Why you have Cockroaches

Roaches enter buildings in search of food and water or they may be transported in packaging or garments. Once in they multiply quickly, so you have to be very careful not to offer food and water. You should also be sure to avoid allowing the roaches to find a point of entry into your home. Keeping your home clean, free of standing water, food, and even crumbs will help prevent the welcoming of these dirty insects.


General Facts

While cockroaches do not bite and are not poisonous, they can pick up disease-causing organisms either in their guts or simply on their body parts and legs. Subsequently the germs can be deposited on kitchen surface areas, utensils, and food items. Cockroaches have been known pick up Salmonella bacteria on their legs and later deposit them on foods, thus causing food poisoning. House dust containing cockroach feces and body parts can trigger allergic reactions and asthma in certain individuals. They are frequently found in restaurants, grocery stores, and bakeries and are also associated with commercial kitchens, boiler rooms, sewers, and steam tunnels. Cockroaches leave chemical trails in their feces as well as emitting airborne pheromones for swarming and mating. Other cockroaches will follow these trails to discover sources of food and water, and also discover where other cockroaches are hiding.


American Cockroach

The American largest species of common cockroach, and they are reddish brown and range in size from 1½ to 2 inches in length. This insect can travel quickly, often darting out of sight when someone enters a room, and can fit into small cracks and under doors despite its fairly large size. This roach is a scavenger that feeds on decaying organic matter and a variety of other foods. It is particularly fond of fermenting foods.

Brown Banded Cockroach

Brown Banded cockroaches are about 1/2 inch long and light brown, with fully developed wings . The adult males can fly. These roaches prefer warm and dry locations, such as near refrigerator motor housings, on the upper walls of cabinets, and inside pantries, and closets. They can feed on any plant or animal based material and have been known to feed on the bindings of old books, draperies, and even wallpaper. The use of residual insecticidal sprays or aerosol foggers within a structure is ineffective in controlling these roaches. In fact, these applications disperse the cockroaches making control more difficult.

German Cockroach

German Cockroaches are medium brown and approximately 1/2 ” long and they reproduce very fast; making control difficult. They are mostly active at night, as they forage for food, water, and mates. During the day they hide in cracks, crevices, and other dark places that can provide a warm and humid environment. They easily move in and out of narrow openings with their relatively wide, flat bodies. They may be seen in daylight if there is a heavy infestation or it there is a lack of food, water, or a recent application of pesticide. This type of cockroach can emit an unpleasant odor when excited or frightened.

Oriental Cockroach

The Oriental cockroach, is also known as the water bug and is typically about 1 ¼ inches long, and is easy to identify because it does not move as quickly as other roaches. This is not a type of cockroach that will generally be seen on countertops and walls, though it is not impossible. This type of roach likes very moist, damp areas such as basements, washing machines, drains, areas around leaking pipes, sewage lines, and crawl spaces. The waterbug cockroach is known for its unpleasant smell and ability to rot food with its saliva.

Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach

The Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach is about ¾ to 1 inch long. This roach can gain entry to structures through cracks and gaps, but rarely breeds indoors, its usually carried indoors with firewood (they are usually nesting just under the bark). The male, who is attracted to light, may fly indoors at night. The female cannot fly, and does not tend to congregate around light.



Survey - To control American cockroaches, it is important to do a thorough inspection. A cockroach survey (trapping) is sometimes necessary to determine the extent of an infestation, as even a thorough inspection does not always reveal all cockroach harborages or foraging areas. Cockroach surveys involve placing sticky traps at strategic locations within the building. Whenever possible place survey traps either against a wall or in a corner of the floor, a shelf, a drawer, or under equipment and counters. Most commercially available traps come complete with bait to encourage cockroaches to enter. One week of trapping with a sufficient number of trapping sites usually provides enough information for effective control.

Sanitation, Structural Modifications, and Repairs - Modifying the interior environment—removing food, moisture, and harborages available to cockroaches—is the first step in treatment. Eliminating cockroach harborages involves caulking in closets and cabinets, caulking under the sink, etc., or making similar structural repairs in the kitchen, bathroom, and other areas of the house.

Cockroaches typically enter homes via boxes, grocery bags, suitcases, furniture, etc. To prevent the insects from establishing a breeding population, clean up all spilled food materials, including crumbs on the floor. Do not leave dirty dishes overnight. Store items such as cereal, crackers, cookies, flour, sugar, and bread in airtight containers.

Chemical Control - Dusts such as boric acid, silica aerogel, and diatomaceous earth can be applied to voids and other harborages such as cracks and crevices. Do not apply dusts to wet or damp areas. Dusts should be applied lightly because heavy deposits may repel cockroaches. Do not place dusts where children or pets could come into contact with them. Take care to keep children away from areas treated with boric acid. Take precautions to assure that the dusts do not contaminate food.

Baiting can be an effective method to control or eliminate American cockroaches. Baits containing hydramethylnon, fipronil, sulfluramid, boric acid, or abamectin should provide a high level of control when applied to those areas where cockroaches harbor. Care should be taken to closely follow the label instructions for use.

The use of residual sprays or aerosol foggers within a structure is of little value in controlling American cockroaches. In fact, these applications may disperse the cockroaches making control difficult and lengthy.