Everything You Need to Know About Cockroach Infestation

It’s important to spot a cockroach infestation quickly. Identifying the type of cockroach you are dealing will help determine the best way to deal with the infestation. The most common cockroaches are American cockroaches, German cockroaches, and Oriental cockroaches. Here are some important facts that will help you recognize an infestation and learn the best way to solve or prevent infestation in the future.


Everything You Need to Know About Cockroach Infestation [infographic]

Identifying Cockroaches

Most of us are pretty sure we know a cockroach when we see one. But there are actually many different species of cockroach, and knowing which one is infesting your home will affect how you treat the infestation. The three most common types of cockroaches found in human habitats are the American Cockroach, the German Cockroach, and the Oriental Cockroach.

American Cockroach

The American cockroach is about 3 inches long in its adult form. They are mahogany or reddish brown in color, with a yellow band that outlines the area behind the head.

American cockroaches reproduce by leaving small egg capsules. The capsules contain about 16 eggs and are usually left in warm moist areas, like a bathroom or a heated laundry room. The cases are brown in color and firm to the touch. Once the eggs hatch, tiny nymphs emerge. If there is enough food, the nymphs will grow to adults in as little as five and a half months, shedding their skin multiple times as they grow larger.

Adult American cockroaches have wings and are able to fly though they are not especially suited for flight. They will usually fly only short distances, not as a main means of transportation.

American cockroaches naturally live outdoors in warm, moist areas. They eat fungi, tiny bits of wood, algae, or small insects. American cockroaches are also common in sewer systems and can get into homes through doors with damaged weather stripping. They also get into homes via basement doors or windows.

American Cockroach Infestation

American cockroaches enter homes because they are looking for food and water. Once in a home, they will seek out warm, moist areas. They are generally found in bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, and under sinks.

American cockroaches often forage for food in hard to reach areas such as drains or under large kitchen appliances like refrigerators or ovens. They can also be seen scurrying around kitchen cabinets or occasionally on the floor, usually toward the edge of the room or under an overhanging cabinet.

American cockroaches feed on scraps of food, food residue, or crumbs found on floors, dirty dishes, drains, and in kitchen cabinets.

American cockroaches tend to be active, so it is very possible for homeowners to see the actual bugs scurrying across the floor or a kitchen cabinet. When startled, American cockroaches move quickly and will run to a dark area or even fly a short distance.

Infestations can also be indicated by droppings. They are small and look similar to mouse droppings, but lack the pointed ends and bits of hair that indicate true mouse dropping. Instead, American cockroach dropping have ridges and blunt ends.

Another typical sign of infestation is egg capsules, usually found in moist, damp areas.

German Cockroach

German cockroaches are incredibly common. They are found all around the world in almost all human habitations. Unlike the darker brown American cockroach, German cockroaches are light brown or tan. They have wings and are capable of flight, but prefer to run when startled, rarely taking to the air.

In a warm tropical climate, German cockroaches could survive outdoors. However, in most of the world German cockroaches are almost exclusively in human habitations, in homes, restaurants, and commercial buildings. They tend to settle in warm and humid parts of a structure, such as a bathroom or under a kitchen sink. Since German cockroaches often live outdoors, they usually get into a home by hitching a ride on an item brought into the house, such as a box, bag, container, or even a used appliance. Once inside a home, German cockroaches can easily travel between rooms (or units in a multi-unit building) by getting into drains and following the pipes.

German cockroaches are known for their ability to live of even small bits of food left behind by humans. They will even eat non-food items such as toothpaste, soap, or even book-bindings.

Part of what makes German cockroaches so ubiquitous is their ability to procreate quickly and in large numbers. An adult female will produce 4 to 6 egg capsules in her lifetimes, each with 30 to 40 eggs. The eggs hatch one or two days after the capsule is deposited by the female, and the nymphs reach maturity in about 100 days. The adults will then live another 100 to 200 days, reproducing quickly to and create even more cockroaches.

German Cockroach Infestation

Unlike American cockroaches, German cockroach egg capsules hatch 1 or  2 days after they are deposited by the female. So it is more common to find empty egg cases. In large numbers, German cockroaches may produce a slight musty odor.

German cockroaches are relatively small, so they can hide easily. They also reproduce quickly and have few natural predators when living in a human habitat. For this reason, professional pest control is almost always required to deal with a German cockroach infestation.

Oriental Cockroach

Oriental cockroaches can range in color from dark red to shiny black. The males are about 25mm long, while the females are much larger, around 32mm long. Neither can fly, and the females don’t have wings at all.

Unlike the American and German cockroaches, Oriental cockroaches look for cool areas, such as basements or cellars. They also climb around air ducts, water drains, and toilets. Although they prefer cool areas, they cannot do without water. An Oriental cockroach can go for a month without food, but only two weeks without water.

Another difference between Oriental cockroaches and the American or German species is their choice of food. While American and German cockroaches mostly feed off human food droppings, Oriental cockroaches have an affinity to filth, garbage, and decaying matter. For this reason, they are especially prone to spreading pathogens they pick up from the filth they eat. These cockroaches can carry a variety of diseases and disease causing bacteria, such as E.coli and Salmonella.

Oriental Cockroach Infestation

Oriental cockroaches are nocturnal, coming out mostly at night. They may be spotted in rooms that are usually undisturbed and kept cool and dark, such as basements or storage rooms. In warmer summer months, they may also be spotted outside around drains, sewer grates, and other moist areas.

Like other cockroaches, you may find egg capsules in dark, protected places. You may also see the cockroaches themselves scurrying away, especially when entering a dark, undisturbed area and turning on a light.

Treating a Cockroach Infestation

Cockroaches are good at hiding and reproduce quickly. If you’ve seen one cockroach, or found an egg capsule, there are likely many more hiding just out of site. There are some do-it-yourself treatments. These include poisons and insecticides that come in sprays or powders, as well as “roach motels” and other traps. Because infestations usually include a large number of cockroaches, these approaches rarely succeed in completely eliminating the problem.

The best way to deal with a cockroach infestation is to call in a professional, like People’s Pest Control. People’s will determine what type of cockroach you are dealing with and come up with a plan to eliminate the infestation. They will also set up regular maintenance plans to make sure that your home or business remains bug free. However, there are never any long term contracts. People’s Pest Control knows that our superior service and customer satisfaction is all it takes to keep our customers.

Check out our testimonials to see what our many satisfied customers are saying about People’s Pest Control, and contact us today for your free, no obligation quote.

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