Cockroaches have been around for about 320 million years and have been a constant pest for humans. From Arctic climates to tropical forests, these hardy pests adapt to almost any environment and are tough to avoid. They are fast breeders, fast movers and aren’t very selective about what they eat. They eat anything from dead skin and feces to plants and human food, and just about anything else they can find.
Roaches can live a week or so without water, and a month without food. They can even live a month without their head! That makes for one tough pest. Tough as they are though, there are ways to prevent an infestation or get rid of cockroaches. Keeping kitchens, bathrooms and basements clean and dry goes a long way towards prevention. Taking out the trash on a daily basis, sealing food containers and other remedies can at least limit an infestation.
What to Look For
Cockroaches are oval-shaped, ranging in length from ½ to 2 inches in length. They range from tan, or reddish tan, to brown or black in color, depending on the species. Nymphs look very similar to adults, only smaller, and eggs are oblong with a brown color. While there are a lot of different species of roaches, only a few are considered major pests.
The three species most homeowners will encounter are the Brownbanded, the German and the American cockroach.
- German: About ½ inch long, tan or brown with two dark stripes running the length of their back. These are the most common type of cockroach found in most homes and they prefer warm environments around 70 degrees. They are often found in kitchens, bathrooms and other warm, moist areas.
- Brownbanded: About the same size as the German cockroach, this species is usually dark brown in color with a tan band on the outside of their wings. They like it a little warmer than the German cockroach and can usually be found near heaters, outlets and electrical devices such at televisions and computers.
- American: The largest of the three, the American cockroach can reach up to two inches in length and are a dark, reddish-brown color. They prefer wet or moist areas and are less likely to invade a home unless there is food or water that is easily accessible.
Why You Should Be Concerned
Most homeowners would agree that cockroaches are disgusting and unpleasant, but they are also a concern for health reasons. Salmonella, E. coli and other bacteria and diseases are spread by roaches and pose a real health concern. Research also shows a link between cockroaches and allergies in humans, especially children. Throw in the parasites that typically live on roaches and you have some pretty scary reasons to be concerned.
It’s always a good practice to get one of the best pest control services in your area and be sure to stay on top of this issue.