When it comes to the creepy-crawlies, none is quite so creepy or crawly as the cockroach. The mere mention of the word roach causes even the stoutest among us to get the chills. Anyone who has ever dealt with a cockroach infestation only has one question on the mind-
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Before you can know if you have a cockroach infestation, you need to know precisely what a cockroach is so you can accurately identify the pest.
What is a Cockroach?
The most common form of cockroach in the US is the American cockroach. The American cockroach, also known as the water bug, is the largest of all the house-infesting roaches. Considering it is named the American cockroach, you might be surprised to learn that it is not native to North America.
They are believed to have originated in Africa. There is some evidence to suggest that they were first introduced in the early 1600s on trade ships. Most likely due to their adaptability, you can find the American cockroach all over the world.
You will know an American cockroach by its reddish-brown color, oval shape, and length of about 1 ½ inches. They have six legs and antennae. Look out, both the male and female cockroach has wings and can fly.
As if you needed one more reason to be wary of the American cockroach, they can bite humans. Fortunately, they rarely do, but a bite can become infected. If you are bitten, seek the proper medical attention.
The American cockroach can be the bearer of around 33 different kinds of bacteria. Some of these include-
- E. coli
- Parasitic worms
- Dangerous human pathogens
Because cockroaches are attracted to decaying matter, they frequently carry viruses or bacteria that are found in sewage and other filth.
What are the Habits of the Cockroach?
Cockroaches can be found both in and outdoors, though they generally prefer the latter. Typically, they can be found in drains or sewers or anywhere that water is readily available.
In warmer climates, where water is more scarce, you can commonly find cockroaches in shady, humid areas- think flower beds or mulch piles.
Cockroaches will eat almost any organic matter that they can easily find. They are omnivorous scavengers and are highly adaptable.
They prefer meats, starches, and sweets. In a pinch, though, they will feed on such items as hair, books, or decaying matter.
When they face a food shortage or a significant change in their environment or climate, they often move indoors. Their ideal temperature range is between seventy and eighty degrees Fahrenheit.
The most common form of entry is as passengers on human clothes or belongings, access through pipes from the sewer, or even mass migration from dumpsters or trash cans.
Once they enter a residence or commercial building, they often make their way to the places with the most abundant food supplies. In your home, that means your kitchen, bathroom, basement, or laundry room.
In commercial buildings, a cockroach infestation can be anywhere. Cockroaches are most common in factories and restaurants where the high concentration of food can be hard for the swarms to resist.
As we mentioned, cockroaches will eat almost any organic matter, but they tend to prefer fermenting or decaying material. A home with an abundance of litter or crumbs is an attractive space for the American cockroach.
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How Do I Know if I Have a Cockroach Infestation?
It is often hard to tell if your home is infested with this elusive pest. Cockroaches are nocturnal, and therefore most active at night. The hours between dusk and dawn is when they tend to travel to feed.
Because of this proclivity to the dark, they prefer to live and hide in dark places. If the area is also moist and musty, all the better.
When searching your home for a cockroach infestation, there are four main signs-
1. Cockroach Droppings
One of the earliest signs of a cockroach infestation is the feces they leave behind. These droppings resemble black pepper or coffee grounds. These remains can be even larger and more cylindrical, depending on the size of your roaches.
They can become so large that people often mistake them for mice droppings. The more feces you find, the more roaches you have, and the longer the infestation has lasted.
2. Cockroach Eggs
Another sure sign that you may be facing a cockroach infestation is the presence of cockroach eggs. The egg of the American cockroach is oval-shaped. You will typically find them out of sight in areas of lower traffic.
3. Unpleasant Odors
Many species of cockroaches emit an unpleasant odor. These pheromones are often described as oily or musty. This odor springs from pheromones intentionally released by live cockroaches or the bodies of the dead and decaying specimen.
4. Cockroach Sightings
The last and most obvious clue that you have a cockroach problem is a sighting of the pests themselves. Rest assured, if you see one bug, you are playing host to many more unseen pests.
How Do I Prevent a Cockroach Infestation?
Unfortunately for those who suffer from an infestation, cockroaches are some of the most resilient pests in the entire world. They are uniquely adept at surviving and are even able to live without their head for a week.
In light of that terrifying information, it is easier to keep them out than to get to remove them. The most effective preventative measures are cleanliness and barrier exclusion.
Clean Your Area
The best way to keep cockroaches out of your home is by maintaining an unwelcoming environment. To a cockroach, a clean home free of debris is incredibly unwelcoming.
Keep your counters, cabinets, sinks, tables, and floors free of crumbs and clutter. Clean and put away your dishes promptly and store your food in airtight containers.
Cover or fill any small cracks and gaps in walls, electric sockets, drains, or switch plates. Whenever you find an opening, seal it with silicone-based caulk.
If you find that preventative measures have come too late and you are facing a full-blown infestation, contact Environmental Pest Management today.