There are several species of cockroaches common in the United States. These include the German cockroach, brownbanded cockroach, American cockroach, and Oriental cockroach. It is important to identify the species since they inhabit different areas and contaminate food, utensils, destroy paper, and transmit bacteria and viruses like Salmonella
, hepatitis and coliform bacteria to humans.
The German cockroach favors warm, humid atmospheres, especially areas where temperatures are around 70° to 75° F. They generally live hidden in kitchens and bathrooms near plumbing fixtures, in cracks or crevices in cupboards, under drawers and kitchen sinks and similar locations. These cockroaches often cluster together in favorable hiding areas, are light brown in color, have 2 dark stripes on their upper thorax and are about ½ inch long.
The brownbanded cockroach may be widely distributed throughout a building, particularly in high areas, hiding behind pictures and clocks, beneath furniture, among books and in other drier areas not normally infested by German cockroaches. They particularly seek areas that are warm most of the time like inside radios or televisions and behind refrigerators. The two species are rarely found together. The brownbanded are the same small size (1/2 inch long) but vary in color from light tan to dark brown and have light-colored bands around their bodies and on their wings.
The American cockroach inhabits storm drains and from there occasionally enters homes. They are more common in restaurants, grocery stores, and bakeries and other sites where food is prepared. They favor very warm, moist places (temperatures in excess of 82° F), are about 2 inches long and reddish-brown.
The Oriental cockroach prefers dark, damp places. Many call it a water bug because it is commonly found in sewers, damp basements, cellars and crawl spaces. It may also be found near drains, leaky water pipes and under refrigerators, sinks or washing machines and floors. It prefers temperatures under 84° F, is 1 ¼ inches long and almost black in color. The Oriental cockroach can tolerate cool environments; it has even been found surviving freezing outdoor weather. An Oriental cockroach forages mostly on the first floors of buildings. Occasionally, this pest will thrive in the landscape next to buildings and may enter if a disturbance like a change in the seasons, excess rainfall, or lawn mowing occurs. It can be found outdoors under sewer covers. It feeds on all types of garbage and other organic material. An Oriental cockroach produces a strong smell and is considered one of the worst disease spreaders of all the cockroaches.
An adult female cockroach produces an egg capsule containing between 16-50 eggs. The German cockroach carries it around until it is time to hatch; the others carry it a short time and then deposit it to finish incubation. Incubation may be anywhere from 2 weeks to several months. Young cockroaches called nymphs emerge, and gradually grow and molt as they feed. Most live for 1-2 years.
Cockroaches are nocturnal; during the day they hide in dark, warm areas; adults can hide in a crack 1/16 inch wide. At night, cockroaches tend to congregate in corners and travel along edges of walls or other surfaces.
Cockroach Control: Sanitation and Exclusion
- Use Cockroach Traps to monitor for their presence. Place traps in several locations, and move them frequently. Place them where they will enter while foraging. Good locations are behind the stove or refrigerator, and in a cabinet containing food.
- Reduce food, water, and anyplace they can hide. Place all food in sealed containers; repair leaks; seal up cracks.
- Use boric acid in cracks you cannot seal. Or place boric acid where you know they will walk through it (from the information the traps give you). Boric acid clings to cockroaches, and they will ingest it as they clean themselves. Good-bye, cockroaches…
- Use contact killers. Orange Guard, EcoPCO® ACU, and Victor® Poison-Free Ant Killer are liquids or aerosols. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth (Safer Ant & Crawling Insect Killer, Concern Crawling Insect killer, JT Eaton Kills Bedbugs and Crawling Insects Powder) where the cockroaches will cross it; they will die in a few days. Use Boric Acid and sugar as bait.
Click on the indoor pest control and prevention products below for more info and ordering.