There’s one pest that every homeowner would rather not see inside their home – cockroaches. There are many distinct species of cockroaches, and each has their own unique characteristics. There are two popular types of cockroaches in the southeastern part of the US, but the American Cockroach is the largest and one of the most common out of the two. Here is a breakdown of the American cockroach and how to decide your plan of action to remove them from your home.
What is an American Cockroach?
The American cockroach is a major pest in the United States and is the largest of the home-infesting roaches. They are commonly known as the water bug, the Bombay canary, or the palmetto bug. This specific species is not native to United States, despite its name. They are typically reddish-brown with a yellowish figure eight pattern on the back of their head. They are oval shaped and range from 1 1/4″ to 2 1/8” in length.
Where are They Found?
American cockroaches are typically found outside, but it is not uncommon to find them indoors. During the summer months they can be found outside in areas like flowerbeds and underneath mulch piles. They will typically move indoors when they experience a notable change in the weather or food shortage. They prefer warm, moist, and dark environments such as basements or crawlspaces. These pests can enter structures through the sewer system, via human belongings, or by mass migration from other structures.
Are They a Threat?
The presence of American cockroaches in a home can pose a serious threat to your health. Cockroaches have been known to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, including E. Coli and Salmonella, along with different types of parasitic worms and other kinds of human pathogens. They have also been known to elicit year-round allergic reactions and asthma attacks due to their saliva, urine, and fecal droppings.
How Can I Prevent Them?
There are many ways to prevent roaches from entering your home. Here are some of our favorite ways to keep them out.
- Always keep your home clean and sanitary. Be sure to not let dirty dishes pile up in your sink and to clean up spills as soon as possible.
- Vacuum at least once a week to help remove food particles.
- Vent your crawl space to prevent moisture build up.
- Run water periodically in spare bathrooms to keep u-traps filled so that roaches can’t make an appearance.
Finding these pests in your home can be quite alarming. Implementing cockroach prevention measures such as fixing leaks, sealing off entry points, and keeping kitchen and bathrooms clean will help keep these pests out. If this happens despite your best efforts at prevention, consider contacting a professional local pest control company that can help identify your pest, locate points of entry, and provide a prevention plan for your property to help keep roaches out.
Roaches are resilient pests that have survived millions of years on Earth. Cockroaches are naturally tropical pests, preferring warm, humid habitats to thrive in. In fact, most species of roaches will die off at temperatures below 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Roaches have learned to adapt and are expert overwintering pests, making their way indoors to avoid exposure to cold temperatures and survive the winter.
There are four species of cockroaches in the United States that can survive year-round with the appropriate overwintering environment.
- American Cockroach: The American cockroach usually lives outdoors but will come inside during the winter months. These roaches like water and are often found hiding out in bathrooms and laundry rooms. If they overwinter outside they can be found in decaying trees and woodpiles.
- German Cockroach: The German cockroach is found throughout the United States. They commonly invade homes and can be difficult to eliminate once an infestation is established. They reproduce quickly, exploding their populations in your house. German roaches can survive winter as long as they find a humid environment and a food source (such as in your kitchen or under your appliances).
- Oriental Cockroach: The Oriental cockroach is an indoor species but they will venture outside in search of food. These roaches must have water to survive and can often be found in basements, crawlspaces, and floor drains. If they overwinter outdoors they will hide out in rock walls or other areas that offer shelter and warmth. Oriental roaches only reproduce in the winter so their survival through the colder months is critical. They can tolerate lower temperatures than most other species.
- Brown-Banded Cockroach: The brown-banded cockroach is found throughout the United States but is not as common as their German counterparts. These roaches are attracted to heat and can be found in near appliances, heaters, or anything else with an electric motor. They are often found in kitchens and prefer to hide out in high cabinets.
