It is said that two things will survive a nuclear holocaust: Cher and cockroaches. While a nuclear holocaust may not be on the horizon, one thing’s for sure: cockroaches are here to stay. These insects have been roaming the earth since the days of the dinosaurs, and can survive just about anything, including a month without food, two weeks without water, 40 minutes without air, and an entire week without a head! Although there are literally thousands of different species of cockroaches, only four are known to dwell in houses.
Periplaneta americana (American Cockroach) (Photo credit: Arthur Chapman)
The largest cockroach found in houses is the American Cockroach, which averages at about two inches long. It has an oval shape and six legs, antenna, and wings that it doesn’t get until it reaches adulthood. The American cockroach is reddish-brown in color, with a yellow figure eight marking on the back of its head. The American cockroach eats just about anything, from plants to other bugs. They live in dark, wet places, and are often found in sewers and basements. They lurk around pipes and drains. Female American cockroaches can hatch up to 150 children a year – meaning that if you don’t call a pest control professional when you see one of these roaches, your home could easily become invaded!
Beautiful Brown Banded Cockroach (Photo credit: cdresz)
Brown-banded cockroaches are smaller than their American counterparts, only growing up to half an inch. They are also oval in shape and dark-brown in color with light brown bands across their wings (which is where their name originates from.) Male Brown-banded cockroaches have longer wings than females. The females often hide their eggs in or under furniture. These types of cockroaches live off of a diet consisting of starchy foods, such as book bindings and wallpaper pastes. They will also eat things such as nylon stockings, and other non-organic materials. The brown- banded cockroach prefers living in warmer, drier climates than the other common house roaches, and will take up residence in just about any room in your house. Fortunately, this species only lives five to six months.
Blatella germanica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
German cockroaches are slightly larger than the Brown-banded roach, ranging between 1/2 – 5/8 inches. They are oval shaped and can be brown or dark brown. The German cockroach is found all over the world, but is the most common cockroach in the United States. Its diet consists of sweet, floury foods, as well as things like toothpaste. German cockroaches like to dwell in damp, warm places, such as bathrooms and kitchens. This roach species has a lifespan of 100 to 200 days.
Oriental Cockroach (Photo credit: K Schneider)
The Oriental cockroach is the dirtiest of all cockroaches. They are oval-shaped and have a dark brown, almost black color. Although they are called the “Oriental cockroach,” they actually originate from Africa. The Oriental cockroach can grow to be about one inch in length. It lives off a healthy diet of garbage and other organic materials. This roach lives in sewers and other wet, decaying areas, such as basements, crawlspaces, and among firewood or piles of leaves. Oriental cockroaches prefer cooler temperatures (and dirtier places) than most other cockroaches. They give off a strong smell, contributing to their reputation for being filthy.
Cockroaches may be filthy, disease-ridden creatures, but one thing’s for certain: nature has taught them how to adapt. Cockroaches can survive just about anything, but even their evolutionary prowess can’t outwit a professional exterminator. If you’ve seen a cockroach (or two, or ten) roaming about your home, don’t hesitate to call pest control. Thousands of years of evolution have taught us that cockroaches are not something you’d wish to contend with.
About the author: Chris is writer for a Midland pest control company.
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