Cockroaches live on every continent except for Antarctica, and there are more than 55 species found in the United States. Thankfully, only a few of these species are common pests in North Carolina homes. The American cockroach, the biggest of the common species, is one of them. Keeping American cockroaches away and getting rid of them can be a complicated matter, even for qualified cockroach exterminators, but if you know these seven facts, you’ll be off to a good start.
1. American Cockroaches Are Easily Identified
Their sheer size makes them easy to distinguish from other common cockroach species, like German and brown-banded cockroaches. American cockroaches can reach up to 1 1/2 inches in length with reddish-brown bodies and some cream or pale brown on their heads. They are very fast crawlers, and unlike German cockroaches, they do sometimes fly short distances.
2. American Cockroaches Enjoy Dark Spaces
Sometimes, people may have cockroaches in their homes for months without actually seeing a live bug. This is because American cockroaches prefer the dark. They tend to spend most of their time in unlit basement corners, within walls, and inside cupboards, only emerging to feed when it is dark and quiet at night.
If you notice signs of American cockroaches, like feces and a musky odor, you may have to sneak around the basement or crawl space to spot the bugs themselves.
3. American Cockroaches Have Varied Diets
Often, the roaches are first attracted to the home by food left on the counter or in trash containers. But if you eliminate these food sources, they readily adapt to eating other items like cosmetics, leather, clothing, and even paper. Because of this, you cannot simply eliminate their food source and expect them to go away. You need to adopt instead an integrated pest control approach that includes insecticides, humidity control, and food elimination.
4. American Cockroaches Have Distinct Egg Sacs
Adult female cockroaches lay their eggs in egg sacs. The eggs hatch and turn into young nymph cockroaches a few months later.
It’s easy to distinguish the egg sac of an American cockroach from that of another species. American cockroach egg sacs are reddish brown, much like the bugs themselves, and are about 10 mm long. In contrast, German cockroach egg sacs are light-colored and smaller, and brown-banded cockroach egg sacs are only about 4 mm long.
5. American Cockroaches Need Warmth
They thrive in temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees F, and they prefer very humid environments. For this reason, American cockroaches are most common in homes with boiler-style heating; you may find them near your boiler or radiators. If you keep your home cool and dry, you are much less likely to have them invade.
6. American Cockroaches Spread Gastrointestinal Illnesses
One of the main reasons why having these bugs in your home is so undesirable is that they spread bacterial and viral diseases. Most of the diseases spread by American cockroaches upset the digestive system. Salmonella, E. coli, and dysentery are possible. To protect yourself, make sure you keep all food products sealed, wash your hands often, and disinfect surfaces regularly whenever you suspect there are roaches in your home.
7. American Cockroaches Are Best Controlled by Professionals
It is nigh impossible to get rid of these cockroaches without using insecticides or bait, and these materials are best applied by a professional. Plus, treating a cockroach infestation is a very multi-faceted endeavor that involves sealing your home, removing moisture sources, and cleaning up feces.
Each infestation requires a somewhat unique approach, and your pest control expert can draw on their experience to recommend an approach that won’t waste your efforts.
If you notice signs of an American cockroach infestation, contact Pest & Termite Consultants, Inc. We offer service throughout the Raleigh area.