ground and well away from the house.
- Fill tree holes with cement to remove this prime harborage area.
- Keep shrubbery and ornamentals well-trimmed and away from the house. Ivy is a favorite breeding place for outdoor cockroaches.
- Remove all dead palm branches. Palm bracts are prime harborage for outdoor cockroaches.
- Keep clutter such as newspapers, bags, and clothing from accumulating.
Chemical Cockroach Pest Control
Use prevention and sanitation methods before and concurrently with chemical pest control tactics to get rid of cockroaches.
Greasy surfaces decrease the effectiveness of insecticide applications. Therefore, before treating surfaces eliminate grease and oil by scrubbing with hot, soapy water. Generally, liquid sprays will not be effective when applied to wood surfaces such as cabinets and shelves.
Vacuuming will eliminate cockroach skins and feces that cause cockroach allergies. Cockroach feces also contain a chemical pheromone that attracts cockroaches to an area. Eliminating the cockroach feces by scrubbing with hot, soapy water will decrease the amount of pheromone available to attract cockroaches to the area.
Preparations for “First Time” or “Cleanout” Cockroach pest control treatments: It is imperative that you completely empty all kitchen and bathroom cabinets. (Especially the plumbing areas under sinks and around dish washers)
- Kitchen: Place all dishes, food (canned or boxed) on a table or on the floor in the middle of a room where they will not interfere with the service person accessing the cabinets, stove, base boards refrigerator or dishwasher(3 feet clearance needed) and cover with plastic sheeting.
- Bathroom: Remove all medicines, toothbrushes, personal care products and place into plastic bags and close tightly. Remove the bags from the bathroom and place in a location where they will not impede access to bathroom. The bathtub is suggested for this.
- Bedroom and Closets: IF pests have been observed in dressers, then remove drawers and place where they will not interfere with service personnel accessing the front and side areas of the dressers. If pests have been observed in closets, then remove all clothes from the rack and any stored items from the shelf. Place where they will not impede access to the closet.
- Garages: Place all stored people and pet food into plastic bags. Baseboards need to be accessible to service personnel.
- Aquariums or Fish Tanks: Disable filtering systems at time of treatment and cover with a plastic bag.
What to expect after you cockroach pest control service For one week or seven days following the treatment, you may still notice some activity of the pest. Do not be concerned. This is a result of the treatment driving the pests out of their nesting areas and over the applied products and/or the hatching of hidden eggs. If any questions please fill free to call an exterminator.
Vacuum up any dead or dying insects as you find them. If you continue to see pests after 7 days call. We strongly recommend that small children, the elderly, people with respiratory Problems and pets vacate the premises during the pest control treatment and remain away for 2 to 4 hours.