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Cockroaches are known carriers of serious diseases, such as, salmonella, dysentery, gastroenteritis and other stomach complaint organisms. They adulterate food and spread pathogenic organisms with their feces and defensive secretions. Roaches must molt regularly throughout their life-cycle. The discarded skin becomes airborne and can cause severe asthmatic reactions, particularly to children, the elderly and people with bronchial ailments.

Cockroach pests and their eggs are spread throughout the community in food and other packaging. Although sanitation and hygiene are important deterrents, even the cleanest homes become infested with cockroaches due to minute deposits of grease, sugar and other food deposits in difficult to get at places, such as, in drains, behind refrigerators and dishwashers, inside cracks and crevices in kitchen cupboards. They can sneak in from outside like other pests, through sewers or even hitch a ride inside a grocery bag, furniture or other items you bring in your home.

If left unchecked a cockroach infestation can rapidly expand it's numbers in a few weeks or months to become major risk to health and safety.
Facts About Cockroaches

People are repulsed when they find cockroaches in their homes and kitchens. Cockroaches (especially the American cockroach, which comes into contact with human excrement in sewers or with pet droppings) may transmit bacteria that cause food poisoning (Salmonella spp. and Shigella spp.). German cockroaches are believed to be capable of transmitting disease-causing organisms such as Staphylococcus spp., Streptococcus spp., hepatitis virus, and coliform bacteria. They also have been implicated in the spread of typhoid and dysentery. Indoor infestations of cockroaches are an important source of allergens and risk for asthma among some populations. The levels of cockroaches and allergens are directly related to cockroach density, housing disrepair, and sanitary conditions.

The earliest cockroach-like fossils are from the Carboniferous period between 354-295 million years ago. However, these fossils differ from modern cockroaches in having long ovipositors and are the ancestors of mantids as well as modern cockroaches. The first fossils of modern cockroaches with internal ovipositors appear in the early Cretaceous.

Cockroaches are generally omnivores. An exception to this is the wood-eating genus Cryptocercus, with various species found in Russia, China, Korea and the United States. Although they are incapable of digesting the cellulose themselves, they have a symbiotic relationship with a protozoan that digests the cellulose, allowing them to extract the nutrients. In this, they are similar to termites and current research suggests that the genus Cryptocercus is more closely related to termites than it is to other cockroaches. Cockroaches are most common in tropical and subtropical climates. Some species are in close association with human dwellings and widely found around garbage or in the kitchen.

Cockroaches, like all insects, breathe through a system of tubes called tracheae. The tracheae of insects are attached to the spiracles, excluding the head. Thus, all insects, including cockroaches, can breathe without a head. The valves open when the CO2 level in the insect rises to a high level; then the CO2 diffuses out of the tracheae to the outside and fresh O2 diffuses in. The tracheal system brings the air directly to cells because they branch continually like a tree until their finest divisions tracheoles are associated with each cell, allowing gaseous oxygen to dissolve in the cytoplasm lying across the fine cuticle lining of the tracheole. CO2 diffuses out of the cell into the tracheole.

Cockroaches can survive sterile surgical decapitation for a very long period, especially if recently fed, but of course become unable to feed and die within a few weeks.

Female cockroaches are sometimes seen carrying egg cases on the end of their abdomen; the egg case of the German cockroach holds about 30�40 long, thin eggs, packed like frankfurters in the case called an ootheca. The eggs hatch from the combined pressure of the hatchlings gulping air and are initially bright white nymphs that continue inflating themselves with air and harden and darken within about four hours. Their transient white stage while hatching and later while molting has led to many individuals to claim to have seen albino cockroaches.

A female German cockroach carries an egg capsule containing around 40 eggs. She drops the capsule prior to hatching. Development from eggs to adults takes 3-4 months. Cockroaches live up to a year. The female may produce up to eight egg cases in a lifetime; in favorable conditions, it can produce 300-400 offspring. Other species of cockroach, however, can produce an extremely high number of eggs in a lifetime, but only needs to be impregnated once to be able to lay eggs for the rest of its life.

Cockroaches are mainly nocturnal and will run away when exposed to light. A peculiar exception is the Oriental cockroach, which is attracted to light.

Cockroaches are among the hardiest insects on the planet, some species capable of remaining active for a month without food, or being able to survive on limited resources like the glue from the back of postage stamps. Some can go without air for 45 minutes or slow down their heart rate.

