American Cockroach


The American cockroach is a filthy pest, and their presence in the home can pose a severe health threat. American cockroaches can pick up germs on the spines of their legs and bodies as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage. They then carry these germs into homes—moving from the kitchen to the bathroom to the bedroom.

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.

When cockroaches walk on food, touch things with their antennas, defecate or shed their skin, they can cause allergic reactions, irritation, lesions, swelling, and even minor infection.

Did you know?

The American cockroach have well-developed wings, but seldom fly. Indoors, they are found in sewers and basements, particularly around pipes and drains. They can be found in homes and can cause allergic reactions, irritation, lesions, swelling, and even minor infection. In southern, more warmer regions, this cockroach can also be found outside in yards, wood piles, hollow trees, palm trees even under roof shingles or in attics.

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American cockroaches are reddish-brown and have a yellowish figure 8 pattern on the back of the head. Adults may range between 1 1/4” to 2 1/8” (32-54 mm) in length. American cockroaches are oval and have six legs. Both males and females have wings and can fly short distances. In temperate climates, these roaches glide off surfaces rather than take to flight.

American cockroaches prefer moist areas like sewers, flowerbed mulch, heavy foliage, and decomposing matter. But if the temperature gets too hot or too cold, or if it gets too dry or wet, they will move indoors and take up residence in houses, apartments, warehouses, and office buildings.

American cockroaches can be found in commercial buildings such as restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, food processing plants, and hospitals, where they usually infest food storage and food preparation areas, boiler rooms, steam tunnels, and basements.

The American cockroach has three life stages: the egg, the nymphal instars, and the adult. The life cycle from egg to adult averages about 600 days and the adult life span maybe another 400 days.

  1. Cockroaches have been around since the time of the dinosaurs.
  2. Despite its name, the American cockroach is not native to North America, and some evidence suggested that American cockroaches were introduced via ships from Africa in the early 1600s.
  3. Commonly referred to as Water bugs”, Bombay Canary, and the Palmetto bug.
  4. American cockroaches are found worldwide.
  5. It’s been reported that more than 5,000 individual American cockroaches were once found in a single sewer manhole.

Is the American Cockroach hazardous to humans?

Once cockroaches enter your home, they invade your kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms. American cockroaches spread diseases and cause a distinct odor. Diseases spread by roaches include gastroenteritis, E.coli, and salmonella. American cockroaches can cause allergic reactions, irritation, lesions, swelling, and even minor infection.

What are the signs of an American cockroach infestation?

  1. You will see them moving around and fleeing to dark areas.
  2. American cockroaches leave behind droppings in the dark areas where they hide. Their droppings can be mistaken for mouse droppings.
  3. Another sign of an American cockroach infestation is the presence of egg capsules, which are about 0.8 cm long and dark-colored. Similar in appearance to dried kidney beans.
  4. Lastly, the American cockroach will produce a pheromone that some people describe as having a “musty” smell.

What causes an American Cockroach infestation?

American cockroaches can enter homes/structures through sewer systems via drains and can be brought in with foodstuffs or items from an infested location. In warmer environments, there could be a possibility of migration from outside areas.

How can I prevent an American Cockroach infestation?

Cockroaches are extremely resilient pests, so the practice of good sanitation and the elimination of accessible food are ways to minimize a roach infestation.

Ensuring food items are tightly sealed is important in preventing a roach infestation. If you have found cockroaches in your food, throw out the food source right away.

Sealing cracks and crevices especially those around pipes and conduit lines from outside and basement areas.

Ensuring drain/sewer lines are capped and or screened.

How do I remove an American Cockroach infestation?

Having a clean and sanitary can help keep American cockroaches out of your home. Homeowners should keep counters, sinks, tables, and floors free of clutter and crumbs. It’s also good practice to store food in airtight containers and avoid leaving pet food out in the open. 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.

In addition, shut out any future invaders by sealing up cracks, holes, and gaps between the inside of your property and the outdoors.

If your infestation spreads larger and becomes unmanageable, consult your Abell Pest Control Technician.

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