Cockroaches

Woods Cockroach (Parcoblatta spp)

Pigeons (Columba livia)

This species lives primarily outdoors and is considered a nuisance pest, as it does not breed inside homes.

Color: Reddish brown to dark brown

Legs: 6

Shape: Oval

Size: ½-1 inch

Habits

Adult males usually mature in June and July and are active at night. Being strong fliers, they will readily fly to lights on buildings and may crawl inside. Where conditions exist to support adult females any nymphs close to a home foundation, these may wander inside occasionally throughout summer.

Habitat

Various species of wood cockroaches occur throughout the United States, but these are more common in eastern and southern states. They live among piles of leaves, mulch, lumber piles, firewood piles and similar outdoor harborages. Homes located on wooded lots may be more prone to encounters with these cockroaches. In extreme cases where soffits remain moist or wet due to clogged gutters or leaks, woods cockroaches can become established in soffits and behind fascia boards, especially around chimneys.

Threats

This species lives primarily outdoors and is considered a nuisance pest, as it does not breed inside homes.

Prevention

Changing exterior lighting to yellow “bug” lights can help reduce the number of cockroaches attracted to your home, as can simply keeping lights turned off. It is also important to seal as many exterior cracks as possible, and to ensure all foundation and attic vents have tight-fitting screens. Removing leaf piles, wood piles and other harborages is very important in minimizing the potential number of cockroaches near the home.

Smoky Brown Cockroach (Periplaneta filiginosa)

Smoky Brown Cockroach (Periplaneta filiginosa)

Although Smoky brown cockroaches are related to the American cockroach, they are slightly smaller in size and uniformly mahogany in color.

Color: Mahogany

Legs: 6

Shape: Oval

Size: Up to 1.5 inches

Habits

This cockroach is a ready flier and easily travels from trees onto houses. It is commonly attracted to homes to feed on improperly maintained trash containers and pet food on patios and decks. Once by the house, the insect may then enter.

Habitats

The Smoky brown cockroach usually invades the attic or crawl space where it finds conditions similar to those found within a tree hole. Once populations grow large inside these areas, the cockroaches regularly venture down into the home. The occasional cockroach may wander into a home from harborage outside but chronic infestations are most always associated with attic or crawl space populations. Research has shown that attics and crawl spaces that have good ventilation are less likely to have these cockroaches living within them. The smoky brown is a common pest of homes along the Gulf Coast from central Florida to eastern Texas.

Threats

Cockroaches have been reported to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms, and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens.

Prevention

The best way to help prevent Smoky brown cockroaches is to ensure the attic and crawl space have sufficient ventilation. Make sure that all foundation and attic vents are equipped with tight fitting screens. Do not allow pet food to sit out overnight. Pick it up after the outdoor pets are finishes eating, store fire wood as far from the house as possible, locating it off the ground and covering it with a tarp.

German Cockroaches (Blattella germanica)

German Cockroaches (Blattella germanica)

The German cockroach is the most economically important urban pest. It is the most common cockroach species in houses, apartments, restaurants, hotels, and other institutions throughout the United States.

Color: Light brown with two dark stripes along the pronotum

Legs: 6

Shape: Slender

Size: ½ inch long

Habits

Adults of both sexes have well-developed wings, but they never fly. Adult females carry the egg capsule protruding from the rear of the abdomen until the eggs are ready to hatch. Nymphs have habits similar to those of adults. They are active mostly at night but hide in dark crevices during the day. If German cockroaches are seen during the day, the population is probably so large the available cracks are already full, or food and moisture are in such short supply that daytime foraging is necessary. The German cockroach is a general feeder but is particularly attracted to fermented foods and beverage residues.

Habitat

Infestations are sometimes found in areas not generally suspected of harboring German cockroaches, such as dressers drawers in bedrooms. German cockroaches found scattered through non-food areas of a home or building is usually a sign of a very heavy infestation or of the repellent effects of insecticide applications elsewhere in the facility. Adult males appear to be the most mobile stage, followed by nongravid adult females and large nymphs; gravid females probably rarely leave the harborage.

Threats

Besides the nuisance factor, German cockroaches can spread disease and can spread cockroach specific allergens that have been known to cause asthma.

Prevention

Keeping the home clean and food debris free and harborage reduction/removal are the first steps to successful German cockroach control. A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (High Energy Particulate Air) filtration system can be used to remove large amounts of cockroaches in a short period of time. Do not attempt to vacuum this pest without a HEPA filter on the vacuum.

Brown Banded Cockroach (Supella longipalpa)

Brown Banded Cockroach (Supella longipalpa)

Male is light brown. The female may have dark brown wings. Both sexes, however, have the lighter-colored bands running across the wings directly behind the prothorax.

Color: Male light brown, female may have dark brown wings

Legs: 6

Shape: Slender

Size: ½ inch long


Habits:

Like all cockroaches that invade buildings, this species prefers to spend much of its time resting in cracks and voids. Most of its activity will occur at night when it feels safe to move about and search for food and water. The brown banded cockroach does not seem to require as much moisture s the German cockroaches, and therefore may be found in rooms other than kitchens and bathrooms.

Habitat

Brown banded cockroaches are far less common than German cockroaches and are usually found in apartments, motels, and long-term care facilities. Like German cockroaches, these will be found in kitchens and bathrooms. However, because brown banded cockroaches can survive in drier areas, they will also be found in bedrooms, living rooms, closets, bookcases, etc. This behavior can make the brown banded cockroach a bit more difficult to control.

Threats

Besides the nuisance factor, Brown banded cockroaches can spread disease and spread cockroach specific allergens that have been known to cause asthma.

Prevention

Cockroaches require plenty of food, water, and shelter in order to thrive. Limiting any one of these makes it more difficult for cockroach populations to become established and escalate in size. Inspect all incoming food goods, boxes, and furniture and appliances for the presence of cockroaches or egg capsules. In commercial facilities, avoid storing food items in cardboard boxes on shelves. Cardboard is a preferred harborage site for cockroaches. In homes, do not store paper bags under the sink or elsewhere in the kitchen. Store bags in the garage or room other than the kitchen, utility room, or bathrooms.

American Cockroaches (Periplaneta Americana)

American Cockroaches (Periplaneta Americana)

The American cockroach is the largest of the house-infesting cockroach.

Color: Reddish brown, with a yellowish figure 8 pattern on the back of the head

Shape: Oval

Size: 2”

Habits

American cockroaches are found in food processing areas and food storage areas; as well as other types of buildings. They are active when the temperature is 70 degrees or higher, but they can survive lower temperatures with the right conditions.

Habitat

American Cockroaches are often found in sewers and basements, particularly around pipes and drains.

Threats

Cockroaches have been reported to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms, and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens. They can pick up germs on the spines of their legs and bodies as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage and then carry these into food or onto food surfaces. Germs that cockroaches eat from decaying matter or sewage are protected while in their bodies and remain infective for several weeks longer than if they had been exposed to cleaning agents, rinse water, or just sunlight and air. Recent medical studies have shown that cockroach allergens cause lots of allergic reactions in inner city children. They were even shown to cause asthma in children. These allergens build up in deposits of droppings, secretions, cast skins, and dead bodies of roaches.