According to taxonomist, biologist or life scientist who group organisms into categories, there are over 4,000 named cockroaches all over the world, with some 5,000 more species of cockroaches that have yet to be classified. However, you are more than likely to only encounter 60 to 70 species of cockroaches if you live in the United States. Of these 60 to 70, only five of these cockroaches are common in the state of North Carolina. These five are as followed: American cockroach, Brown-hooded cockroach, Cuban cockroach, German cockroach, and Western Wood cockroach.
Of these five, the most common is the German cockroach. They are relatively small, growing only a little over half an inch in length. Unlike some of these listed roaches, they cannot fly. German cockroaches feast off organic materials, meaning if you have crumbs in your pantry, under your sofa or kitchen stove you will more than likely find them snacking there. These are also the same roaches who will live in the cardboard boxes you keep hidden in the attic or in a storage unit.
While the German cockroach can only live up to a year, that does not mean they are not a never-ending nuisance. Once they have mated, the female makes an egg case that can hold up to forty eggs. These cases are placed on the female’s lower abdomen, where the eggs will grow and reside for three weeks before the little younglings emerge. German cockroaches can also reproduce fast, producing a new generation of younglings every 60 to 70 days. Within a year, a single male and female cockroach can produce thousands upon thousands of children, causing one heck of an infestation problem.
The second most common cockroach is the American cockroach. Funny enough, the American cockroach origins do not trace back to the Americas, but rather date back to Africa. Regardless, they are a pest and need to be roach controlled. The roaches are usually found in basements, attics, or in sewer or drainage systems, usually finding their way into places by way of plumbing or trees and bushes close to buildings. They can also be found in any place where food is prepared or stored, such as restaurants or grocery stores. While normally inhabiting the outside world, they will usually come indoors in search of food and water, hence why they are most commonly found with place with ample food, or during extreme weather conditions. American cockroaches will eat almost anything, its diet ranging from sweets and fruit to paper, human hair, and book bindings.
Like the German cockroach, American cockroach females form a case on them to carry their eggs. However, unlike the German cockroach which can produce 40 eggs per case, American cockroaches can only produce 16. The female American cockroach can produce and average of one case per month for about ten months. Also, unlike the German cockroach, the American cockroach can fly. It is also much bigger in size, getting as long as over one and a half inches, and can live over three times as long. The American cockroach spends about two thirds of its life growing from egg to adult, molting its shell several times, then spends the rest of its life as an adult.
Although common, the Brown-hooded cockroach would much rather stay as far away from humans as possible. They are not considered a pest like their American and German cockroach cousins. Rather, they are found in decaying tree stumps, tree trunks and limbs, which is also their diet of choice. They are usually confused with the American cockroach, due to the two being brown in color. However, the Brown-hooded cockroach is rounded than the American cockroach, as well as being shorter.
Like the American cockroach, the Cuban cockroach is not native to the Americas. It comes from its namesake of Cuba, as well as the Caribbean Islands. While they can come indoors, the Cuban cockroach usually likes to live outdoors, particularly in a hot and humid environment. Their diet usually consists of sweets, such as sweet fruits and artificial candy. They are also known to sneak a sip of soda and flavored juices, so be watchful.
The female Cuban cockroach is bigger in length than the male Cuban cockroach, the female growing one inch in length with the male growing half an inch. They are usually longer and thinner than other cockroaches and are lighter in color, usually a lighter green color as opposed to the usual brown most cockroaches are. They are also flyers. Fun fact: because they only eat sweets and do not actively try to invade a person’s home, some homeowners will keep them around as pets. That’s their prerogative.
The last cockroach on our list is the Western Wood cockroach. Like the Brown-hooded cockroach, they would rather stay far away from humans and dwell in the outside world, living in the woods or by river life. They stay hidden during the day, only coming out at night to feast on animal secretion or plant matter.
Like the American cockroach, the Western Wood cockroach has a life cycle of egg to adult, molting their shells until adulthood. They live for an average of two years, growing up to a little over an inch in length. The adult male Western Wood cockroach has wings and can fly; the female does not.
As the German and American Cockroaches are the most likely of the five to come into your home and remain there, they are the ones you will most likely have to worry about. The best way to keep them from coming in is to keep your home or environment as clean as possible, reducing clutter and food particles. If they continue coming in, even after cleaning up, it’s probably best to call the professionals.