How to Identify American Cockroaches
Latin Name: Periplaneta americana
Length: Adults can be slightly more than 50 mm long.
Color: Adult American cockroaches are reddish brown or mahogany colored. The area behind their heads is outlined with yellow band
Female American cockroaches make protective cases for their eggs. These cases are capsule-shaped. After forming a capsule, the roach deposits it in a warm, humid area. An average American roach egg capsule contains about 16 eggs.
When the eggs hatch, the tiny nymphs come out of the capsule. As they grow, the immature roaches shed their skins. If there is plenty of food, American cockroaches can develop from egg to adult in as little as 5½ months.
Both male and female American cockroaches can fly. The wings develop when the roaches become adults.
American cockroaches normally live outdoors. They prefer warm, damp areas like flowerbeds, and under mulch. American cockroaches are very common in sewer systems of many cities.
American cockroaches enter homes to find water or food. They can easily pass under doors if the weather stripping is damaged. Basement windows and garages are also common entryways. When American cockroaches enter homes, they often go to bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and basements.
Outdoors, American cockroaches eat leaves, tiny wood particles, fungi and algae. They also eat small insects. Indoors, American cockroaches forage under appliances, in drains, in kitchen cabinets and on the floor. They eat crumbs, scraps of food and spilled food that they find. They will also eat pet food that is left out overnight.
Homeowners may see these active cockroaches. American roaches can run very fast, and they usually scurry into a dark area. If they are startled, American roaches may even fly.
American cockroaches leave their droppings in the dark areas where they hide. Homeowners may find these droppings in basements, in pantries or behind appliances.
American cockroach droppings are small, and sometimes people mistake them for mouse droppings. American cockroach droppings have ridges on the sides and they are blunt on the ends. Mouse droppings have pointed ends. Since mice groom themselves, mouse droppings often have hairs embedded in them.
American cockroach egg cases are about 38 mm long. They are dark-colored—reddish or blackish brown. Homeowners often find these egg cases in basements, in laundry rooms or kitchens. The egg cases may be under cabinets or behind appliances. American cockroaches also deposit their egg capsules behind stored items in garages and sheds.
Cockroaches produce a chemical called an “aggregation pheromone.” The odor of this chemical causes the roaches to stay together in groups. Some people describe the odor of these pheromones as having a “musty” smell. As the roach population starts to grow, people with sensitive noses may begin to notice this odor.
American cockroaches enter home to find water or food. They can easily pass under doors if the weather stripping is damaged. Basement windows and garages are also common entryways. When American cockroaches enter homes, they often go to bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and basements.
Cockroaches are filthy pests. They can spread disease, contaminate our food and cause allergies and even asthma. Cockroaches can pick up germs on their legs and bodies as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage and then transfer these germs to food or onto food surfaces. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), they are proven or suspected carriers of the organisms causing diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, leprosy, plague, typhoid fever and viral diseases such as poliomyelitis.
Eradico encourages people to help reduce cockroach populations by removing all food and unnecessary water sources, sealing all cracks and crevices, vacuuming and removing shelter sites like cardboard and paper. To effectively manage a serious cockroach infestation, you must correctly identify the type of cockroach causing the infestation, which is why it is important to contact a pest control professional.
The technician is trained to help manage American cockroaches. Since every home is different, the Eradico technician will design a unique program for your situation.
Keeping American cockroaches out of your home is an ongoing process, not a one-time treatment.
Assess the situation
Your Eradico technician will do a thorough inspection of your home—inside and outside. There are several things the technician will do during the inspection:
- Locate areas of American cockroach activity.
- Identify the causes of the American cockroach problem.
- Look for entryways that American cockroaches could be using to get into your home.
Since “cookie-cutter” treatments aren’t always effective, the technician will customize the treatment to the situation. He can select from a variety of tools and techniques to help keep American cockroaches out of your home:
- Exclusion–Nonchemical methods such as caulking or door sweeps help keep American cockroaches from entering your home.
- Landscape modification—If American roaches are living around your home, it may be necessary to remove dead leaves or rake mulch away from the foundation. The technician will point out these opportunities.
- Gel or granular bait—These are applied in areas where American cockroaches will eat them but children or pets cannot reach them.
- Insect growth regulator—Applied into cockroach hiding places, these interfere with the cockroaches’ normal development.
- Residual insecticides—Applied into cracks and crevices, these help keep American cockroaches from hiding in the treated areas. The technician may also apply liquid insecticide outdoors to help keep American cockroaches from coming inside.
Every time the technician returns to your home, he or she will make an inspection. There are several things he will do during the inspection:
- Confirm that previous treatment was effective.
- Check for new American cockroach activity.
- Identify changes to the home or landscape that could make your home vulnerable to American cockroach invasion.
The technician can provide the right solution to keep American cockroaches in their place … out of your home. For more information or to schedule an inspection, please contact your local Eradico branch office.
The technician can work around your schedule. In many cases, treatments will be made on the outside—sometimes with no need for you to be at home.
Keeping American cockroaches out of your home is an on-going collaborative process, not a one-time event.