Scientific name: Periplaneta Americana
The American cockroach is the largest cockroach found in houses. They are also known as “waterbugs” because they are so commonly found near rich water resources, like drains, household septic tanks, water pipes, sewerages and rubbish and waste disposal areas. Prefers a warm and humid environment
American cockroach adults grow to an average length of around 40 mm (1.6 in) and about 7 mm (0.28 in) tall. They are reddish-brown and have a yellowish margin on the body region behind the head. Immature cockroaches resemble adults except they are wingless. Both male and female American cockroaches can fly. Their wings develop when the roaches become adults.
The cockroach is divided into three sections; the body is flattened and broadly oval, with a shield-like pronotum covering its head. A pronotum is a plate-like structure that covers all or part of the dorsal surface of the thorax of certain insects. They also have chewing mouthparts, long, segmented antennae, and leathery fore wings with delicate hind wings. The third section of the cockroach is the abdomen.
American cockroaches will eat just about anything, including plants and other insects.
American cockroaches normally live outdoors. They prefer warm, damp areas like flowerbeds, under mulch, drains, sewers and garbage areas.
American cockroaches enter homes to find water or food sources. They can easily pass under doors if there is a slight gap. Windows, kitchens, toilet and basin traps are also common entryways. When American cockroaches enter homes, they often go to bathrooms, kitchens, storerooms and dark areas.
Outdoors, American cockroaches eat leaves, tiny wood particles, fungi and algae. They also eat small insects. Indoors, American cockroaches forage under appliances, in drains, in kitchen cabinets and on the floor. They eat crumbs, scraps of food and spilt food that they find. They will also eat pet food that is left out overnight.
American cockroaches have three developmental stages: egg, nymph, and adult. Females produce an egg case (ootheca) which protrudes from the tip of the abdomen. On average, females produce 9–10 oothecas, although they can sometimes produce as many as 90.
After about two days, the egg cases are placed on a surface in a safe location. Egg cases are about 0.9 cm (0.35 in) long, brown, and handbag or purse-shaped. Immature cockroaches emerge from egg cases in 6–8 weeks and require 6–12 months to mature. After hatching, the nymphs 150 days to develop into adults. Adults life cycle is 100 days to 3 years.
Diseases and Risks
Cockroaches are filthy pests. They can spread disease, contaminate our food and cause allergies and even asthma. Cockroaches can pick up germs on their legs and bodies as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage and then transfer these germs to food or onto food surfaces. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), they are proven or suspected carriers of the organisms causing diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera, leprosy, plague, typhoid fever and viral diseases such as poliomyelitis.
The odorous secretions produced by American cockroaches can alter the flavour of food. Also, if populations of cockroaches are high, a strong concentration of this odorous secretion can be present. Cockroaches can pick up disease-causing bacteria, such as Salmonella, on their legs and later deposit them on foods and causes food infections or poisoning. House dust containing cockroach faeces and body parts can trigger allergic reactions and asthma in certain individuals.
Jaya Pest Solutions encourages people to help reduce cockroach populations by removing all leftover food and unnecessary water sources, sealing all cracks and crevices, have a properly covered rubbish bin, regularly cleaning of the drainage and waste disposal areas. To effectively manage a serious cockroach infestation, you must correctly identify the type of cockroach causing the infestation and the ability to diagnose the core problem, which is why it is important to contact a pest control professional.