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How to get rid of American cockroaches

The American cockroach originated in tropical Africa. What a misnomer! Carolus Linnaeus – “The Father of Taxonomy”- named it after America because that is how it came to him. Despite having written and published more than 180 books in the 1700s, Linnaeus proved his fallibility in choosing a name.

The American cockroach stowed away on wooden ships and made its way around the globe. A gritty survivor, the pesky roach has predated man by millions of years.

The American cockroach (Periplaneta americana) is one of the four species of cockroaches considered as common pests. The other three species are the German, Brown Banded and Oriental cockroach. Though there are roughly 3,500 species of cockroaches found worldwide, only 55 species are found in the United States. Since American cockroaches may be found inside your property, you should read up on how to handle infestations. Ehrlich can help you get rid of American cockroaches – call us at 888-984-0186 or contact us online today.

The American cockroach is approximately one to one and a half inches in length and reddish-brown in color, with fully developed wings that cover the entire length of the abdomen. The wings of the male cockroach extend slightly beyond the tip of the abdomen whereas the wings of the female are approximately the same length as the abdomen.

American cockroach

American cockroach behavior

American cockroaches are capable of flying but rarely do in northern sections of the United States. They can be identified by their large size and reddish-brown color with faded yellow on the thorax. When indoors, adults and nymphs are typically found in dark, warm and moist areas of crawl spaces and basements, floor drains, pipe chases, in and around bathtubs, hampers, sewers, around the manholes of sewers and the underside of sump pump covers.

American cockroaches feed on a variety of foods, with an apparent preference for decaying organic matter. The adults can survive two or three months food-free but only one month without water.

American cockroaches: unsanitary invaders

American cockroaches feed upon a myriad of materials such as bakery products, cheese, beer, leather, starch found in bookbindings, hair, glue, dead animals, flakes of dried skin, soiled clothes items, plant materials, paper and much more.

The most paramount aspect of cockroach damage derives from their habit of feeding and harboring in damp and unsanitary places like sewers, garbage disposals, bathrooms, kitchens, and indoor storage containers and facilities. Filth from these sources is spread by cockroaches to food items and supplies, dishes, utensils and food preparation surfaces. They contaminate far more food than they can consume.

Disease Vectors

American cockroaches, and cockroaches in general, produce odorous secretions that can affect the flavor of various foods. Disease-producing organisms such as bacteria, protozoa as well as viruses have been found in cockroach bodies. Various forms of gastroenteritis (food poisoning, dysentery, diarrhea, etc.) appear to be the principal diseases transmitted by cockroaches.

The disease-causing organisms are carried on the legs and bodies of cockroaches and are deposited on food and utensils as cockroaches forage. Cockroach excrement and cast skins also contain a number of allergens, to which many people exhibit allergic responses such as asthma, sneezing, watery eyes, skin rashes and congestion of nasal passages.

American cockroach in white background

American cockroach eggs

American cockroach eggs are found in an egg capsule (known as an ootheca). It is around ⅜ inch long, reddish-brown in color, and may be located close to a source of food. The roaches may glue it to a surface.

The number of eggs laid can depend on how healthy the female cockroach is and how much food she has, but oothecae carry an average of 14-16 eggs. Egg capsules can be found in protected spots, such as cracks and crevices.

Baby American cockroach

Baby American cockroaches, also called nymphs, are smaller than adults and lack wings. They undergo multiple molts and become larger with each one. Baby American cockroaches and adults are found in the same spots – moist, warm places that have a food and water source.

How to get rid of American cockroaches

Prevention is the best recommendation. Good sanitation is key. Clean up all spilled food and beverage materials, do not leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight, store food items like cereal, cookies, sugar, flour, crackers and bread in airtight containers.

Eliminating cockroach harborages involves caulking in cabinets and closets, under the sink and in any potentially moisture-rich environment that attracts cockroaches.

If you’ve got an American cockroach infestation, it’s best to contact a pest control professional to remedy the issue. At Ehrlich, we have a great deal of experience in cockroach control and know how to get rid of these pesky insects. When you contact us, we will come out and inspect for signs of cockroaches. Treatment methods may include the application of pest control products or bait. Contact Ehrlich today if you think you have a cockroach problem!

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