The Cockroach

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One of the most common of indoor pests is the cockroach.  There are several different species of cockroaches, including the American Cockroach (Periplaneta Americana), the Brown-Banded cockroach (Supella Longipalpa), the German cockroach (Blattella Germanica), and the Oriental Cockroach (Blatta Orientalis).

Cockroaches have been known to reach lengths of over 50 cm, with those found in tropical climates tending to be the largest.  Most adults are variations of a tan or light brown color, while the young are darker, often appearing almost black.  Cockroaches are all equipped with two antennae and six legs, while some also have wings.  Male and female American winged cockroaches can fly; however, German winged cockroaches prefer to run as they cannot fly particularly well.

Where Are They Found?

Cockroaches are often found in the kitchen (no doubt looking for food) or near deposits of waste (also looking for food).  Cockroach infestations can also occur at restaurants (guess what they are doing there).  Cockroaches are resourceful scavengers, willing and able to consume even the most unlikely of food sources available, including book bindings, soap, and toothpaste.  These nocturnal pests are able to survive on the smallest amounts of food, such as crumbs missed during cleaning after meals or food residue on unwashed dishes left overnight in the sink.

A cockroach infestation can cause substantial damage to the home, commercial kitchen or restaurant.  They enter the residence in a variety of ways, including through drains, cracks, crevices, sewer pipes, and vents.  They even gain entry by stowing away on boxes, grocery bags, purses, and on the clothing you are wearing.  Cockroaches can use shared plumbing in apartment buildings to easily move between living units.  They can also be brought into an apartment or residence in used appliances, from which they can relocate and infest the entire building.

Once inside, the food, nesting sites, warmth, and water make the residence an ideal cockroach breeding ground where they can reproduce and remain active throughout the year.  Many cockroaches require only a single mating to produce fertilized eggs throughout their lifetime.  Once they have mated, American cockroaches produce egg capsules which contain about 16 eggs while female German cockroaches can usually produce an average of four to six egg cases which each contain 30 to 40 eggs.  Female cockroaches carry these egg cases until a day or two before the eggs are ready to hatch.  Under normal conditions, a cockroach takes an average of 100 days to develop from egg to adult. The lifespan of a cockroach is anywhere from 100 to 200 days.

Illnesses Caused by the Cockroach

Individuals with allergies, especially children, may find their condition aggravated by debris created by dead cockroaches, cast-off skins, and cockroach droppings.  E. coli, Salmonella spp. and Typhus are all pathogens which are believed to be transmitted by cockroaches.  They can also spread harmful protozoa and bacteria and protozoa known to cause diarrhea and gastroenteritis.  Asthma in children who live in large metropolitan areas has been linked to cockroach infestations. 

Discovering a Cockroach Infestation

Cockroaches usually are accompanied by an unpleasant odor, and many are also able to make sounds.  German cockroaches, for example, are said to exude a mild, musty odor.  The most famous type of vocal cockroach is the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach.  Other more common species make softer chirping or clicking noises.

Most cockroach droppings appear to be small, dark, “pepper-like” matter scattered across countertops and inside drawers.  The small size of cockroach droppings causes them to occasionally be misidentified as mouse droppings.  Unlike mouse droppings which have pointed ends and may have embedded hairs, the droppings of the American cockroach include ridges on the sides and have blunt ends.  Fecal staining caused by cockroaches is often found in corners, around openings and small cracks in walls, and along the tops of doors.  This staining appears as dark smears or spots, sometimes with a slightly raised texture. 

Additionally, empty egg cases are sometimes found in areas frequented by cockroach females.  Homeowners can often find cockroach egg cases in basements, kitchens, or in laundry rooms.  Other locations where egg cases may be found include behind appliances, under cabinets, or in sheds and garages behind items that are seldom moved.

Cockroach Control

Unfortunately, cockroaches are nearly impossible to eradicate without the right experience, materials, and special equipment.  Their ability to reproduce quickly and frequently along with their lack of natural predators with a residence results in cockroach infestations that can swiftly become severe.  Contact Alliance Pest Services your local pest control expert to ensure your cockroach problem is completely resolved and your home or business remains pest free.

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