German Cockroach Blatella germanica
Adult German cockroaches are ½ to 5/8 inch long and tan to light
brown. Although they have fully developed wings, they do not fly.
Nymphs are similar in appearance to adults except that they are
smaller and lack wings. The German cockroach is best identified
by its small size and by two dark parallel lines running from the
back of the head to the wings.
German cockroaches produce a larger number of eggs per
capsule, up to 48 nymphs, and they undergo the shortest time
from hatching to reach sexual maturity. It takes the egg about 28
days to hatch, and a new egg capsule is made a few weeks later.
In a lifetime of a female, which is about 20 to 30 weeks, she can
create up to 10,000 decedents! The reason many nymphs
actually survive is because the female carries the egg capsule
with her while the eggs develop, also they are the smaller than
most cockroaches and can hide themselves in many places
inaccessible to individuals of larger species.
Most of the time an infestation of the German cockroach begins
by bringing in cartons and other materials from infested structures
that harbor the roaches or their eggs. Kitchens, bathrooms and
other locations that provide food, moisture, warmth and shelter
are preferred habitats. German cockroaches are mainly active at
night, when they search for food and water.
They do not like motion and usually avoid light, so if you are
seeing them in the daytime while you are moving about the room,
you probably have a larger population than you realize. They also
can occur in attics, wall voids, crawl spaces, foundation cracks,
garbage areas and around the landscape.
Because cockroaches tend to frequent garbage cans, sewers and
other disease-laden locations, germs attach to their body that can
transfer to food contact surfaces such as utensils, surfaces where
food is prepared, plates or dishes, and so forth, during the normal
course of roach activities. These include disease-causing
bacteria: Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli, Streptococcus
(pneumonia), several helminthes (hookworm, pinworms,
tapeworms), and even viruses.
American Cockroach Periplaneta americana Linnaeus
The American cockroach is a very common pest deriving from the
very large cockroach family. An adult cockroach can reach up to 1
½ inches long and are reddish-brown in color, both males and
females are fully winged. The wings on the male slightly extend
over the back of the abdomen, whereas the females wings are the
same length as the abdomen.
There are three stages of a cockroach’s life, the egg, nymph
(juvenile), and adult. When the process of reproduction begins
the female cockroach glues or drops ¼ inch long bean-like egg
capsules that contain about 15 eggs, she drops these capsules in
or around infested areas. The nymphs then hatch from the eggs
resembling the adult cockroach, but at this stage they are smaller,
are grayish-brown in color, and have yet to develop wings. These
nymphs will molt 10 to 13 times over the course of a year (470 to
600 days depending on temperature) before they become full size
This type of cockroach is considered to be “peridomestic”,
meaning they live outdoors, normally in warm, moist, humid
environments but can survive in drier areas if they have access to
water. Some common outdoor structures these cockroaches dwell
in are the manholes of sewers, landfills, and on the undersides of
metal covers over large sump pumps.
When found indoors American cockroaches are common in areas
where food is prepared or stored and moisture is plentiful. They
are frequently found in restaurants, grocery stores, and bakeries.
They are also associated with commercial kitchens, boiler rooms,
and steam tunnels. In and around residential or commercial
buildings, American cockroaches usually infest basements, crawl
spaces, bathrooms, and decorative landscaping. Indoor
populations tend to forage outdoors during warm weather.
Similarly, during the winter months, outdoor populations may
move inside seeking warmth and moisture.
Cockroaches feed on a wider variety of foods and non-foods
including, cheese, beer, leather, bakery products, starch in book
bindings, manuscripts, glue, hair, flakes of dried skin, dead
animals, plant materials, soiled clothing, and glossy paper with
starch sizing. The problem with this cockroach is not what it eats,
but where it lives and feeds, which are unsanitary and disease
ridden areas such as, sewers, dumps, garbage disposals,
kitchens, bathrooms, and indoor storage. Filth from these sources
is spread by cockroaches to food supplies, food preparation
surfaces, dishes, utensils, and other surfaces. Cockroaches
contaminate far more food than they are able to eat.
