Cockroaches are among the most important pests of households and commercial establishments. Not only is their presence a nuisance but they are known to carry many common diseases as well as causing allergic reactions in many people.
There are 4000 species of Cockroaches worldwide, about 70 occur in the United States but only a few of those inhabit dwellings.
Adult Cockroaches range in size from 1/2” to 1 1/2” long, depending on the species. Cockroaches are oval in outline, with long antennae and wings that typically have a leathery look. It is important to have a trained and licensed pest control operator identify the Cockroach species because they vary in their food preferences and living habits.
Cockroaches do not have colonies, though they are most often found with all stages together in their preferred harborages, except they tend to be size segregated based on crack/crevice thickness. Cockroaches are found throughout structures but show a preference for warm and humid places. They are usually found in kitchens and bathrooms, but infestations will occur anywhere cracks and crevices are located near food sources. Cockroaches are primarily nocturnal but will be found out during daylight when the infestation is very large.
The female Cockroaches produce egg-containing cases/capsules containing anywhere from 4 to 60 eggs and will carry her eggs until they are within 1-2 days of hatching and deposits them in a sheltered area near a food source. The development time (egg to adult) is strongly influenced by temperature and humidity, ranging from 54 days to 1 year.
Cockroaches are most commonly introduced into buildings via paper products or paper packaging such as grocery bags or cardboard boxes. They feed on almost anything with nutritive value, but also things like toothpaste, soap or glue. Both the developmental time and preferred harborage areas of Cockroaches reflect their tropical origins. Cockroaches spend 75% of their time in crack and crevice harborages.
Achieving control of Cockroaches requires a multi-step process, and every step is important.
1.) Prevention is first and most important. Inspecting all incoming items for cockroaches and egg cases will help reduce occurrence of possible infestations.
2.) Good Sanitation before treatment is extremely important because it reduces the potential food sources and harborages Cockroaches will be attracted to.
3.) Removing and disposing of all infested foods or products, as well as any opened containers of food in infested areas. This is typically the single most expensive step of the control process, but also one of the most important.
4.) Appropriate treatment by a trained and licensed pest control operator is absolutely necessary to get control of an infestation and eliminate remaining Cockroaches.
5.) Follow-up or maintenance is often necessary to ensure prevention of future infestation due to newly introduced Cockroaches.