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Cockroaches – An Overview of the Roach

History

There are about 4,000 species of cockroach, of which 30 species are associated with human habitations and about four species are well known as pests. Among the best-known pest species are the American cockroach, the German cockroach, the Asian cockroach, and the Oriental cockroach. Tropical cockroaches are often much bigger and are found in much warmer climates.

The American cockroach adults grow to an average length of around 4 centimetres. They are reddish brown and have a yellowish margin on the body region behind the head. Immature cockroaches resemble adults except that they are wingless. The insect can travel quickly, often darting out of sight when someone enters a room, and can fit into small cracks and under doors despite its fairly large size. It is considered one of the fastest running insects. It has a pair of large compound eyes each having over 2000 individual lenses thus making it a very active night animal that shuns light.

The German cockroach is a small species of cockroach, measuring about 1.3 cm long, but are known to get bigger. It can be tan through brown to almost black, and has two dark parallel streaks running from the head to the base of the wings. Although it has wings, it is unable to sustain flight. The German cockroach is one of the most common and prominent household cockroaches in the world, and can be found throughout many human settlements. These insects are particularly fond of inhabiting restaurants, food processing facilities, hotels, and nursing homes. In colder climates, they are found only near human habitats, since they are not very tolerant to cold. This cockroach can be seen in the day occasionally, especially if there is a large population or if they have been disturbed. However, sightings are most commonly reported in the evening hours as they are most active at night.

The Asian cockroach is a species of cockroach that was first described in 1981 from insects collected on Okinawa Island, Japan. It is nearly identical to the German cockroach except for a few differences such as the German cockroach, it is about 1.6 cm long, is tan to brown in color, and has wings. However, its wings are longer than the German cockroach, and there is a difference between a groove in the abdomen between the two species. The quickest way to tell the difference between the two species is that the Asian cockroach is a strong flyer (almost like a moth) and is attracted to light, unlike the German cockroach. This species tends to prefer the outdoors, whereas the German cockroach prefers living indoors. It is found in tropical and subtropical climates.Cockroach

The Oriental cockroach is a large species of cockroach, measuring about 1 inch in length at maturity. It is dark brown to black in colour and has a glossy body. The female Oriental cockroach has a somewhat different appearance to the male, appearing to be wingless at casual glance but has two very short and useless wings just below her head. She has a wider body than the male. The male has long wings, which cover a majority of his body and are brown in colour, and has a more narrow body. The odd male is capable of very short flights, ranging about 2 to 3 meters. The female oriental cockroach looks somewhat similar to the Florida woods cockroach, and may be mistaken for it.


Cockroach Biology

  • A cockroach has three stages during its life cycle: egg, nymph, and adult.
  • Cockroaches carry over forty different pathogens, which could potentially be transferred to humans. These include plague, pneumonia, typhoid fever, and possibly polio, hepatitis, and other diseases.
  • Cockroaches are so hardy that they can even live nine days without their heads before they starve to death.
  • Roaches primarily come out for water, not food.
  • Cockroaches thrive in all conditions and live in the desert as well as the arctic.
  • Most roaches have the ability to fly, but not all do.
  • Cockroaches have white blood.
  • A cockroach that has just shed its skin is white with black eyes. After a few hours however, it will regain its regular shell coloring.
  • Cockroaches are equipped with a set of little claws on their feet designed for climbing.

 

Where Do Cockroaches Hide?

  • Dark and cool crevices anywhere in the home
  • Around cupboards and fixtures
  • Under stoves, dishwashers and fridges
  • Under sinks in kitchens and bathrooms
  • Sewers, basements and around drains
  • Anywhere there is a water and food source

 

Common Cockroach Misconceptions

Misconception 1
Cockroaches only live in dirty homes.

Reality
Wrong. Roaches live in the walls of even clean homes, they have larger colonies in less clean homes because there is a bigger food supply available.


Misconception 2
Cockroaches are active all night.

Reality
That is not exactly true. Roaches are primarily active for a 4 hour period of your household's normal night/sleep time. Although, they can be seen at other times as well. Although many think that cockroaches are afraid of light, they are not although they prefer darkness. To a cockroach, light means man is in the room, so they scurry to get away.


Misconception 3
Cockroaches do not bite.

Reality
False. The larger roaches have even been known to bite humans.


Misconception 4
Cockroaches have eyes in the back of their heads.

Reality
Some people think roaches must have eyes in the back of their heads, but they don't. They do have tiny little hairs that gage the air movement around them, so they feel you, they don't see you from behind.


 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can cockroaches move with you?
A: Cockroach larvae will hide anywhere they can. Moving with migrating human populations is exactly how pest roaches have been able to travel around the world.


Q: Why do Baits work on roaches?
A: Bait is created so that roaches find it practically irresistible. They always get a lethal dose. They then go back to their nest where they die. Roaches are cannibals so they eat the dead body of the contaminated roach. The cannibals die and in turn they get eaten.


Q: The roaches in my kitchen seem to be around the dish-washer, the stove or the fridge. Why?
A: They are finding food particles and/or water. Sometimes it's hard to change the feeding habits of roaches if the food they are eating is more attractive than the bait. In this case the source of the food needs to be either removed or made inaccessible to the roaches. This can be done by spraying around the food source with a solution which has a high residual. The roaches which cross the spray die and the other roaches will soon stop using the source.


Q: Why can't I find the products in my local stores?
A: Most highly effective chemicals are only available to pest control professionals with a licence. So the safest and most effective route to combating a roach problem is to seek professional help. Pest control products found in stores are less effective and therefore more expensive in the long run.

 

 

 

 

       

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