Cockroach Identification & Prevention

What are cockroaches?

Cockroaches are invasive insects with flat, oval-shaped bodies, two long antennae, and six spine-covered legs. While some cockroaches have wings, they are generally poor fliers. Cockroaches have a three-stage life cycle from egg to nymph to adult. Cockroach nymphs look similar to adults, but are smaller in size and are wingless.

Three common species of cockroaches living in our area are American cockroaches, German cockroaches, and Oriental cockroaches.

American cockroaches - The most common household-invading cockroach in the United States, American cockroaches have dark, reddish-brown bodies with a distinct, yellowish figure-eight pattern behind their heads. Both males and females are strong fliers. 

German cockroaches - German cockroaches have light brown to tan bodies with black stripes running horizontally down their heads. German cockroaches rarely use their wings, but have little trouble getting into homes and businesses, especially restaurants. These pests are notorious for finding their way into kitchens and pantries, contaminating everything they come into contact with.

Oriental cockroaches - Oriental cockroaches have smooth bodies with shiny-black coloration. They do not fly, but you can recognize their presence based on their emission of a powerful, foul-smelling odor wherever they go. Oriental cockroaches are commonly found in cool, damp locations such as storm drains, sewers, basements, and cellars.

Are cockroaches dangerous?

Cockroaches carry a number of potential hazards to people and pets they come into contact with. Their bodies play host to a wide variety of bacteria, pathogens, and parasites that spread to any surface they crawl over. They contaminate food, food prep areas, dishes, and other surfaces of homes or businesses with their excrement and saliva.

Cockroaches spread a wide variety of diseases and infections, including dysentery, salmonellosis, gastroenteritis, and E. coli. In addition to disease, roach feces, saliva, and shed skins can trigger allergies and asthma attacks, especially in children. Cockroaches rarely bite people, but your chances of receiving a bite increases with a large infestation.

Why do I have a cockroaches problem?

If you’ve been seeing cockroaches around your home, it’s probably because they’ve found a dark, damp spot inside to claim for their own. Furthermore, seeing one roach is likely an indication of a larger problem. Roaches are attracted to homes with ideal warm, damp conditions. They also look for homes where food and water are readily available. If you’ve been leaving food out, leaving your garbage can open, or if your home has an issues with moisture, don’t be surprised if you begin to see cockroaches sneaking about.

Some common household features that can attract cockroaches include the following:

  • Leaky pipes
  • Open trash containers
  • Gardens
  • Mulch or compost piles
  • Trees too near the perimeter
  • Pet food containers

Cockroaches get inside through openings found around windows and doors and through cracks inside your home’s foundations and exterior walls. It’s also common for them to be accidentally introduced into homes inside mail, boxes, packages, potted plants, used appliances, electronics, furniture, or rugs.

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Where will I find cockroaches?

Cockroaches can be found in a variety of places around the home No place suits them better than somewhere that’s warm, dark, humid, and in close proximity to food. This makes bathrooms and kitchens a common target, but they can also be found in flower beds, in mulch, on trees, and inside pipes. Roaches like the heat that large appliances give off and will sometimes nest underneath or inside them. Outside, cockroaches will congregate in and around piles of garbage and other decaying materials.

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How can I prevent cockroaches in the future?

In addition to our residential pest control and commercial pest control services, here are some cockroach prevention tips:

  • Inspect all packages, boxes, appliances, and furniture for cockroaches before bringing them inside.
  • Ensure your gutters are directing water away from the outside of your home.
  • Place weatherstripping and install door sweeps to all exterior doors.
  • Install screens on windows or keep them closed.
  • Use outdoor trash cans with locking lids.
  • Repair leaky pipes, fixtures, and drains.
  • Keep storage areas clean and free of clutter.
  • Seal food inside airtight containers or in the refrigerator.
  • Vacuum and mop regularly, and quickly clean up spills as they occur.
  • Use dehumidifiers strategically to reduce humidity levels in your home or business.
  • Seal gaps or cracks in the foundation and exterior walls of your home that allow cockroaches entry.
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