It is popularly suggested that cockroaches will "inherit the earth" if humanity destroys itself in a nuclear war. Cockroaches do indeed have a much higher radiation resistance than vertebrates, with the lethal dose perhaps 6 to 15 times that for humans. However, they are not exceptionally radiation-resistant compared to other insects, such as the fruit fly

The cockroach's ability to withstand radiation better than human beings can be explained in terms of the cell cycle. Cells are more vulnerable to effects of radiation when they are dividing. A cockroach's cells divide only once when in its molting cycle, which at most happens weekly in a juvenile roach. The cells of the cockroach take roughly 48 hours to complete a molting cycle, which would give time enough for radiation to affect it but not all cockroaches would be molting at the same time. This would mean some would be unaffected by the initial radiation and thus survive, at least until the fallout arrived


American Cockroach

Adult Male
American Roach
Late 5th, 6th, 7th instars
American Roach
Otheca & 1st, 2nd, 3rd instars
American Roach
Fecal Smears
American Roach

The American cockroach (Periplaneta americana) is a large species of cockroach, winged, and growing to a length of 1" to 1�" (2.5 cm to 4 cm). It is very common in the southern United States, and in tropical climates, and can be found in many locations throughout the world, due to its travels via shipping and commerce between locations. In the southern U.S., it is often called a Palmetto Bug or a Waterbug. Sightings have been reported in the northeast U.S., such as in New York City, and in southeast Canada, such as in Montreal, where it is mostly found near human habitations due to its lack of cold tolerance. The American cockroach can also be found near various ports throughout the world. They are the largest species of common cockroach.

The insect can travel quickly, often darting out of sight when someone enters a room, and can fit into small cracks and under doors despite its fairly large size. It is known to be very mobile, and it also has wings which allow it to be quite a capable flier.

American cockroach adults are 1 and 1/2 inches long (38mm). They are reddish brown and have a yellowish margin on the body region behind the head. Immature cockroaches resemble adults except that they are wingless.

American cockroaches generally live in moist areas, but can survive in dry areas if they have access to water. They prefer warm temperatures around 84 degrees Fahrenheit and do not tolerate cold temperatures. In residential areas, these cockroaches live in basements and sewers, and may move outdoors into yards during warm weather. These cockroaches are common in basements, crawl spaces, cracks and crevices of porches, foundations, and walkways adjacent to buildings. They feed on a wide variety of plant and animal material.

Females produce egg cases and carry them protruding from the tip of the abdomen for about two days. Egg cases are then generally placed on a surface in a hidden location. Egg cases are 3/8 inches long, brown, and purse shaped. Immature cockroaches emerge from egg cases in 6 to 8 weeks and require 6 to 12 months to mature. Adult cockroaches can live up to one year, during which females produce an average of 150 young.

Due to their large size and slow development, large infestations of these insects are not common within houses. However, during certain times of the year, these cockroaches may move inside a house from outside sources. For example, in late fall these cockroaches may move indoors, seeking warmer temperatures and food. Cockroaches may enter houses via sewer connections, under doors, around plumbing, air ducts, or other openings in the foundation. Exclusion is one way to control this inward movement of cockroaches. Place fine mesh screening over crawl space vents and basement floor drains. Seal exterior doors with weather stripping. Fill gaps in walls and floors where pipes enter using expandable foam, steel wool and/or caulking compounds. Cockroach populations in basements can be reduced by decreasing dampness and applying insecticides in cracks and crevices where there is evidence of cockroach activity (presence of egg cases, dead cockroaches, brown fecal smears).



German Cockroach

The German cockroach is the cockroach of concern, the species that gives all other cockroaches a bad name.

The German roach is one of the most common and prominent household cockroaches in the world, and can be found throughout many human settlements in the world. These insects are particularly fond of inhabiting restaurants, food processing facilities, hotel rooms, and nursing homes. In colder climates, it is found only near human habitats, since it is not very tolerant towards the cold.

The German cockroach is originally from Asia and very common in Russia, not in Germany, and it is also very closely related to the Asian cockroach, to the extent that to the casual observer they appear nearly identical and may be mistaken for the other.

The German roach is omnivorous and a scavenger. They particularly like starch, sugary foods, grease and meats. In certain situations where there is a shortage of foodstuffs, they will even turn cannibalistic, often chewing on the wings and legs of each other or actually eat household items such as soap, glue and toothpaste. This cockroach can be seen in the day occasionally, especially if there is a large population or if they have been disturbed. However, sightings are most commonly reported in the evening hours as they are nocturnal and therefore most active at night

The nymphal stage begins with egg hatch and ends with the emergence of the adult. Nymphs are dark brown to black in color, with distinct dark parallel bands running the length of the pronotum. Nymphs do not possess wings. The number of molts required to reach the adult stage varies, but the most frequently reported number of molts is six.

The adult is 10 to 15 mm long, brown to dark brown in color with two distinct parallel bands running the length of the pronotum. The sexes can be distinguished by the following characteristics: male - body thin and slender, posterior abdomen is tapered, terminal segments of abdomen visible, not covered by tegmina (leathery outer wings); female - body stout, posterior abdomen is rounded, entire abdomen just covered by tegmina.

