IS THERE AN END TO THE COCKROACH CONUNDRUM?

IS THERE AN END TO THE COCKROACH CONUNDRUM?

IS THERE AN END TO THE COCKROACH CONUNDRUM?

Cockroaches have been around for millions of years, so how can we hope to get rid of them?  There is a very slim chance that we could, with the way they reproduce and adapt to changes in their environment.   Is it worth the try? When they become pests inside the house, or restaurants, or warehouses, they need more than just an eviction notice.  After all, they are one of the most feared and hated insects of all time.  

Cockroaches probably top the list of filthy insects.  They eat everything; for them, it seems that the dirtier, the better.  They usually thrive in places like sewers, garbage bins, rotten foods, or on animal and human excrement.  Due to these unclean habits, cockroaches are known to transmit diseases. This is why getting rid of cockroaches once you spot them in your home should be a top priority.  

In order to do so, the first step should be learning how to identify cockroaches and knowing their behaviors.  

Overview

All throughout the world, there are around 4,600 species of cockroaches.  Fortunately for us, not all of them are considered household pests. 

Cockroaches are insects of medium size, with rounded, flat, and stout bodies. They have long antennae and a sturdy external exoskeleton that makes them tough as nails.  They are equipped with wings and can fly, but they are clumsy fliers. These wings are attached to their second and third thoracic segments.  They have six sturdy legs that are attached to their three thoracic segments that are arranged in three pairs. They are nocturnal, so we do not see much of them during the day. 

Cockroaches have developed invisibility to almost everything

Cockroaches have survived every natural and manmade calamity throughout history. They were around during the time dinosaurs roamed the earth.  While the dinosaurs were said to have been exterminated by a meteor crash years ago, cockroaches have survived. They have a very tough exterior and they cannot easily be squished, unlike with the other insects.  Notice that after being crushed and their innards already showing, they would just simply shrug it off and just walk away.  

Cockroaches can also survive for a month without food and a week without water.  They can survive even without their head for one week. Without their heads, they can still breathe because they have tiny holes throughout their segmented bodies that they can use to breathe.  Those holes allow them to breathe without their heads. They die after a week only because they need to drink water to survive, and they cannot drink without their heads. Adult female cockroaches lay hundreds of eggs every year, ensuring the survival of their species.

Cockroaches eat everything as long as they can chew it. They eat fresh food, rotten food, your trash, fruits and vegetables, feces, the glue used on books, hair, and even their own.  This makes them extremely dangerous because they are surely capable of transmitting diseases.

Here in the United States, there are four common cockroaches that are household pests: the American cockroach, German cockroach, Oriental cockroach, and the brown-banded cockroach.

What are the most common types of cockroaches in the United States?

Consider this: of the 4,600 species of cockroaches, only 30 of them are known to be household pests.  Out of the 30, only four are usually found in the United States. Let us identify these four, so we may better understand how we can get rid of cockroaches.

American cockroach – American cockroaches are also sometimes referred to as the “water bugs”.   This is because they love to be around warm and moist places like sewers, pipes,  and trash in the homes and buildings. They are named American cockroaches but are not native to America.  What is supposedly American came from the Middle East and Africa, and is said to have traveled all the way to the United States via ships.  This type of cockroach is the largest species of common cockroach. It is about 4 cm in length and 7 mm tall. They are oval in shape with well-developed wings  They are not very good flyers though. This type of cockroach is one of the filthiest and is responsible for transmitting diseases like typhoid, amoebiasis, and cholera.  An adult female American cockroach can lay as many as 150 eggs per year. They go through 3 stages throughout their lifetime: the egg, nymph, and the adult.  

German cockroach – This type of cockroach is small, about 1.1 to 1.5 inches long.  Its color is brown with 2 black vertical stripes near the head. This type of cockroach is said to be the most troublesome, so immediate action needed once you spot one of these in your home.  Their diet consists of meat, sugars, starch, fatty foods, glue, and even their own kind. They are commonly found in restaurants, hotels, and warehouses. And since the kitchen is their favorite hangout, they can easily spread diseases by simply crawling on food.  

Oriental cockroach – The oriental cockroach is a large species of cockroach.  The size of the adult male is 18 to 29 mm, while the female is about 20 to 27 mm.  They have very dark brown coloring, almost black actually. They have a glossy body.  They are considered the filthiest among all the cockroaches because they love to stay in sewers, near trash, and under sinks.  They dwell in dirty, cooler places and create a strong smell. They eat garbage and organic material. They bite humans but are more dangerous when they are spreading diseases.  

Brown-banded cockroach –  They are smaller in size compared to other cockroaches; they measure about 10 to 14 mm long.  Its color is tan to light brown with two light-colored bands across their wings and abdomen. You can actually tell the male from the female, with the male having wings that cover their abdomen, while the females’ wings do not cover their abdomens entirely.  They usually dwell in warm dry places, and they hide their eggs under furniture because unlike the other types of cockroaches, they do not need much water. They also hide in clothes, cracks on the floor, or wood. The adult life span is about 200 days.

Why are they so dangerous?

Cockroaches are not only carriers of diseases, but they also transmit them to humans.  No less than the World Health Organization has tagged them as disease vectors. This means that they can transfer the disease to another creature, which in the case of cockroaches are humans, without being infected by the diseases themselves.  They are known to transmit diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever, leprosy, dysentery, diarrhea, and polio. They also can cause respiratory problems. Cockroaches are among the top causes of asthma among children in the United States.  

Control

Our best protection will always be prevention.  Stop the spread of cockroaches before they can even start.  Here are some tips on how to get rid of cockroaches in your house:

  1. Practice good hygiene.  Since cockroaches thrive in filth, you are always sure to repel them with clean surroundings.  Make sure to regularly dispose of your garbage properly. Cover your trash cans as well to avoid attracting cockroaches.  Wipe off food residue and drink spills. Sweep the floor regularly. Never leave unwashed dishes in the kitchen sink overnight.   Again, this would attract cockroaches, and worse, they would be feasting using your dishes. Wipe off food and drink spills at once.  When bringing in furniture, or even food, inspect them thoroughly to avoid accidentally bringing cockroaches inside your home. 

  2.  Immediately remove old newspapers, fabrics, cardboard, and other similar materials as cockroaches love them.  
  3. Seal off leftover food in plastic containers to keep them out of the reach of cockroaches.
  4. Close and seal any cracks, crevices, and holes around the house.  These are potential entry points for cockroaches.   
  5. Eliminate moisture around your house.  Cockroaches are attracted to water, so they like cool and damp places around the house.  Check your plumbing regularly, and fix any leaking pipes.  
  6. Use diatomaceous earth.  This is made up of fossilized remains of diatoms.  It is in powdered form, but upon closer look, they look like little shards of broken glass.  Once cockroaches crawls on them, it will inflict tiny cuts on their bodies, allowing them to bleed to death.  Mix diatomaceous earth with cocoa powder to make them more attractive to cockroaches. You may buy diatomaceous earth from a local garden store near you.  

These DIY tips are tried and tested to control the population of cockroaches.  However, there may be times when you would not be able to handle cockroaches all on your own. You may not be able to eliminate all of them, especially when the infestation has become heavy, and that they seem to get worse and worse by the day.  In that case, a professional is needed. If these cockroaches keep coming back, you may call the best pest control professionals in the Carolinas, Go-Forth Pest Control.

So at least for your home, yes, there is an answer to the cockroach conundrum.

Go-Forth Pest Control is a family owned exterminator company based in High Point, NC. The company covers The Triad, The Triangle, Charlotte, Hickory, Wilmington, Columbia SC.