Cockroaches are common household pests throughout the country. While you might want to kill them right away, it is smart to take a second and identify the creature to see where it may have come from. Seeing one cockroach often means there are more in hiding. There are about 4,000 living species in the world today. The ones we will focus on are the four most common cockroaches in America: the American, Oriental, German, and brown-banded.
The American cockroach has a misleading name as it is found throughout the world, not just in the United States. The reddish-brown insect is one and a half inches long with wings that allow both males and females to fly. American cockroaches like warm, dark places like basements or crawl spaces, but can also be found in bathtubs and sewers. The majority of their foods come from those places. They mainly eat garbage and plant materials. When the roaches have the opportunity though, they will infest pantries, so make sure to keep a tight seal on everything.
The Oriental cockroach is more commonly known as water bugs or black beetles. These cockroaches are one and a quarter inch long and are so dark they appear black. They can be found in cool, damp, and dark places like garages, woodpiles, and drains. They may also go further in homes in search of food if there is a good source of water nearby. Oriental cockroaches aren’t as fast as others and can’t climb vertical, slippery surfaces, so they are found more easily in places like tubs and sinks. Neither male nor female can fly.
The German cockroach poses the most problems out of the four because they multiply the fastest. These cockroaches are a tan or light brown color with dark, parallel lines going from their head to their wings. They are between one-half and five-eighths inches long with wings, but cannot fly. Since they are smaller, they can hide in places other cockroaches can’t, making them harder to find. Some places to look would be in kitchens and bathrooms, near water sources. They will eat a variety of foods, but particularly like meat, grease, and starchy foods.
Brown-banded cockroaches are named from the light-colored bands across their abdomen and wings. They are one-half inch long with the females being dark brown and the males being golden-tan. Males and females have wings, but males only fly when disturbed and females don’t fly at all. Brown-banded cockroaches like warm, indoor areas. Unlike most cockroaches, they don’t have to be in moist areas as long as there is a water source close by. They like starchy foods, including glue from envelopes and paper products. Their dining habits make them commonly found in offices, kitchens, and even hospitals.
With all cockroaches it is important to keep in mind that they can pose a health risk. They can carry bacteria that can cause E. coli and Salmonella. If you think your food has been contaminated with them, it is a smart idea to throw it out and clean the surrounding areas. Some common ways to get rid of them on your own is to put out sticky traps in areas they could be found. Poison traps are also an option, but if you have children or pets, be sure to keep these out of reach of them. The best way to deal with an infestation is to call a pest management professional, this will help ensure safe and thorough removal of the insects in a timely manner.