Facts, Control and Preventative Methods for Cockroach Control
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What do Cockroaches look like?
Adult Cockroaches have long, shiny, oval shaped bodies that range from a are usually brown in colour.
Cockroach heads are equipped with a pair of long, whip-like antennae to sense their surroundings and strong chewing mouthparts. Their long, spined, highly sensitive legs give them amazing speed and agility.
Whilst most cockroach species have fully grown wings they are often reluctant to fly, instead preferring to run as their main mode of transportation.
There are several species of Cockroaches that live in and outside of our homes. The 2 main species in Australian homes are the the German Cockroach (Blattella germanica) is approximately 15 mm in length, pale yellow-brown in colour with a pair of dark brown stripes running down their shield-like thorax and the American Cockroach (Periplaneta australasiae) which is are much larger (up to 40 mm) and reddish brown in colour with pale brown markings on their thorax.
Cockroach infestation: How do Cockroaches reproduce?
A cockroach infestation can happen very quickly. A single German Cockroach female can produce over 300 offspring a year and their speedy lifecycles result in huge populations developing in a very short amount of time.
Cockroaches have an incomplete lifecycle, emerging from their eggs resembling miniature versions of the adults. The female cockroach lays her eggs in a small, purse-shaped structure called an ootheca. This can be either glued to the substrate, or held within the tip of the abdomen until the eggs are ready to hatch. A single ootheca contains between 20-40 individual eggs and a single female can produce more than 300 in her lifetime. Over the next few months, the nymphs moult their skin several times to reach adulthood, at which time they will grow wings.
How to get rid of cockroaches: Where do Cockroaches live?
Cockroaches are global pests and many species have arrived in Australia through infested cargo ships from other countries. They generally prefer warm, moist environments such as:
- Kitchens and pantries
- Storerooms and cupboards
- Warm areas (crevices near hot water pipes, hollow walls near stoves and ovens)
- Moist areas (bathrooms, toilet and sink areas)
They are generally nocturnal with their peak foraging occurring just before dawn and again at dusk. However, in homes with large infestations they can be found scuttling around at any hour of the day.
Commercial Pest Control for Cockroaches
Cockroaches can cause considerable problems in and around Commercial kitchens, hospitals, foodstores, warehouses and other commercial premises that handle food. Regular cockroach inspections, monitoring and cockroach control is always highly advisable for commercial food premises.
What do Cockroaches Eat?
There’s not much that a cockroach won’t eat – they will consume almost any type of organic food you can imagine including:
- Fermented foods
- Dog biscuits
And if food is scarce adults cockroaches can live for 5-6 weeks without feeding.
Are Cockroaches Dirty?
Cockroaches can transmit nasty bacterial diseases to humans. Germs and bacteria hitch a ride on their spiky legs and are deposited on food, kitchen benches, plates and eating utensils. Experiments have shown many harmful bacteria pass through the stomachs of cockroaches without being destroyed, giving them the potential to cause food-poisoning, dysentery and even hepatitis and typhoid fever.
Cockroaches contaminate food products, kitchen utensils, children’s toys etc with droppings (cockroach poo), cast skins, empty egg cases and vomit marks. In some severe cockroach infestations an unpleasant odour can develop, owing to secretions from the mouth and cuticle.
Cockroach Infestations can quickly spiral out of control, so cockroach prevention is important. Scrupulous housekeeping in any cockroach control program cannot be overemphasized. Try the following measures to eliminate potential food and water sources and to reduce available hiding places:
- Keep food in air-tight plastic or glass containers
- Ensure cupboards and benches are free of crumbs and food scraps
- Store household rubbish in bins with tight fitting lids
- Fix dripping taps, wipe down wet sinks and keep the toilet lid closed to eliminate access to water
- Vacuum inside cupboards, under the fridge and around cracks and crevices to remove food sources and cockroach egg cases.
- Seal up any cracks and crevices where cockroaches may shelter
With cockroaches extremely rapid lifecycle, it is important to treat infestations promptly. 1300 Pest Control treatments are environmentally friendly, child and animal safe.
The infestation is treated using highly attractive baits, luring in hungry cockroaches who will quickly consume them. The baits are not designed to kill off the cockroaches immediately, instead giving them time to return to their harborages where other cockroaches frequent.
The chemicals are spread through grooming practices as well as ingestion of excrement and dead roaches body parts (yes, they will eat almost anything!), eliminating the entire infestation within a matter of days.
Pest Controllers can identify the different cock roaches that are around or homes and have a detailed knowledge of their behaviour and harbourages so can also advise on Pest Management approaches that relate to your individual situation.
- Cockroaches are fast! German Cockroaches have been clocked at 30 cm per second. Given they are only 1.5 cm in length, that’s pretty impressive!
- Cockroaches have been on our planet for over 300 million years. In fact, primitive cave men would have had cockroaches running around their homes just as we do!
- Cockroaches can bite. The larger roaches have even been known to bite humans.
- Cockroaches live in dirty & also very clean homes. They have larger colonies in less clean homes because there is a bigger food supply available.
- German roaches lay about one sac of eggs per month with each sac can containing approximately 40 babies whilst American roaches lay a sac every 2-3 days, each containing about 12 babies. (That equates to an average of 480 little German Cockroaches from the one mum or a whopping 1752 American Cockroaches!!).
- Cockroaches are active primarily for a 4 hour period during the night although they are seen at other times as well.
- Cockroaches are not afraid of light. They just prefer darkness as to them the light signifies humans are around so they scurry to get away.
- Some people think roaches must have eyes in the back of their heads, but they don’t. They do have tiny little hairs that gage the air movement around them, so they feel you, they don’t see you from behind.
- Cockroaches come out for water far more often than they come out for food. Normally, one night of feasting is enough to last at least several days for a roach. They can live a month without food, but only a week without water
- The reason substances like boric acid works to kill roaches is that they routinely clean themselves and each other. Thus, boric acid on their bodies will be consumed and kill them, and some of their friends. Boric acid can be made into a paste with flour and sugar and used as bait.
- Roaches love onions.
- Roaches eat meat, they are omnivores, so they will eat just about anything including dead animals.
- Crushed cockroaches when applied to a wound, can help ease the sting
- Cockroaches have white blood
- A roach can live a week without a head. It dies after a week due to lack of water
- A cockroach that has just shed its skin is white and has black eyes. It takes 8 hours to reproduce the skin layer.
- Laboratory female roaches are able to reproduce without aid of a male. They produce all female offspring
- The largest roach in the world is the Macropanesthia rhinocerus from Australia weighing in at up to 50 grams.
- Cockroaches thrive in all conditions and live in the desert as well as the arctic
- Most roaches, but not all, have the ability to fly.
- Fried Cockroaches are common snacks in Cambodia
The above Facts about Cockroaches come from the book The Complete Cockroach, by David G Gordon.
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