To answer the question above, roaches don’t necessarily die off in the winter. As long as they can find a warm place to shelter with a food source they can survive and reproduce year-round. The next question to ask yourself is, “How are they getting into my home?” Roaches can squeeze through openings as small as 3/16″ and will use any opening they find in your walls, siding, baseboards, and ceilings to get inside. Roaches are also notorious hitchhikers and will catch a ride indoors on bags, boxes, firewood, furniture, and appliances.
Keep roaches out this winter by:
- Emptying your trashcans often and keeping them clean.
- Cleaning up crumbs from counters and floors daily, including spilled pet food.
- Sweeping daily.
- Vacuuming frequently.
- Making sure food is not left in sink strainers.
- Running the garbage disposal frequently.
- Keeping food (including pet food) sealed in airtight containers.
- Not leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight.
- Keeping appliances clean of food and grease.
- Cleaning out clutter in your garage and attic, especially cardboard.
- Using plastic storage boxes rather than cardboard when possible.
- Sealing entrances around utility pipes.
- Ventilating crawlspaces to prevent moisture.
- Storing soap out of reach.
- Not leaving pet food out in bowls overnight.
- Drying all sinks, tubs, and showers before bed each night.
- Using a dehumidifier in your home.
- Carefully inspecting items before bringing them into your home.
If you have a problem with cockroaches or any other household pest, contact your local pest control company for an evaluation and treatment plan.
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The cockroach might just seem like a creepy, annoying nuisance, but it can cause more damage than expected. Cockroaches transmit over 30 different kinds of bacteria – E. Coli, Salmonella, and more. In addition to this, they can also trigger asthma and allergy attacks as their droppings, saliva and shed skin contain allergens that increase asthma symptoms, especially in children.
As one of the most common household pests, it’s important to keep roaches under control to lessen the effects they cause. Here we breakdown the types of cockroaches you could be seeing in your home and how you can prevent them in the future.
Types of Cockroaches
- American Cockroach: The largest of the house-infesting cockroaches, the American cockroach is found throughout the United States and worldwide. They are reddish-brown with a yellowish figure-eight pattern on the back of their head. They are often found in basements and sewers. These pests are attracted to moist surfaces and can also be found in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.
- Brown-Banded Cockroach: This species first entered the U.S. in 1903 and is now found nationwide. The brown-banded cockroach got its name from the two light brown bands that appear across its wings. They prefer warmer, drier, and higher locations in a room and can be found mostly in cabinets and behind picture frames. This species will typically hide its egg cases in or underneath furniture.
- German Cockroach: The German cockroach is the most common species found worldwide and is found across the U.S. They prefer warm and humid spaces but are typically found in spaces where humans eat, such as kitchens. They can be identified by their light brown body with two dark brown stripes on their back.
- Oriental Cockroach: The Oriental cockroach exhibits a dark reddish-brown to shiny black color and is found in the northern regions of the United States. They are commonly found in sewers and enter homes through drains or door thresholds. This species is considered the dirtiest of all cockroaches due to the strong odor that they create.
- Seal Entrances: With cooler weather approaching, cockroaches are seeking warmer hiding places. Ensuring all openings in doors, windows, and foundations are sealed is the first step to take. Replace old weather-stripping and make sure there are no holes in window screens to help stop these intruders.
- Focus on the Kitchen: One of the most effective ways to prevent cockroaches is to begin pest-proofing in the kitchen. Clean up any spills or crumbs immediately and take the trash out regularly to prevent roaches from wanting to stay. The pantry can also be included by this – consider storing your food in sealed containers.
- Limit Moisture: Roaches need water to survive. Dripping faucets and leaky pipes will attract these pests inside your home. Look throughout the house for any loose pipes and seal them as soon as possible. To dry up areas in your basement, employ a dehumidifier to take care of that. If you have a crawlspace, consider enclosing your crawlspace to ensure no moisture is found.
- Declutter: Cockroaches like to find hiding places during the daytime, but by nightfall they emerge. Decluttering and cleaning out items to limit their hiding spaces may help in preventing them in the long run. Some ways to declutter include old newspapers, utilizing plastic containers over cardboard, and making sure clothing isn’t piled on the floor.
