Scientific Name: Blattaria
Lifespan: 200 to 700 days
Problem: Odor, invades food, allergic reaction, and generally gross.
The term “cockroach” covers many different roach insects that affect homes and businesses in the United States. While they’re somewhat beneficial for the environment, feeding on waste, and so on, when they come inside the home they quickly start causing problems.
Cockroaches vary in all shapes and sizes. Some are as small as the tip of a fingernail, while others are nearly the size of the fist. While the American Cockroach is the most infamous, and one of the largest in the world, German cockroaches and Oriental cockroaches are also home invaders, and all of these insects cause problems inside the home, including:
Cockroaches are also difficult to kill, very fast, and most often eat your food at night.
The Cockroach Life Cycle
Eggs – There are many different types of cockroaches, though all of them share similar characteristics. Female American cockroaches produce brown, purse-shaped egg cases called ootheca which they carry with them for 2 days before placing them where they cannot easily be reached or harmed. The egg cases contain about 40 eggs each, and a single female will lay about 240 total eggs over the course of her life.
Juveniles – The eggs produce tiny but otherwise fully formed roaches after 6-8 weeks. These roaches molt 13 times before reaching adulthood, a process that takes anywhere from half a year to a year. During this time, the cockroach is wingless.
Mature Bugs – Mature American cockroaches are about 4 cm long on average, with a reddish brown, oval-shaped body, long antennae and wings. Most other cockroaches are smaller, and may resemble a brown beetle.
Cockroach Habitats and Habits
Cockroaches can live just about anywhere, but they prefer warmer climates and locations with easy access to water and food sources that contain starch and protein.
Primarily nocturnal insects, cockroaches usually feed in the dark and will run away when exposed to the light or in the presence of danger. Because cockroaches are fairly good at hiding themselves, an infestation may not be noticed until it has become a severe problem. However, every cockroach breed is different, and some cockroaches may be found simply running across the carpet.
How to Recognize and Get Rid of Cockroach Infestations
Keeping your home clean of food droppings and unsealed ingredients is important, and you should make sure that your home is property sealed. Many breeds of cockroach actually live outdoors, not indoors, and only enter the home by mistake crawling through a space underneath a door or window.
Because of that, a cockroach inside of the home may not actually be a sign that your house has a cockroach problem. It may simply be a stray cockroach that got lost. But it does mean you have cockroaches outdoors, and some breeds of cockroach do imply an indoors infestation. Contact a pest control expert to get a greater understanding of what the cockroach problem is and the steps you need to take to remove it.