German cockroaches adulterate food or food products with their feces and defensive secretions, physically transport and often harbor pathogenic organisms, may cause severe allergic responses, and in extremely heavy infestations have been reported to bite humans and feed on food residues on the faces of sleeping humans. In addition, some scientists suggest that German cockroach infestations may cause human psychological stress and that the stigma associated with infestations alters human behavior. For example, people with infested houses do less entertaining, and avoid the kitchen at night for fear of encountering a cockroach.


Adult Male
German Roach
Newly Molted Adult
German Roach Molt
3rd Instar
German Roach 3rd Instar
German Roach Otheca

Brown Banded Cockroach

Adult Male
Adult Brown Banded Cockroach
Male & Female
American Roach
Multiple Stages
American Roach

Brown banded cockroaches are far less common than German cockroaches and are usually found in apartments, motels, and long-term care facilities. Like German cockroaches, these will be found in kitchens and bathrooms. However, because brown banded cockroaches can survive in drier areas, they will also be found in bedrooms, living rooms, closets, bookcases, etc. This behavior can make the brown banded cockroach a bit more difficult to control.

Adults are about 1/2-inch in length. The male roach is light brown. The female roach may have dark brown wings. Both sexes, however, have the lighter-colored bands running across the wings directly behind the prothorax.

Like all cockroaches that invade buildings, this species prefers to spend much of its time resting in cracks and voids. Most of its activity will occur at night when it feels safe to move about in search of food and water. The brown banded cockroach does not seem to require as much moisture as German cockroaches, and therefore may be found in rooms other than kitchens and bathrooms. Brown banded cockroaches are omnivorous and will eat anything that possesses organic matter, even organic glues used in books and cabinets. Because brownbanded roaches commonly hitchhike into the house, it is important to inspect sacks, cartons and boxes, etc., brought into the house and destroy any roaches. It is common to find them hiding nearer the ceiling than the floor and away from water sources. Accurate identification is paramount to controlling brownbanded cockroaches. Control strategies for other cockroaches will not be efficacious for brownbanded cockroaches.

Brown-banded cockroaches can conceal themselves in many places that are inaccessible to larger species. Making structural modifications such as caulking (in cracks, crevices; around ducts, molding, etc.) is necessary in bedrooms, bathrooms, dining rooms, and other areas of the house. Brownbanded cockroaches can be detected by examining the premises after dark with a flashlight. During the day, probing hiding places with a wire will expose roaches. Look beneath tables, chairs, dressers and chests, behind pictures, on rough plaster walls and ceilings. One may find tiny black droppings or castoff skins where they have fallen from above onto shelves or ledges. They dislike light and are not normally seen during the day. Household sprays of pyrethrins applied to hiding places will flush out roaches, sometimes killing them if they contact the spray.


Oriental Cockroach

The Oriental cockroach known as the "water bug," is more closely associated with damp areas than the other common roaches. These insects feed on garbage and decaying organic matter and are often considered the filthiest of the house-infesting roaches. They are found in damp basements, cellars, crawl spaces, near drains, leaky water pipes and beneath refrigerators, sinks and washing machines, under floors, and inside walls. They forage mostly on first floors of buildings. Outdoors, they are found beneath decomposing leaves or stones in mulching materials, in trash and at municipal sewer plants. During the autumn, there can be a mass movement into buildings, but because of their preference for cooler temperatures, can be found outdoors and in unheated buildings during the winter.

Most cockroaches have a flattened oval shape, spiny legs and grow long, filamentous antennae. Adult Oriental cockroaches are shiny, dark brown or black, about 1 to 1-1/4-inch long and have nonfunctional wings incapable of flight. Females are about 1-1/4-inch long, broad and have only little pads for wings. Males are about one inch long, more slender and have wings not reaching the tip of the abdomen. Immature roaches (nymphs) are darker in color than adults, similarly shaped and wingless. Egg cases are dark reddish-brown, one inch long (largest of the common roaches), and appear slightly inflated.

Oriental cockroach females (more numerous than males) carry the egg capsule 12 hours to 5 days and deposit them in a sheltered location near or within a food supply at a warm, sheltered spot. Females produce 1 to 18 capsules, each containing up to 16 eggs. Eggs hatch in about 60 days and nymphs develop in about one year. Adult females live 1 to 6 months. These roaches, most common during May, June and July, are more sluggish than the other common roaches, developing in damp basements and sewers and foraging mostly at or below ground level structures. They are usually not found in cupboards, on walls or on upper levels of buildings. They occur outside during warm weather, and, during cool periods, may migrate in masses indoors. They have a preference for high-moisture conditions. They can live without food for a month if water is present, but die in two weeks without food and water.

