American Cockroaches

What do American cockroaches look like?

  • Color: reddish-brown; pronotum (i.e., shield-like area behind the head) has a dirty-looking yellow band around its edge.
  • Size: 1 3/8 to 2 1/8 inches.
  • They have fully developed wings that completely cover the abdomen.
  • Egg capsule (ootheca) are purse-shaped, dark red-brown, 3/8-inch long, typically eight eggs per side.

What are the habits of American cockroaches?

  • Female produces nine to ten egg capsules each of which contains from 14 to 16 eggs.
  • Development (egg to adult): approximately 600 days.
  • Adult females can live an average of 440 days while males only about 200 days.
  • Large populations accumulate in secluded locations (such as sewers and vertical waste pipes within structures) because of their long life span.
  • They typically are found in sewers and commercial facilities, e.g., groceries, prisons, restaurants, hospitals, and office and apartment buildings.
  • They prefer warm, damp locations, e.g., steam tunnels and boiler rooms.
  • They are strong fliers that easily migrate from building to building.
  • During summer, large numbers accumulate in outdoor locations, e.g., in dumps, alleys, and yards, and in the fall, migrate into surrounding structures.
  • They prefer fermenting foods.

What kind of damage can occur from American cockroach infestations?

  • They are potential mechanical transmitters of many bacterial, fungal, viral and protozoan diseases primarily through contamination of food preparation surfaces (as they forage and walk along picking up bacteria, etc…, they leave behind bacteria as they approach new surfaces).
  • Their body parts, excretions and secretions can cause allergies, asthma and hypersensitivity reactions—especially in children.

What should I look for?

  • Egg capsules glued in protected locations.
  • Fecal deposits and brown secretory deposits.
  • Strong musk odor is indicative of large population.
  • Potentially-infested products brought into structures.
  • Dry floor drains within basements or bathrooms.
  • Damaged or abandoned plumbing (often abandoned toilets, broken cast iron, etc…)

How do I control and kill American cockroaches?

  • In chronic infestations with unknown origins, an Innotech Pest Management smoke-test of the plumbing system can be performed to identify “broken pipes” that serve as conduits to American cockroach entry into homes and structures.
  • Cardboard and plastic sticky traps can be used to pinpoint sources of cockroach infestation and to monitor areas of suspected infestation.
  • Visual inspections should be conducted using a flashlight.
  • Sources of food, water and harborage essential for their survival should be eliminated.
  • Clutter should be minimized because large cockroaches like to hide in stacked boxes, cartons, rolled carpeting and stored paper and cardboard materials, especially in dark, damp locations.
  • Vacuum cleaning can be used to physically remove exposed cockroaches and allow for easier monitoring of cockroaches.
  • Moisture sources should be eliminated by repairing leaks, improving drainage, and installing screened vents in order to increase airflow.
  • Doors weeps should be used to prevent access from underneath doors.
  • Caulk and other sealants should be used to eliminate harborage and prevent entry into structures, e.g., especially eliminate cracks at which sinks and fixtures are mounted to the wall and/or floor; around all types of plumbing, baseboard molding and corner guards where shelves and cabinets meet walls and door frames; and cracks on or near food preparation surfaces.
  • Cockroach access routes from wall voids into occupied spaces should be sealed with caulk or grout, especially around plumbing and electrical fixtures.
  • Basement floor drains should be maintained by ensuring the traps are wet (a few drops of mineral oil can be applied to slow the evaporation process).
  • Drains can be protected with screens or basket inserts and cleaned regularly.
  • The use of granular or liquid insecticides can be used to treat American cockroaches.

Innotech Pest Management serves the greater Palm Coast, St. Augustine and Jacksonville Florida regions. Click to schedule an appointment if you need assistance with eliminating American cockroaches.