Cockroaches are arguably one of the most loathed pests out there to have. They have been around for millions of years, evolving into some of the most adaptable pests on Earth. Experimentation and research has proven cockroaches may even live through a nuclear war. This is a SOURCE pest, meaning the best defence is a good offense. Cleanliness, food stored correctly, lack of cardboard and other paper storage all can deter cockroaches. Cockroaches have a relatively small head and a broad, flattened body. Most species are reddish-brown to dark brown. They have large compound eyes, two simple eyes, and long, flexible antennae. The body is divided into three segments and they have a ten segmented abdomen. Cockroaches have four wings, three pairs of legs and can run up to 3 miles per hour. Unfortunately, cockroaches can cause allergies and trigger asthma attacks, especially in children. They can also spread nearly 33 different kinds of bacteria. There is nothing positive about a cockroach infestation. There are four primary pest species in the Pacific Northwest: German, American, Brown Banded, and Oriental.

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Cockroaches Identification

Oriental Cockroaches

Oriental Cockroaches are actually from Africa. They are large and very dark compared to other cockroaches. They usually travel through sewer pipes and drains. They prefer dirty places and cooler temperatures than other cockroaches. An Oriental cockroach creates a strong smell and is considered one of the dirtiest of all the cockroaches. Oriental cockroaches feed on all types of garbage and other organic material. Oriental cockroaches also live in sewers and wet, decaying areas, such as basements and crawl spaces, firewood and piles of leaves.

German Cockroach

German cockroaches are the most common cockroach in the United States. Each German cockroach can live about 100-200 days. German cockroaches are attracted to sweet and floury foods. They also eat non-organic items such as toothpaste and books. German cockroaches live in warm and damp places, like kitchens, bathrooms, and places where people eat and drink.

American Cockroach

The American cockroach is the largest cockroach found in houses, up to 2 inches in length. Females can lay up to 150 eggs per year in egg casings. They are a reddish-brown, with a yellowish figure 8 pattern on the back of the head. WHile the adults have wings, immature cockroaches will not develop them until later. American cockroaches prefer to live in warm, dark, camp areas, often entering structures through drains and pipes. Although American cockroaches can be found in homes, they are more common in larger commercial buildings, such as restaurants, grocery stores and hospitals. They have a voracious appetite and will eat just about anything, including plants and other insects.

Brown Banded Cockroach

Brown banded cockroaches get their name from the two light bands they have across their dark brownish bodies. They are a smaller species and live about 6 months or so. Brown banded cockroaches often hide their eggs in or under furniture. Brown banded cockroaches prefer to eat starchy foods, such as wallpaper paste and book bindings. Sometimes they’ll eat non-organic things, like nylon stockings. Brown banded cockroaches prefer warmer, drier, and higher locations than most cockroaches. While most cockroaches prefer to live in kitchens and pantries, Brown banded cockroaches will live in any room in the house. They do not need much moisture and avoid light whenever the can.

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Cockroaches Control Methods

Initial Identification and Eradication

Often times you may not even know you have an issue until the physical signs begin to show. Some signs to look for are easy to spot, however, once you have them it is time to call a professional.

Cockroaches leave a dust of black droppings that look like ground coffee. If water is abundant cockroaches will produce brown and irregular shaped smear marks as they crawl on horizontal surfaces and at wall-floor junctions. Cockroaches shed their skins 5-8 times as they mature through the nymph stages to adults and grow in size, so their husks will be around in vraks and cupboards. Look for egg casings. Cockroaches lay eggs in a capsule containing multiple eggs called an ootheca. Most species of cockroach drop the ootheca immediately, but the German cockroach carries it until just before hatching, when it releases around 30 tiny nymphs.

Look for unusual signs of damage as cockroaches will attack organic goods including leather and books. Also, cockroaches defecate, producing a pheromone that attracts other cockroaches, creating a lingering and unpleasant musty smell that taints items and surfaces they come into contact with.

Roaches feed at night. You might see cockroaches when turning on a light at night. German cockroaches need warmth and humidity and may be found around bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchen areas. They are also good climbers, scaling smooth surfaces like glass & polished metal. Oriental cockroaches can cope with cooler, damp conditions and can be found in basements or drains. Although not as agile as German cockroaches, they can climb a surface such as rough brickwork.

If any of these signs are prevalent it is time to call in professionals who will treat, bait, and monitor the infestation.

Ongoing Prevention

Good sanitation is the number one way to prevent cockroaches. Do not leave food out overnight. Wash dirty dishes daily. Wipe up crumbs and spilled food, even in cabinets and pantries. Clean kitchen counters with disinfectant spray every night. Don’t forget the appliances. Roaches love to feast on grease and spilled food on, in, under, and behind your appliances, including your refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, microwave, toaster, and under the kitchen sink. Limit where you eat. Restrict food consumption to one room if at all possible. Stay on top of kids when it comes to taking food into their rooms - this can be a pest heaven.

Store all food in sealed containers. Roaches can fit inside the openings of typical cardboard packages that food comes in. This also applies to pet food. Pet food should be kept in a sealed container, preferably on the back porch so as to not attract roaches into the house. Pet food bowls and containers should also be emptied every night. Empty the trash. Make sure your trash can has a tight fitting lid and empty the trash each night. Make sure your outside trash cans are clean and kept away from the home.

Vacuuming every 2 to 3 days including the kitchen. This helps to get rid of roach feces, body parts, and egg sacs, which contain pheromones that attract other roaches into the home.
Seal around utility pipes and crawl spaces. Make sure windows and doors are secure and have weather-stripping if necessary. Seal all cracks and crevices.
Remove anything roaches can use for shelter, such as cardboard and paper.