Cockroaches

The American Cockroach is the largest cockroach that infests homes and buildings in the United States. This insect may be recognized by a yellow “figure-8″ pattern on the shield at the front of its body. In Florida, the American cockroach is called the “palmetto bug,” and it has the nickname “water bug” throughout the United States.

Size:

Up to 2 inches long.

Color:

Reddish brown.

Behavior:

Like all cockroaches, it is omnivorous and will eat virtually anything people will and many things we won’t.

Habitat:

This cockroach thrives in warm, damp environments, such as sewers, steam tunnels, basements, crawl spaces, and boiler rooms. In southern states, it will also be found living and breeding outdoors.

The female Oriental Cockroach differs in appearance from the male which often leads homeowners to believe they have two types of cockroaches. The female is black, oval in shape, and has no wings – only two small wing pads just behind the thoracic “shield.” The male is thinner in shape, about the same length, and has two brown wings that extend partway down the abdomen.

Size:

Both male and female are about one inch in length.

Color:

The female is all black, while the male has two brown wings.

Behavior:

The oriental cockroach is a pest in homes throughout much of the United States. It is rarely seen in southeastern states, however. During the summer, oriental cockroaches move outdoors where they may venture into neighboring buildings. During the colder months, they re-invade homes, establishing themselves in basements and crawl spaces.

Habitat:

This cockroach commonly inhabits sewers and storm culverts and will enter buildings through floor drains. It will also live outdoors in firewood, leaf litter, sheds, dog houses, and similar locations. Indoors, the basement, crawl space, and occasionally the attic will be the primary harborage for this pest.

German Cockroach

Adult German cockroaches are 1/2 to 5/8 inch long and tan to light brown. Although they have fully developed wings, they do not fly. Nymphs are similar in appearance to adults except that they are smaller and lack wings. The German cockroach is best identified by its small size and by two dark parallel lines running from the back of the head to the wings. It is usually found in kitchens (near dishwashers, stoves, and sinks) and in bathrooms of homes.

The German cockroach has three developmental stages: egg, nymph, and adult. Females produce a light brown, purse-shaped egg capsule that is less than 1/4 inch long and contains two rows of eggs. Each capsule contains up to 48 eggs (usually 30 to 48), and adult females usually produce from four to eight egg capsules during their lifetime. At room temperature, one capsule is produced about every 6 weeks. Egg capsules are carried, protruding from the abdomen, until hatching time when they are deposited into crevices and other sheltered locations. It usually takes 28 days for the capsule to hatch from the time it begins to form. Formation of the next egg capsule usually begins within a couple of weeks. The length of the egg stage varies from 14 to 35 days, with six to seven nymphal stages (instars) occurring over a period of 6 to 31 weeks. The life span of the adult female varies from 20 to 30 weeks. In one year over 10,000 descendants can be produced, assuming two generations per year.

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.

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