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American Cockroach (Periplaneta Americana)

Cockroaches: Facts, Identification & Control

How to identify Cockroaches?

The American cockroach is the largest of the common peridomestic cockroaches measuring on average 4 cm in length. Peridomestic cockroaches live mostly outside but may be found indoors.  The American cockroach is second only to the German cockroach in abundance.

Where can you find them?

They are found under roof shingles, in sewers, masonry storm drains, garbage facilities, hollow trees, wood piles, and accumulations of organic debris around homes. The cockroaches dwell outside, but will wander indoors to search for food and water or to avoid extreme weather conditions. When inside they may be found close to water pipes, sinks, baths, and toilets.

How do they live?

The cockroach has three life stages: egg, nymph, and adult. Females lay their eggs in a hardened, purse-shaped case called an ootheca. This egg case is about 8mm long and 5mm high. On average, they produce one egg case a month for 10 months, laying 16 eggs per egg case. The female deposits the ootheca near a source of food and moisture to enable the eggs to develop. The nymphs are wingless.

Complete development from egg to adult is about 600 days and the adult life span may be another 400 days. The adult American cockroach is reddish brown with a pale brown or yellow band around the edge of the pronotum. The males are longer than the females.

How do they affect us?

The American cockroach consumes decaying organic matter but will eat almost anything. It prefers sweets, but will eat paper, boots, hair, bread, fruit, book bindings, fish, peanuts, old rice, the soft part on the inside of animal hides, cloth, glue and dead insects.

They can become a public health problem due to their association with human waste and disease and their ability to move from sewers into homes and commercial establishments.

How to control them?

Caulking of penetrations through ground level walls, removal of rotting leaves, and limiting the moist areas in and around a structure can help in reducing areas that are attractive to these cockroaches.