While prevention can help keep cockroaches away, sometimes it’s best to get a professional involved. A local pest control company will be able to inspect your home and provide you with the best treatment and prevention plan going forward.
Your home provides warmth, shelter, and food – three things roaches are in search of this winter season. These pests will easily sneak in and infest your home if there are no preventative measures in place. Check out our top 3 ways to prevent cockroaches from entering your home.
Declutter Your Home
During the day, roaches tend to hide in dark secluded areas until nightfall arrives. By decluttering your home, you eliminate the chance of these pests from hiding out inside and finding items to use for shelter, such as cardboard or newspapers. Instead of using cardboard boxes for storage, switch them out for plastic storage containers. Always recycle and get rid of any old newspapers and unused cardboard boxes.
Seal Up Your Home
If you can see daylight coming through the outside of a door or window, chances are that cockroaches can get in. Roaches can fit into the smallest cracks or crevices leading inside the home. It’s important to inspect the exterior of your home frequently, always looking along the foundation, roof, attic, or crawlspace vents. If a smaller gap or hole is found, seal them using caulk. For larger holes, use steel wool or foam and for chimneys and attic vents use fine wire mesh.
Dry Out Your Home
Moisture will always attract roaches since they need water to survive. It’s important to check your home for leaking faucets, sinks, pipes, and even your refrigerators and appliances. If you notice a leak, make sure you get it fixed immediately.
While prevention can help keep these pests away, sometimes it’s best to call a professional. A pest control company will be able to thoroughly inspect your home, identify the type of cockroach you have, and provide you with the best treatment and prevention plan moving forward.
German roaches are one of the most common household pests and also one of the most difficult to get rid of. It is important to understand how to identify these cockroaches live and what they are attracted to in order to understand how to get rid of them.
These roaches are light brown to tan in color with 2 black horizontal stripes behind their heads. They are smaller in size (adults usually grow to about 1/2″ in length) and although they have wings, they rarely fly and prefer to run instead. They are most often found indoors, preferring warm humid environments like the ones found in your kitchen or bathroom. They will eat almost anything but prefer crumbs, spills, pet food, book bindings, soap, and toothpaste. German cockroaches are often brought into your home on dry goods, such as bags, boxes, cardboard, used appliances, and furniture.
German roaches are dangerous to humans because they can spread bacteria and contaminate surfaces with salmonella and E. coli. Their feces, cast skins, and saliva can cause allergic reactions which can subsequently trigger asthma.
Common signs of German cockroaches include droppings which are small and black and look like pepper, commonly found in drawers and cabinets and on the tops of doors; egg cases left behind by females; and a mild, musty odor that gets stronger as their populations grow.
These pests are nocturnal and usually only scavenge at night, making it difficult to know you have a cockroach infestation until it is already established. Once inside, German roaches can reproduce quickly, making them very difficult to eradicate. Each female is capable of producing 4 to 6 egg cases per life cycle and can live anywhere from 100 to 200 days.
Because they can be so hard to get rid of, the best way to eliminate German roaches is to prevent them in the first place. Here are some German roach prevention tips you can use in your home.
- Empty your trashcans often and keep them clean.
- Clean up crumbs from counters and floors daily, including spilled pet food.
- Sweep daily.
- Vacuum frequently.
- Make sure food is not left in sink strainers.
- Run the garbage disposal frequently.
- Keep food (including pet food) sealed in airtight containers.
- Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight.
- Keep appliances clean of food and grease.
- Clean out clutter in your garage and attic, especially cardboard.
- Use plastic storage boxes rather than cardboard when possible.
- Seal entrances around utility pipes.
- Ventilate crawlspaces to prevent moisture.
- Store soap out of reach.
- Don’t leave pet food out in bowls overnight.
- Dry all sinks, tubs, and showers before bed each night.
- Use a dehumidifier in your home.
If you have a problem with roaches or any other pests, contact your local pest control company to properly identify the type of pest you are dealing with and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan going forward.
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