photo-Cockroach_closeupWhen it comes to effective ways on how to get rid of cockroaches, it helps to know something about cockroach identification and the different type of roaches there are.

Gaining insight as to the cockroach lifecycle, preferred habitat, their habits, and the cockroach reproduction process will help you better understand the most effective approach to cockroach control. Making your living environment more contamination, disease, and cockroach free.

One thing all roaches have in common is their eating habits; human food is the cockroach food of choice. Roaches will eat anything people eat, as well as many things people will not.

Roaches can produce an unpleasant household odor. Another cockroach fact: roaches can contaminate food supplies with bacterial diseases that can result in food poisoning, dysentery, or diarrhea. Roaches can also cause allergies in some persons, or childhood asthma.

The American CockroachGerman CockroachesThe Oriental CockroachThe Brownbanded Cockroach
Photo by Gary D. Alpert

The biggest cockroach species responsible for infestation of homes and businesses where food is in ready supply, the American cockroach is a flying insect with a body span of up to 1 ½ -inches or more.

  • Cockroach identification – male and females of this cockroach species grow about the same size. Bodies are reddish to dark brown, with a tan or light yellow band around the shield; located behind the head. Female wings are in proportion to the abdomen, which is broader than the male’s. Male wings are longer.
  • Cockroach life cycle – American cockroaches begin their life in eggs deposited by the female in sheltered areas on or near the floor. This type cockroach egg is deposited in bean-shaped cases; each egg capsule is formed in one week periods until 6 to 14 eggs have been produced. Eggs hatch within 7 weeks; sometimes sooner. Cockroach nymphs are at first wingless, reaching maturity on average between 9 to 20 months. They live approximately an additional 15 months after reaching adulthood.
  • Cockroach behavior pattern – seldom seen during daylight hours because they hide away in sheltered, dark places. They come out at night to forage for food – scampering for cover when disturbed.
  • Additional Information – American cockroaches have been known to live up to three months without food and a month without water. Frequently living outdoors, although preferring warm climates and considered “cold intolerant,” they are resilient enough to survive freezing temperatures.
Photo by David Monniaux

As one of the most common cockroach type pests to infest households and create havoc, the German cockroach frequents households, restaurants, supermarkets, hospitals and other structures where food is prepared and served.

  • Cockroach identification – a small cockroach species measuring 1/2 to 5/8-inches in length. Tan to light brown in color with two darker brown streaks running parallel from the head to the base of its wings. The flightless wings of the female cover their entire abdomen; those of the male just fall short. Females are somewhat darker and broader than males.
  • Cockroach life cycle – a cockroach reproduction trait unique to this species is that females carry egg capsules protruding from their abdomen during the germination period. The case, containing up to 48 eggs, is then deposited in a secluded area; hatching within 24-hours. Nymphs develop between 6 to 16 weeks. The female German cockroach lifespan is around 6 1/2-months; males, slightly shorter.
  • Cockroach behavior pattern – living in communities that hide by day behind baseboard molding, in cracks, and in and around pantries, cupboards, stoves, and refrigerators – if seen during the day, populations are large.
  • Additional information – the most prevalent pest in low-income apartment housing in the United States, German cockroaches prefer starchy, sugary foods, grease, and meat. They have high moisture need requirements, and often die without food or water within two weeks.
Photo by Clemson University – USDA

Also known as the “water bug,” Oriental cockroaches are associated with damp areas of dwellings more than any other cockroach species.

  • Cockroach identification – about 1-inch in length, and dark brown or black. Shiny, with nonfunctional wings. Females are broader than males; their wings little more than pads just below their heads. Males are slightly smaller, with longer wings nearly reaching the tip of their abdomen.
  • Cockroach life cycle – females carry their egg capsule up to 5 days before depositing them in a warm sheltered area near a food source. Capsules contain up to 16 eggs each; cases are dark reddish-brown, appear slightly inflated, and are large. Eggs hatch in about 60 days; nymphs take about 1-year to develop.
  • Additional information – preferring to live outdoors in warm weather, they migrate indoors in mass during cool weather. Considered the filthiest of all house-infesting roaches, Oriental roaches frequent basements, cellars, and sewers; areas near drains, under refrigerators, and leaky water pipes. Favoring garbage, and decaying organic matter as their main food source.
Photo by Clemson University – USDA

Described as more sociable than other species, brown-banded males take quick flight when startled. Their distribution is fairly wide and colonies large. This makes them one of the more common infestation problems; requiring extensive eradication measures.

  • Cockroach identification – a glossy, dark to light brown cockroach, identified by two noticeable light yellow or cream-colored bands spanning across the wings and abdomen. The bands on nymphs, lighter and more noticeable. Small at about 5/8-inch long, the wings of the males cover their abdomen; the female’s wings are underdeveloped. Viewed from above, adult females and nymphs are broader; adult males somewhat more slender.
  • Cockroach life cycle – the female carries her egg capsule for only a day or two before depositing it inside furniture, shelving, wall decorations, closets, appliances, or inside cracks and ceilings. Each crescent-shaped capsule contains 14 to 16 eggs that hatch within a 1 ½ to 2 ½-month period. Nymphs develop within 3 to 9 months.
  • Cockroach pattern behavior – besides the male’s ability to take flight when startled, adult and nymph alike can jump to escape danger. Avoiding light and preferring warm, dark, elevated areas of the home, they forage for food by night. Because they live in such large colonies and will infest such a wide-spread area of the home, control measures are especially difficult.
  • Additional information – brown-banded roaches are more likely to be found in residential settings than commercial establishments. Food preference is starchy materials and even nonfood materials; decaying matter, book sizing, furniture glue, wallpaper paste, and even nylon stockings. Brown-banded and other species of roach infestation have been reported to spread 33 kinds of bacteria, 6 kinds of parasitic worms, and other types of human pathogens in homes.




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