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Cockroaches are among the most common insects in the world. Dating back to over 300 million years ago, they are also one of the most adaptable and successful insect groups. Out of the approximately 3500 species, about 60 species inhabit the U. S. The characteristics that allow them to be successful can also make the management of these insects difficult.
Cockroaches produce secretions from their bodies which, when the infestation is excessive, can produce unpleasant odors. These secretions also may cause irritation in asthma sufferers. Cast skins and excrement may also produce allergic responses to people. Cockroaches have also been shown to transmit such diseases (or disease carrying organisms) that cause food poisoning, dysentery, diarrhea, and other gastroenteritis. Although these health problems do occur, it must be noted that cockroaches are not linked to any serious illnesses or disease outbreaks.


Cockroaches usually live in cracks and crevices that are in warm and humid environments. Where these areas are differs with the different species. While they can rest during the day in groups and can forages at night in groups, they are general a solitude insect. This means that they do not work in groups as do social insect, such as bees and ant. They forage individually and find harborage site individually.
Cockroaches are generally oval and flat bodied which enables them to hide in very small cracks and crevices. A pronotum (a shield-like covering) projects over their head. Their mouthparts are oriented downward slightly. They typically have two small appendages at the posterior end of the abdomen. They can run rapidly and climb even smooth surfaces (such as glass) easily.
Cockroaches generally hide within the cracks and crevices of boxes, bags, furniture, clothing, etc. and hitchhike from one location to another. This is the usual method they use to enter a building. Careful inspection of these items, and any other such items, may reveal a cockroach population that just wants to start in your home or business. Also, for identification purposes, the life cycle of the cockroach must be understood. There are three stages of development for cockroaches; egg, nymph, and adult. The female deposits an egg sack called an ootheca. Sometime, the size, color, and shape of the ootheca can aid in identification of the species. The eggs hatch, and the nymph cockroach emerges. At first, these roaches tend to be white in color. However, they soon (within hours) darken in color and will resemble the adult cockroach except they are smaller and do not have wings or wingpads. These nymphs will molt (shed their skins) as they grow and develop into adults.


It is important to try to identify the specific cockroach species because behaviors between species can vary. In order to manage them properly, identification is important. Although there are approximately 60 species of cockroaches in the U. S., we will only discuss the six most common species found in people's homes or businesses. If you have questions concerning other cockroaches, just ask the Pestdude


Click here to help identify the general species.

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