The health risk with having the American Cockroach in a home or
place of business is obvious. These cockroaches carry disease
and bacteria on their legs and on the bottom of their abdomens,
making it quite easy for them to contaminate food or any other
surface they come in contact with. Several bacteria commonly
associated with American cockroaches are known to cause food
poisoning, dysentery, and diarrhea in humans. However, it should
be noted that American cockroaches have never been implicated
as the cause of any disease outbreak, so while American
cockroaches are known to carry disease organisms, they are not
a major disease health threat. American Cockroaches have also
been know to carry allergens that can make humans, if they every
come in contact with something that has been infected, can cause
skin rashes, watery eyes, congestion of nasal passages, asthma,
Brown Banded Cockroach
Brown Banded Cockroach Supella longipalpa
Brown banded cockroaches get their name from the two lighter bands they
have across their dark brownish bodies. Adult males are about ½ inch long
and light brown, with fully developed wings. The adult females are shorter
and stouter than the males and their wings do not cover the entire abdomen.
Among cockroach species, brown banded cockroaches have the most
distinctions between sexes. Females have larger abdomen and shorter
wings than males. Both males and females are quite active at night, avoid
light, and do not need moisture like the German and American Cockroaches
do; adult males fly and jump readily when disturbed.
Like many cockroaches there are three stages, egg, nymph, and adult. The
life cycle begins when the female cockroach deposits egg cases in clusters
inside furniture, undersides of tables, draperies, wall decorations, shelving
and ceilings. The egg capsule contains an average of 13 eggs; a female
produces 10 to 20 cases in her lifetime which can be up to 600 cockroaches
in one year. Eggs hatch in 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 months, and nymphs develop in 3 to
9 months, and the lifespan of an adult Brown Banded cockroach is about 13
to 45 weeks.
The Brown Banded cockroach prefers to hide in warm, elevated areas near
the ceiling, behind wall decorations, pictures, loose wallpaper, in shower
stalls, underneath chairs and tables, in closets, beneath or inside
upholstered furniture, and in electrical appliances such as TV sets, stereos,
radios and toasters. They develop and live throughout the building
(especially bedrooms), making it very difficult to control and exterminate.
The Brown Banded cockroach feeds on a wide variety of materials. Like
members of other cockroach species, it may consume materials like glue or
paste (especially from animal-based materials), starch, and certain color
dyes. As a result, items like stamps, envelopes, bindings of older books,
draperies, and occasionally wallpapers may show signs of feeding. A way to
prevent an infestation of this type of cockroach, or any type for that matter, is
to keep surfaces clean, remove clutter, vacuum regularly, seal up cracks in
floors, walls and outdoor areas, don’t keep dirty dishes in the sink for long
periods of time, and keep foods in closed or air tight containers.
Like many cockroaches, the spread of disease and bacteria is a major
concern. Cockroaches have been reported to spread at least 33 kinds of
bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms, and at least seven other kinds of
human pathogens. They can pick up germs on the spines of their legs and
bodies as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage and then carry
these into food or onto food surfaces. Germs that cockroaches eat from
decaying matter or sewage are protected while in their bodies and may
remain infective for several weeks longer than if they had been exposed to
cleaning agents, rinse water, or just sunlight and air.
Oriental Cockroach Blatta orientalis
Adult Oriental cockroaches are about one inch in length. Both
male and female adults are very dark brown, nearly black; their
bodies usually have a somewhat greasy sheen. Females have
small, functionless, rudimentary wing pads and broader, heavier
bodies. Males have wings that cover only about three-quarters of
their abdomen. Males are apparently unable to fly. Nymphs are
not much different from the adults, just smaller and no wings (if
males) until they are full grown adults.
The life cycle of the Oriental cockroach is very similar to those of
different species of cockroaches. It begins when the female roach
produces egg cases and she may carry them, much like the
German cockroach, but only for about 30 hours, rather than
waiting for the embryo to be produced.
The egg cases are then generally glued to a surface in a hidden
location, usually a warm sheltered spot where food will be
available for emerging nymphs. Egg cases are 3/8 inch long,
brown, and purse shaped. A full compliment of 16 eggs can be
laid in the egg capsule, which consists of two rows of eight eggs
each. Immature cockroaches emerge from egg cases in 6 to 8
weeks and require 6 to 12 months to mature. Adult cockroaches
can live up to one year, during which females produce an average
of 150 young.
The habitat the Oriental cockroach prefers to live in, is dark, cool,
and damp. They are found indoors and outdoors, outside they
can be found in many places, including abandoned cisterns and
water valve pits, in yards, beneath leaves, in bark mulch around
shrubs, flowers, and foundations, in dumps, stone walls, and in
garbage and trash dumps and trash chutes. Indoors they can be
seen under porches, sewers, drains, crawl spaces, dark, damp
basements, and floor drains. This type of roach is very sluggish
and slow they are seldom found in walls, floor boards, or in higher
places such as cupboards or cabinets.
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