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American CockroachesPeriplaneta americana (L.)
American cockroaches are typically reddish brown with a yellowish figure 8 pattern on the back of the head
They have 6 legs
Adults may range between 1 1/4” to 2 1/8” (32-54 mm) in length
American cockroaches are found worldwide
What Do American Cockroaches Look Like?
Adult American cockroaches average between 1.4” to 1.6” (35-41mm) in length, but they can grow to exceed 2”. American cockroaches are reddish brown in color with a yellow band that outlines the area behind their head. Both males and females have wings and can fly short distances.
Do American Cockroaches Bite?
American cockroaches have the ability to bite, although they rarely do. If a bite occurs, it should not be problematic unless it gets infected.
Prevention and Control
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How to Get Rid of American Cockroaches
Cockroaches are some of the most resilient pests in the world. They exhibit unique survival tactics, including the ability to live for a week without their head. This makes getting rid of American cockroaches a difficult task for homeowners to do themselves.
People can take steps, however, to mitigate American cockroach problems through barrier exclusion and cleanliness. Barrier exclusion involves preventing cockroaches from entering the home through small cracks in walls, gaps near electric sockets and switch plates, and up through drains. Use a silicone-based caulk to seal these openings.
Having a clean and sanitary home will also make it less inviting to American cockroaches. Homeowners should keep counters, sinks, tables and floors free of clutter and crumbs. Don’t leave dishes pile up in the sink or spills marinate on the counter. It’s also good practice to store food in airtight containers, and avoid leaving pet food out in the open. Some other ways to prevent American cockroaches include vacuuming at least once a week to remove food particles, ventilating crawl spaces to prevent moisture buildup and running water periodically in spare bathrooms to keep u-traps filled.
If a cockroach infestation is suspected, contact a licensed pest control professional for advice on American cockroach control and elimination. A pest professional will be able to recommend an appropriate treatment plan to get rid of American cockroaches and help prevent a future problem.
American cockroaches live primarily outdoors, but it’s not uncommon to find them inside a structure. In the Northern United States, American cockroaches are typically found in sewers and drains. In fact, American cockroaches are the most common cockroach species found in city sewer systems. It’s been reported that more than 5,000 individual American cockroaches were once found in a single sewer manhole. In the Southern United States, American cockroaches are often spotted in shady, humid areas like flowerbeds and underneath mulch piles. During summer months, they can also be found outdoors in yards and alleys.
American cockroaches will move indoors when they experience a food shortage or a significant change in the climate. In general, American cockroaches prefer warm, moist and dark environments with temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They often enter structures by being brought in on human belongings, coming up from the sewer system via drains or occasional mass migration from other structures, dumps, etc., during warm weather.
American cockroaches are especially common in larger commercial buildings such as restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, food processing plants, hospitals, etc., where they usually infest food storage and food preparation areas, boiler rooms, steam tunnels and basements. These pests can also infest homes by easily passing underneath doors lacking weather stripping or entering through basement windows and garages. Once inside a residence, American cockroaches usually make their way into the kitchen, bathroom, basement or laundry room in search of food and water.
American cockroaches feed on many kinds of food, but they show a particular fondness for fermenting material. Outdoors, they tend to eat decaying leaves, fungi, algae and small insects. Indoors, they eat crumbs found under appliances, in drains, behind kitchen cabinets and on the floor. They will also eat pet food that is left uncovered.
American cockroaches are filthy pests, and their presence in the home can pose a severe health threat. Cockroaches have been reported to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella, as well as six kinds of parasitic worms and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens. They pick up germs on the spines of their legs and body as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage, and then transfer the germs onto food or cooking surfaces.
The saliva, urine and fecal droppings from American cockroaches contain allergen proteins known to elicit allergic reactions and asthma attacks. As such, cockroaches are a common trigger of year-round allergy and asthma symptoms, especially in children.