Know Your Pest! Cockroaches


Feb 05, 2018

Know Your Pest: Cockroaches

cockroach

 
Here’s something everyone can agree on: cockroaches are disgusting.
 
They eat your food, spread bacteria, and if someone sees a cockroach in your house, it's a social nightmare. We’re here to explain what attracts cockroaches, why they are more than a nuisance, and how to get rid of them as soon as possible.
 

 

Do cockroaches live near me?

 
There are over 4,000 total species of cockroaches, but only a handful have been associated with home invasion. There are three types of cockroaches that can cause trouble for homeowners in Northern Virginia — the American cockroach, the German cockroach, and the Oriental cockroach.
 
Here’s a breakdown of how to identify which pest may be giving you grief:
 
American Cockroach
 
The American cockroach is the largest of the three cockroaches commonly found in Northern Virginia households. This pest is a reddish-brown color with wings that appear longer than its body, approximately 1 to 1.5 inches in length. They seek out warm, damp environments, which means they are often found in basements and around sewers.
 
German Cockroach
 
The German cockroach is the most common species of cockroach found in homes. This species is thought to be one of the most invasive — they can quickly adapt to ever-changing environments and have an extremely high reproductive rate. 
 
These pests are typically light brown with darker stripes on the head, and are relatively small, usually between a quarter and a half an inch in length. Their small size allows them to fit in small cracks and crevices in kitchens, bathrooms, and other damp environments. 
 
However, if an infestation is bad enough, they will take up residence throughout the entirety of the house. 
 
This is the most challenging of household cockroaches to eliminate. If you suspect German cockroaches have invaded your home, call one of our Fairfax pest control specialists immediately. 
 
Oriental Cockroach
 
The Oriental cockroach prefers a moderate climate, with temperatures somewhere between high 60s and low 80s. They cannot produce eggs in temperatures below 59 degrees, which is something to keep in mind if you spot a cockroach in your home — an Oriental cockroach infestation during this chilly time of year in the DMV area is unlikely. 
 
These pests are dark brown or black and are typically described as oily-looking or shiny. They’re around 1 inch in length and are often found near pipes, under porches, or inside crawl spaces. 
 

What bugs look like cockroaches?

 
Not every unwelcome guest is a cockroach! Ground beetles, for example, look a lot like cockroaches, but are actually good to have in your garden.  Several other kinds of beetles, like the boring beetle, look like cockroaches, too. Some people may even mistake crickets for a cockroach. 
 
Remember: cockroaches are flat, have six legs, are shaped like ovals and have wings flattened against their back. If you touch a cockroach — we know you probably don’t want to! — it will feel oily.  While some bugs look like cockroaches, only cockroaches will have all of those factors in one unpleasant package.

 

What attracts cockroaches?

 
So, why exactly do these creepy critters set up shop in our houses? There are a few factors that can determine how desirable your house is to a cockroach:
 
1. Food
 
Even the cleanest of homes can suffer from a cockroach infestation, simply because cockroaches are attracted to food. That means if you have food present somewhere in your home, even if it’s properly stored, there’s a chance cockroaches will make their way in. 
 
2. Water
 
Aside from food, cockroaches will also seek out water, which explains why they are usually found in wet places like sinks and damp basements. 
 
3. Darkness
 
Cockroaches prefer dark environments and are known for hiding in cracks and crevices, in cabinets, and under appliances.
 
4. Bad Odors
 
Cockroaches thrive in unsanitary conditions. Any source of unpleasant smells, such as trash cans and dirty dishes, will make your home a target for a potential infestation. 

 

Are cockroaches dangerous?

 
While not physically dangerous, like a wasp that stings or a tick that bites, cockroaches can be potentially harmful to your health. 
 
Cockroaches eat garbage and live in dirty sewer pipes, which means that they spread bacteria from these contaminated sources to surfaces in your home. Cockroaches have not been linked to any major outbreaks, but the pathogens that cockroaches pick up from their unsanitary living environments may cause diseases
 
We’re not saying that you’re going to contract a terrible illness because there are cockroaches in your home. However, they’re not necessarily clean creatures, so it’s best to play it safe and call a pest control professional at the first sign of a cockroach problem. 
 
People with asthma and other allergies should be especially wary of cockroaches, as research has shown that the presence of cockroaches — specifically, their saliva, waste, and shed skin — can trigger symptoms. 
 

Do cockroaches bite?

 
The only recorded accounts of cockroaches biting people have been in cases of extreme infestations when their food source becomes limited.  You wouldn’t be able to live in a home with an infestation that bad, so you don’t have to be concerned about a cockroach biting you. 
 
Even though they won’t hurt you, the fear of cockroaches is still very common and can cause a lot of anxiety and distress for people dealing with an infestation. 
 

What does a baby cockroach look like?

 
A baby cockroach is smaller than an adult, obviously. A baby cockroach does look a lot like its adult counterpart — six legs, oily skin, mouth facing down, etc. — although some of the babies may not have developed wings yet.  
 
Spotting a baby cockroach in your home is a bad sign, because it means that you likely have enough cockroaches that they’ve had time to go through a reproduction cycle. A female cockroach generally lays eggs once a month and the eggs hatch in about six weeks. 

 

Cockroach prevention

 
There are a variety of preventative measures you can take to reduce your chances of attracting cockroaches. Here are some of the ways you can protect your home from an infestation:
 
  • Take out the trash. Keep full garbage bags in a well-sealed outdoor trash can.
  • Check for cracks and crevices inside and around the exterior of your home. Be sure to seal off any potential points of entry. 
  • Fix leaky pipes and empty out water bowls if you have pets. Cockroaches need water to survive and will drink anything they can find. 
  • Put away food when you’re done eating. Leaving leftovers out on the counter will cause them to develop odors faster, which will attract cockroaches. 
  • Wipe down your counters and sweep your floors at night to make sure there aren’t any crumbs lying around for a cockroach to snack on. 
  • Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink or in the dishwasher overnight.
  • Remove unused cardboard boxes and newspapers from inside and around the house. Cockroaches use these organic materials as sources of both food and shelter. 
  • Use a bathroom fan after showering to reduce humidity and make sure you dry any moisture in kitchens and bathrooms.

When to call a professional

 
At the first sign of a cockroach problem, you may be tempted to DIY your own solution, but many homemade traps and baits are ineffective, especially when you’re dealing with a large-scale infestation.
 
No one wants cockroaches in their home. If you suspect you have a cockroach problem, get help immediately. Our five-star technicians can give you back your life. Schedule an appointment by calling 1-877-740-6657 or contact us online today.