Cockroaches have been around for over 300 million years – even longer than the dinosaurs! These pests are resilient and adaptive with odd behaviors and survival tactics which have helped them survive for so long. While most homeowners are aware of the health risks associated with roaches, including allergies, asthma, and the spread of germs and bacteria, there are lots of interesting facts about cockroaches you might not realize. Here are 7 things you might not know about cockroaches.
- They’re everywhere! There are almost 4500 species of cockroaches worldwide with new species still being discovered. German cockroaches are the most common species. The largest species is found in South America. This cockroach averages 6 inches in length with an impressive 1 foot wingspan! The average cockroach is only 1/2″ to 2″ in length.
- They like their beauty sleep. Roaches spend 75% of their time resting. They are also not morning people. When roaches awaken they are unable to form new memories. It takes them time to become functional and they don’t start to retain new information until later in the day.
- They are flexible. Roaches can squeeze through a gap as small as 1/4 of their body length. They accomplish this feat by flattening their bodies and turning their legs to the side.
- They are speed demons. Roaches are fast movers reaching speeds of up to 3 mph. Even babies can move at these rapid speeds. This not only allows them to quickly invade new spaces but also allows them to spread bacteria and germs at a much faster pace.
- They can go without food, water, and their heads. Roaches can go up to a month without food and up to a week without water or their heads. They could actually live longer without their heads but the absence of their mouth leaves them unable to eat or drink. Roaches will eat anything from dead insects to soap, cloth, and glue. They have even been known to eat other roaches when food supplies are low or the infestation gets so large in an effort to reduce the population.
- They can hold their breath. Roaches are master breath holders. They can submerge in water for up to 1/2 an hour and hold their breath for up to 40 minutes. This is mostly due to their efficient breathing system that allows them to breathe through holes in their body segments rather than their mouths. Holding their breath also helps regulate their loss of water.
- Roaches are found in chocolate. Yes, you read that right! There are an average of 8 insect parts in each bar of chocolate you consume.The FDA has deemed this a safe amount for consumption. The solution to this dilemma is to apply more pesticides which would be more harmful than actually consuming the insects. These parts can also trigger allergic reactions when they are consumed. That chocolate allergy might, in fact, be a cockroach allergy instead. This can lead to rash, itching, respiratory problems, and even migraines.
Cockroaches are one of the most highly adaptable pests on earth which makes them extremely difficult to control or eliminate. To prevent cockroaches keep food sealed and stored properly; clean your kitchen daily; don’t leave food or pet food out overnight; dispose of garbage regularly and use cans with sealing and locking lids; identify any small cracks or holes around your home and seal them; and make sure basements and crawlspaces are kept dry and well ventilated. If you suspect you have a cockroach infestation, contact a professional pest control company who can provide you with a thorough evaluation and appropriate treatment and prevention plan.
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Winter can be a difficult time for cockroaches. While they are adapted to thrive in warm temperatures, these cold-blooded pests cannot survive environments that are too hot or too cold. In fact, some species stop growing and reproducing when exposed to colder temperatures, usually consistently below 45 degrees, for extended periods of time. As temperatures drop, roaches will seek out shelter in warm places, most often in our homes and offices. These buildings provide them with everything they need to survive the winter – warmth, access to water, and an abundant supply of food.
Prevention is key when it comes to roaches. Here are 5 tips to prevent cockroaches from taking over your home this winter.
1. Clean Thoroughly.
Roaches are attracted to dirt and crumbs as a source of food Make sure to always wash dishes after a meal and put them away. Clean up any crumbs and spills immediately. Take out the garbage before going to bed. Clean any grease from your stovetop. Keep food sealed in airtight containers. Sweep, mop, and vacuum on a regular basis. Don’t leave pet food, treats, and water out overnight.
Clearing out clutter gets rid of places roaches can use to hide. Keep rooms clutter free and dusted often. Use plastic storage bins with lockable lids versus cardboard boxes. Eliminate newspapers and cardboard altogether as roaches love to breed in these materials.
3. Seal It Up
Roaches get into homes under doors and through cracks. Identifying these and sealing them up helps eliminate points of entry for cockroaches and other pests. Thoroughly inspect around windows and doors, along foundations and the roof, in attics and crawlspace vents, and around holes used for utility and plumbing lines. For small holes and cracks, use caulk to seal them. For larger holes, especially around pipes, use steel wool and foam to seal. Fine mesh wire can be used to seal around attic vents and chimneys.
4. Fix Leaks
Roaches, like most pests, need water and moisture to survive. Therefore, standing water or excessive moisture can attract roaches to your home. Regularly inspect your plumbing for leaks and repair them immediately. Make sure to check faucets, sinks, refrigerators, and appliances for leaks and excessive moisture. Crawlspaces are also a common source of excess moisture in homes. Consider crawlspace enclosure to help minimize moisture under your home.
5. Call A Pro
A cockroach infestation can be extremely difficult to control. Prevention can only go so far in the battle against roaches. If you suspect you have a problem with cockroaches, contact a professional pest control company who can help identify the type of roach you have, thoroughly inspect your home to identify points of entry or food sources, and help set you up with a comprehensive roach control treatment and prevention plan.
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Any type of pest infestation is cause for a headache and panic, but no infestation is more difficult and stress-inducing than that of a German cockroach. They amass inside homes in large numbers, making them difficult to contain.
There are plenty of questions homeowners have when dealing with a possible invasion: “How do I know if this is a German roach?”; “Why are they in my home?”; and “What can I do to get rid of them?” Let’s take a moment to answer these questions.
How do I know if this is a German roach?
Adult German Cockroach Nymph German Cockroach
German cockroaches are among the smaller of the cockroach species, measuring anywhere between ½” – 5/8” in length. Oval-shaped and light brownish, almost tan, German cockroaches have two identifying, almost parallel, dark lines that run down their back just behind their head.
Why are they in my home?
German cockroaches are very good at hitchhiking and can make their way in to your home by way of grocery bags and cardboard boxes. They prefer dark, warm places where they can hide. While they can be found anywhere in a home, they are primarily found in bathrooms and kitchens.
What can I do to prevent or get rid of them?
Practicing good sanitation is the best prevention to a German roach infestation. Vacuuming often and looking throughout the home for possible entry points to seal are great preventative measures. A properly ventilated crawl space will help prevent the moisture that German roaches seek out. As always, if you suspect you have a German roach problem, contact your licensed pest professional to set up an inspection as soon as possible.