Cockroaches have been around about 280 million years and can infest your home, so here are some cockroach facts to help identify and understand the little critters. They are well known for adapting to their environment and can eat most anything to survive. They can even go without food for a month, but without water for only a week. Most cockroaches are capable of producing up to 150 offspring per year. This can lead to overpopulation in a very short period of time.
- Environment Facts. Cockroaches love an environment that is not only dark but warm and damp. They hide in the back of your cabinets, under refrigerators, in the crack between the baseboard and the floor, behind the wall, behind pictures or in your appliances and electronic equipment. Since they like the dark, they are seldom seen during the daytime. If you see cockroaches in the daytime, it may indicate a huge infestation.
- Diet Facts. Cockroaches come out at night to look for food and water. Their foods of preference are sweets, meat, starch, grease and anything organic. They will eat the starch out of the book bindings, dried skin flakes, decay, beer, leather, glue, and cheese.
- Disease Facts. Because cockroaches go into some pretty disgusting areas, they carry the bacteria and diseases around on their bodies. If they walk around on areas where you prepare food they can infect your family. It is important that counters get cleaned before preparing food and no food should be left out on the counter. They can also spread their germs on children’s toys and things they touch, which children often put into their mouths. Cockroaches can also cause your children to have acute asthma symptoms by their presence in the home.
- Anatomy Facts. There are many interesting facts about the anatomy of roaches. The cockroach has its skeleton on the outside of its body which sheds as they grow, like two or three times a month. They also bleed white blood. Roaches have six hairy legs and those hairs give them a sense of touch. Cockroaches can fly and have beautiful see-through wings. Food takes 48 hours to move through the gut of the cockroach and their mouth works sideways when they eat the food. The heart of the roach is just a tube with valves that can pump blood forward and backward. Even if the heart stops moving, it will not harm the roach.
- Species Facts. There are over 5000 species of cockroaches but only about 50 of them live in the United States. The three most common ones are the German cockroach, American cockroach, and the brown-banded cockroach. The German cockroach is tan to light brown and has two dark brown stripes behind the head. It measures 1/2 to 5/8” long. They are found in home, hospitals, apartments, nursing homes and restaurants where they mostly hang out in bathrooms, kitchens and food storage areas. The American cockroach is about 1-1/2” long and it has a reddish-brown body. Its shield is light brown with yellow edges. You will find these roaches in basements, kitchens, drains, plumbing or sewers, and other places where it can find decaying organic matter. The brown banded cockroach is about ½” long and is light brown with two lighter bands that are on the abdomen and wings. You will find them in homes, apartments, hotels and hospital rooms, behind pictures, under chairs, and upper shelves of cabinets. They also like electrical appliances.
- Control Infestation Facts. To avoid getting cockroaches keep your dishes done, don’t leave food on the counter, keep pet food in sealed containers, take garbage out frequently, clean the pan under refrigerator, and clean the area between the stove and the cabinet often.
- Extermination Facts. There are several ways to get rid of roaches, such as trapping, baits, insecticides, and dust. If you have children or pets you must be careful of how you use these products. If you are leery about killing the cockroaches, or if your infestation is overwhelming, hire a professional.