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Identifying Common Types of Cockroaches

A cockroach is more than just a creepy insect pest that can survive freezing temperatures and a week without its head! This creature can pose serious health risks to humans. In fact, all types of cockroaches pick up germs on the spines of their legs as they crawl through decaying matter, which may be transferred to humans through food contamination. Cockroaches are known to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella, as well as six kinds of parasitic worms and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens.

In addition, cockroaches can trigger asthma and allergy attacks as their droppings, saliva and shed skin contain potent allergens and can exacerbate asthma symptoms, especially in children.

To keep your family and home safe from a cockroach infestation, pest control and prevention is important. However, with approximately 4,000 living species of cockroaches in the world, it's inevitable that some cockroaches will find a way inside homes. As a result, it's important to pay close attention for signs of an infestation and take action if this pest is found. You should contact a licensed pest control professional to properly identify the intruder and recommend appropriate control measures.

However, you can also use this guide - showing species of cockroaches well known as pests - to help determine which type of cockroach has become an unwelcome houseguest if you suspect or discover an infestation:

1. American cockroach (Periplaneta americana)

· Appearance: American cockroaches are reddish brown with a yellowish figure 8 pattern on the back of their head. This species is the largest of the house-infesting roaches.

· Habitat: American cockroaches are often found in sewers particularly around pipes and drains. They will also gather in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms in search of water and food.

· Unique Facts: They are active when the temperature is 21 degrees Celsius or higher, but they can survive lower temperatures with the right conditions.


2. German cockroach (Blattella germanica)




· Appearance: German cockroaches are light brown to tan with two dark stripes located on their backs. They are oval shaped with six legs and antennae.

· Habitat: German cockroaches prefer warm and humid places. They can be found in damp or humid areas such as bathrooms or basements, but they are typically found in rooms where people eat such as kitchens.

· Unique Facts: The German cockroach is the most common cockroach species found worldwide. Additionally, although they have wings, this species rarely flies and prefers to run instead.


3. Oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis)



· Appearance: Oriental Cockroaches are large and exhibit a shiny black to dark reddish-brown colour.

· Habitat: Oriental cockroaches are often found in sewers and will enter structures through drains or through door thresholds, typically during the summer. Once inside, this species will seek out damp and cool places such as basements and crawl spaces. Outdoors, they can be found in leaf piles and firewood.

· Unique Facts: Oriental cockroaches are sometimes called "water bugs" because they come out of drains, and "black beetle cockroaches" because of their smooth, dark bodies. This species creates a strong smell and is considered one of the dirtiest of all the cockroaches.



4. Brown-banded cockroach (Supella longipalpa)



· Appearance: Brown-banded cockroaches are brown with pronounced banding across their wings.

· Habitat: Within a room, brown-banded cockroaches tend to prefer warmer, drier, and higher locations than any of the other urban pest roaches. They can be found in kitchen cabinets and bathrooms, as well as behind picture frames. This species often hides its egg cases in or underneath furniture.

· Unique Facts: This species gets its name from the two light brown bands that appear across their dark brownish bodies. The male's wings are larger than the female's wings.


5. Wood cockroach (Parcoblatta sp.)


Appearance: Wood cockroaches are about 1 inch long and brown. The edges of some wood cockroaches’ wings are white. Females’ wings are shorter than males’—only about 0.5 inch long. Nymphs, which are smaller than adults, completely lack wings.

Habitat: Wood cockroaches are most often found in woodpiles and under the bark of fallen logs and dead trees. Sometimes they congregate near homes in gutters and crawl spaces. Wood cockroaches infiltrate homes through gaps around windows, doors, and vents in the warm months. In the cooler months, they hitch rides on firewood.

Unique facts: The diet of wood cockroaches primarily consists of decaying organic matter. Females deposit their oothecae (egg cases) under the bark of dead trees and fallen logs. The eggs hatch about a month later. They typically only live for a few months. Wood cockroaches are different from other cockroach breeds in their attraction to light. Only the males can fly short distances.


How to get rid of cockroaches.

The best advice for cockroach control is to practice good sanitation. Homeowners should also seal any cracks or crevices on the outside of the home and eliminate moisture buildup in basements and crawlspaces. When inspecting for types of cockroaches, pay extra attention to bathrooms and kitchens - especially under appliances, rubbish bins, food storage and sinks - as these areas are particularly vulnerable to cockroach infestations. If you suspect or discover an infestation, contact us at JSL CRYSTALINE SERVICES today!

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