You know that old adage about how cockroaches can live through a nuclear winter? This, and many other factors, makes them one of the hardest pests to control on your own.
They can enter your home in many different ways, looking for a warm, dark, and moist place to live. Since cockroaches are nocturnal, the ones you’ve seen probably aren’t all of them. They hide inside walls, behind furniture, and other small areas are ideal. If you’ve seen just one, you must act quickly!
Cockroaches reproduce fast and your infestation could easily get out of control.
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What is a Cockroach?
Cockroaches are common pests that infest both residential homes and commercial buildings where there is food, warmth and moisture. There are multiple different species of cockroaches that can be found throughout the United States including Oriental cockroaches, German cockroaches, and American cockroaches. They are mainly active at night and are often found in homes and restaurants. Unlike pests that primarily feed off of outdoors vegetation, cockroaches are drawn to things that are commonly found in homes such as food, pet food bowls, and kitchen sponges.
How do cockroaches differ?
Adult German cockroaches are typically 1/2 to 5/8 inch long and are tan to light brown in color. Although they have fully developed wings, they do not fly. German cockroaches are best identified by their small size and two dark parallel lines or "racing stripes" running from the back of the head to the wings. It is usually found in kitchens near dishwashers, stoves, sinks, and in bathrooms of homes. They feed on a wide variety of foods, including almost anything like soap, glue, and toothpaste.
American cockroaches are one of the largest cockroaches that invade homes and adult American cockroaches are reddish brown or mahogany colored. Sometimes called palmetto bugs or water bugs, American cockroaches are found throughout the United States. Both male and female American cockroaches develop wings when the roaches become adults and they can fly. They are usually found in kitchens, bathrooms, basements, sump pump rooms, and electrical rooms. American cockroaches prefer temperatures between 70°-85°F and do not survive if the temperatures drop below 15°. American roaches will feed on beer, pet food, fermenting fruits and vegetables, as well as human food. Their presence is a concern for public health because they are capable of carrying and spreading various pathogens.
Adult Oriental cockroaches are 1 to 1/4 inch long and are red-brown and black in color. They have a distinct shiny, dark body which separates them from other cockroaches. Unlike German and American cockroaches, Oriental cockroaches are not common household invaders. Oriental cockroaches are more likely to be found in sewers and commercial properties such as restaurants, office buildings, and grocery stores. They prefer to eat starchy foods which are readily available in food establishments.
How Did I Get Cockroaches?
Roaches tend to seek out homes for the same three reasons: food, water, and shelter. Indoor settings are a great place for roaches to thrive, particularly in residential homes where food is plentiful, water is readily available, and the outdoor elements are not a concern. There are very few natural predators for roaches when living indoors (besides humans themselves) and many opportunities to hide away from watchful human eyes. It’s incredibly easy for American and German roaches alike to live undetected in a home for long periods of time. Homeowners are often unaware of their presence until an infestation has occurred, forcing roaches out of hiding spots and requiring them to risk discovery in search of diminishing food and water supply.
A common myth is that cockroaches only infest dirty or unkempt homes. This is simply not true. Cockroaches will infiltrate homes for a variety of reasons and some homes are more susceptible than others. American roaches in particular are generally considered regional problem pests, popping up in homes primarily in the southeastern United States. Homes in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama are especially susceptible to American roaches due to their high concentration and population in these areas.
Because roaches are omnivorous scavengers, they are often insects of opportunity. This means that any opportunity a roach has to enter your home, they probably will. This can occur through a variety of circumstances. Many cockroaches gain entry through cracks in your home’s foundation or slipping through damaged siding. They can also skitter under doors with insufficient door sweeps or crawl through damaged window screens. Gaps where utilities enter the home can also provide cockroaches a potential entry route. In truth, a home with any small crack, gap, or crevice in its exterior (whether they’re aware of it or not) may be susceptible to cockroaches.
