A recent survey
indicated that the cockroach was the most despised creature, beating out
snakes, rats, bats, and spiders.
The German cockroach or Blatella germanica is consider it to be a pest
because it invades where we live, eat and sleep. There are between 4,000 to
7,500 different species of roaches. Of this amount, only one percent are
considered to be a pest. Some of the other more common species are:
They have pathogens or bacteria on their bodies, but none have been known
to be transmitted to humans. Their mouths are used for chewing, not biting.
Most roaches are nocturnal, that is, they prefer the night and are sensitive
to all forms of light except for the red spectrum. They are most active
right after dusk and right before dawn. They seem to appear according to a
biological clock. This activity may be a response to a genetic defense
because light may indicate the presence of humans, their most dangerous
predator. They prefer to live in warm, moist places and are more abundant in
tropical areas. However, they can live in almost any environment and they
have been found in the North and South Poles.
Cockroaches are thought to be about 350 million years old, making them
one of the oldest surviving creatures. They have been able to survive
because of their rapid reproductive cycles and adaptability to poisons,
environments, and even nuclear bombs. One of the largest is the Madagascar
hissing cockroach, which has become a popular pet. Another large roach is
Megaloblatta blaberoides, a resident of Central and South America. It has
been measured at about 100mm long. Some roaches can fly and one has been
measured to have a wing span of about one foot.
Although they live in proximity to each other in crevices or harbingers,
they are not social insects such as the bee, termite, or the ant. This need
to keep in touch with their surroundings is called thigmotaxis. Their
immunity extends to poisons, and they are known to survive decapitation.
This is possible because they have two nerve centers-one in the head, the
other in the tail. The only way it would eventually die would be from
dehydration. They can do without food for over one month, but they need
water at least once a week. They will feed on all foods, grease, paint,
wallpaper paste, and even bookbinding.
The female will have up to forty babies at one time. Some species will
mate only once and they will remain pregnant for the rest of their lives.
Adults will live for an average of eight to fifteen months. Cockroaches
reproduce on an average of four times per year. Females have a broader
abdomen and are more rounded than the male. This constant reproduction adds
to their ability to become immune to environment changes or pesticides. The
basic structure of the cockroach has, however, remained the same since the
middle of the Silurian period almost 365 million years ago. The life cycle
of the cockroach is from egg-nymph-adult. This cycle is called simple
metamorphosis. It means that the younger nymphs look very similar to the
adult and will only differ in size.
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The cockroach has been around for about 350 million years! It
is known to be a highly adaptable insect, able to withstand
radiation in excess of what man can tolerate, and requires very
little food to survive. In fact, several roaches may subsist on
a thin layer of grease for months!
Cockroaches prefer starchy food, but will eat anything
organic,including wood, shoes, paper, glue, soap, even
eyelashes. This,of course, intensifies the need for proper
sanitation, especially in food establishments.
Studies have shown that 98% of cockroaches carry bacteria that
are known to cause food poisoning. They pick up unsanitary
material with their legs and bodies, and may contaminate
food,counters and utensils. Roaches may also regurgitate
material that was previously eaten which may contain potentially
hazardous bacteria. Diseases that cockroaches may spread
Fever, Dysentery, Cholera, Poliomyelitis Virus, and Tapeworm.
The following tips will help prevent cockroach infestations at
home, and in commercial eating establishments:
Good sanitation is the best cockroach control. Thorough and
frequent cleaning, and organizing are essential.
Clean up spills immediately, especially in dark or dimly lit
areas. All waste food scraps and particles should be disposed
of promptly; don't allow scraps or crumbs to accumulate
anywhere. Make sure dirty dishes don't sit overnight.
Store foods and other items off the floor and keep all packages
and containers tightly wrapped and covered.
Carefully inspect all boxes, crates and bags that are brought
into the home or food service establishment.
Eliminate clutter and an accumulation of empty boxes,
containers, and boards. Separate items stored in drawers,
cabinets and storage areas. Rotating goods often will eliminate
harborage and discourage breeding.
Keep basements and storage areas dry, clean, ventilated and
well-lit. Remove any standing water, repair leaking pipes, and
keep floor drains clean and free-flowing. Use dehumidifiers to
remove moisture. Prevent an accumulation of liquids on any
Keep employee dressing rooms and dirty laundry storage areas
clean to prevent cross infestation by employees.
Check plants and plantings for harborage and infestation. Remove
all logs, or tree stumps used for decoration.
Once a cockroach infestation occurs, it generally requires the
use of a pesticide. However, pesticides are poisonous—never
treat surfaces used for food preparation. Keep them away from
children, and store them away from food.
The expertise and effectiveness of a qualified Pest Control
Operator is advised. But be sure the company you deal with is
experienced, licensed, and insured for the job.
The German cockroach is 5/8 inches in length
and is brown in color. There are two prominent black stripes running down
the broad shield behind the head.
Food: This nasty
little guy will eat almost anything - even hair and fingernails. This insect
is common in areas with access to food and water.
The life cycle from egg to adult takes about a month, and populations can
become huge if not kept under control.
Identification: The American cockroach is the largest of the common
periodomestic cockroaches. It is also known as the Palmetto bug or
water bug. As an adult, they are dark red/mahogany in color, with a
yellowish border on the pronotum. This yellowish border may make the
pronotum appear to have two spots in the middle. The body is typically
one and one quarter inches in length.
This cockroach is attracted to high humidity and high temperatures.
They are often found in places that are consistently 90 degrees
Fahrenheit and 100 percent humidity. Such areas exist in sewers, steam
heating lines, pool houses, and inside food processing plants. Water
leaking into ceiling voids or wall voids that are warm can also harbor
One should also look
for forgotten floor drains or gaps that could lead to a main harborage.
Careful monitor placement would be beneficial in finding any hidden
initial step in control is to seal off or screen openings from the
outside. Harborages and breeding sites can be treated with dust
insecticides in many cases, depending on label restrictions. Many types
of bait on the market could also be used if dust is not appropriate, or
both could be used. Most bait on the market is very effective at
killing these cockroaches. The problem is that they are voracious
eaters and will eat much more than a lethal dose of the bait, and not
leave any for other cockroaches to eat. Therefore, a large amount of
bait is necessary.
particularly in warmer climates, these cockroaches will invade wall
voids and ceiling voids to live and breed. Such locations are best
treated by injecting the void with an appropriate insecticide after
consulting the label. These voids may also need to be opened to
completely eliminate the infestation.
Lastly, exterior baits
can have a significant impact on populations and perimeter sprays with
pyrethroids can also be used to drive/repel American cockroaches from
doorways or sensitive areas.
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