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Since 1971

Know Your Roaches

5/19/2011 12:00:00 AM
Know Your Roaches

Unlike nuisance pests that are unsightly but harmless, bacteria-carrying cockroaches pose a threat to public health and require serious attention, particularly in the restaurant industry. They’re good at hiding, good at reproducing, and able to eat just about anything — including plant material, fabrics, glue, hair, book bindings, human food, and their own cast skins.

Few pests disgust people more than cockroaches; in fact, this dubious honor has only recently been claimed by bed bugs. We plan to focus on specific species and treatment methods in future posts, but here’s a brief introduction to several common species.

  1. The German Cockroach

    • Wings cover the entire abdomen
    • About 1/2 inch long
    • Tan, with two dark strips behind the head
    • Adults can enter cracks as narrow as 1.6 mm wide
    • Has the shortest life cycle of all roaches
    • Commonly found where food is handled or stored
  2. The American Cockroach

    • 1 – 1 1/2 inches long
    • Wings cover the entire abdomen
    • Brown or reddish-brown
    • Prefers dark, damp areas
    • Eats decaying organic matter, fabrics, sweets
    • Can survive 2-3 months without food, 1 month without water!
  3. The Asian Cockroach

    • First found in Florida in the mid-80's
    • Resembles the German cockroach; field identification is difficult
    • Prefers to live in leaf litter or natural mulch
    • Most active just after sunset and before sunrise
    • Able to fly hundreds of yards at a time
    • Attracted to reflected light and incandescent bulbs
    • Has yet to be reported in the Northeast
  4. The Oriental Cockroach

    • Shiny and black or dark brown
    • About 1 inch long; females are longer
    • Females have small wings; males’ wings cover 50-75% of abdomen
    • Lives in sewers, crawlspaces, basements
  5. The Brownbanded Cockroach

    • Wings are crossed by pale brown bands
    • About 1/2 inch long
    • Males fly well; females do not fly at all
    • Prefers warm, dry areas
    • Avoids light; usually encountered at night
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