Oriental cockroaches feed on all kinds of filth, rubbish, and other decaying organic matter. They seem especially fond of garbage and the contents of discarded tin cans. If water is available, they can live for a month without food; without water they die within two weeks. The most important aspect of cockroach damage derives from their habit of feeding and harboring in damp and unsanitary places such as sewers, garbage disposals, kitchens, bathrooms, and indoor storage areas. Filth from these sources is spread by cockroaches to food supplies, food preparation surfaces, dishes, utensils, and other surfaces. Cockroaches contaminate far more food than they are able to eat.

Different forms of gastroenteritis (food poisoning, dysentery, diarrhea, etc.) appear to be the principal diseases transmitted by Oriental cockroaches. The insects carry these disease-causing organisms on their legs and bodies and deposit the organisms on food and utensils as they forage. Cockroach excrement and cast skins also contain a number of allergens, to which many people exhibit allergic responses such as skin rashes, watery eyes, congestion of nasal passages, asthma, and sneezing.

Perimeter insecticide sprays may aid in the reduction of Oriental cockroaches entering homes from the exterior. Sprays should be applied as to create a continuous barrier around the structure. Oriental cockroaches may move into dwellings from the outside. Recent research has been conducted on the movement of Oriental cockroaches under, around, and into homes from harborages in crawl spaces and cinder block foundations. The research has shown that these cockroaches frequently move into the home along plumbing (e.g., up through the floor from underneath the crawl space) and under door or window jams.


Adult Oriental Cockroach
Male & Female
Male & FemaleOriental Roach
Multiple Stages
Oriental Roach Stages

Tips for controlling Roaches

If you have cockroaches in your home and have been trying to get rid of them for some time, than you know that these pests are very persistent.

Pest Control Experts, however has roach control pretty much down to a science. For low to moderate infestations, AllPest Express recommends the use of a product called Max Force FC Roach Bait Gel with Fipronil. This gel contains pheremones that most roaches simply love. It smells like momma roach. Roaches are highly attracted to this bait and seek it out. A single roach eating this bait will go back to its nesting site and its droppings and carcas on which other roaches will feed will kill about 40 more roaches. Each of those roaches again kill another 40, spreading like wild fire throughout the infested structure until most adults are killed off.

Because the unhatched eggs will eventually hatch out, a single application of the bait gel will not give 100% results. If nymphs are discovered after several weeks of the first treatment, you'll need to re-apply the bait throughout the structure. Using a residual pesticide along with the bait gives even better control. A simple rule of thumb is, do not apply residual pesticides anywhere near the bait. The pesticide may make the bait less palatable to the roach. Many sprays are repellent in nature and that would result in the opposite effect that we want when controlling cockroaches.

If you intend to use a liquid pesticide, we strongly recommend that you include an insect growth regulator in the mix such as Gentrol. This will crush the ability of the roaches to continue to breed in large numbers. Effected adults will not be able to reproduce or lay eggs.

A bait high and spray low technique usually works best. Place baits in cracks and crevices such as the top of door and window frames, moulding around the ceiling and in kichen cabinets and bathroom vanities and cabinets. A good residual pesticide such as Superkill II should be sprayed along cracks and crevices down low, such as behind and underneath molding around the base of walls and under door jams.

We do not recommend dusts. Although they will work for some, most dusts are repellents and improper dusting could lead to the repellent odor interfering with your bait application.

Keep in mind that roach baits are not caulk, and as such you should not caulk your entire house with the stuff. Most roaches flock towards kitchens, bathrooms, hot water heaters, laundry rooms and other areas where there is a lot of warmth and mosture. Restrict the use of the gel to these places and areas where you have seen activity or clusters of fecal matter.

" A little dab will do ya! " - Just a dot on each side of a cabinet or drawer, behind the microwave or crack in the top of the door frame is all you will need. If you use too much of either the gel or a pesticide spray, its likely you can cause the roaches to become resilient to the type of pesticide you are using.

For large, serious infestations, you may be tempted to use a fogger, We strongly advise against this, especially if you live in an apartment complex, duplex or townhome. Foggers are highly repellent and will only kill directly exposed insects. All the others will temporarily move away from the fogger source, resulting in infestations of new areas. This not only makes it harder to control the roaches in your own home, but could result in a problem for the family next door who will likely be very upset about it. Large infestations shouild be treated just as we suggest for low to moderate infestations. You may need additional treatments every few weeks, but elimination and or control will occur. In cases where you live next to the guy using nothing at all or just foggers, you may not be able to acheive complete elimination, but you will be able to prevent them from establishing a permanent presence in your home. If treated regulary with alternating types of pesticides, the occasional intruder will not last long enough in your home to establish itself and create a family. If using an insect growth regulator such as Gentrol, you may be able to limit your offending neighbors pest population.

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