German roaches are more likely to be drawn to and actively seek out homes where food is readily available to them. This is why they tend to be anecdotally associated with "dirty" homes, though this isn't always the case. German roaches will gladly seize the opportunity to feast on even the smallest of crumbs or spills - a great example of this is the area around a kitchen trash can where scraps may fall behind the bin, unnoticed. The best ways to ensure your home remains unhospitable to a German roach is to clean up spills immediately, sweep your kitchen floors every night, and never leave dirty dishes in the sink or counter overnight.
Both American and German roaches need moisture to survive. Even the cleanest of homes can experience a roach infestation if they have a leaky faucet, air conditioners with dripping condensation, or a basement with either no dehumidifier or one inadequate for the space. Roaches will even drink water left on the floor of your shower or tub and sneak sips from a pet’s water dish!
Seemingly spotless homes may not be safe from roaches either. The ever-resilient roach is more than happy to find nourishment in even the most unlikely of places. American and German roaches can make a meal out of cardboard, wallpaper, books, oil and grease, leather products, soap, and even human hair! (Gross, we know.) Roaches, arguably the least picky of eaters, will thrive equally in spotless homes as they do in untidy homes.
WHAT KIND OF DAMAGE DO ROACHES CAUSE?
While roaches are unlikely to cause significant damage to the structure of your home, your valuable personal belongings are at risk during a roach infestation. Photo albums, important documents, and other leather or fabric memorabilia can be destroyed during a roach infestation. When roaches aggregate in large numbers, as they so often do, damage to belongings can happen quickly. Especially in instances where the roaches are present in areas of storage that are not frequented by human activity, roach damage can be extensive.
However, the real threat of roaches is their ability to spread disease and illness.
Roaches are known for carrying and spreading a multitude of nasty diseases and illnesses that can impact humans. American and German roaches can transmit a number of diseases by leaving germ-ridden tracks around your home. Countertops, cutlery, and even glassware are all common areas in which transmission is common. Some diseases roaches can spread are:
- E. Coli
- Typhoid fever
If you suspect you have been affected by a roach-related disease, please seek medical attention immediately.
HOW DO I GET RID OF A ROACH INFESTATION?
Whether you’re experiencing an American or German roach infestation, we highly recommend you contact a trusted pest professional for immediate removal. Roaches are notoriously difficult to get rid of and rarely respond to DIY attempts. DIY roach treatments may kill a few roaches on contact but is more likely to just push the population deeper into hiding, certain to return once deemed safe. Due to the roach’s incredible biological makeup, prolific reproduction cycle, and immunity to many insecticides, they are an adversary best dealt with by the professionals.
Removing roaches from your home can be a lengthy process to ensure the insects are fully eradicated. It also includes equal commitment from both your chosen professional and you as the homeowner. Quality pest control companies should inform you that fully eradicating roaches is a process; while companies may target the existing adult roach population, it's nearly impossible to exterminate every adult roach in a single service due to their ability to hide within walls and other unreachable areas. EcoShield also targets eggs that may be out of sight at the moment but will soon result in another wave of roach invaders. Still yet, EcoShield addresses potential entry points where the roaches may have gained entry.
Customers should be aware that if they don't adhere to the necessary sanitation plan EcoShield recommends, it's likely the roaches will return. This is why permanent roach eradication is very much a collaborative process between EcoShield and the customer. Our goal is to not only successfully get rid of your current cockroach infestation, but also prevent any future infestations.
If you’re currently experiencing a roach infestation in your home, contact EcoShield immediately for a free no obligation quote. With EcoShield’s Home Protection Plan, we not only remove the existing cockroach infestation, but we also disrupt the roach lifecycle and address target locations in your home to prevent future infestations. This service protects you not only from cockroaches but a multitude of other creepy crawlies that frequently enter homes.
Call us today or fill out the form on this page to be connected with our trusted pest professionals.
Frequently asked questions
Nothing ruins your day like discovering you have new creepy, crawly, and unwelcome tenants in your home. We’re talking about cockroaches, a household pest so common that up to 63% of American homes are expected to experience them. Worse yet, there are several different kinds of roaches that you may encounter in your home, two of the most common... Read More