Cockroaches are one of the most feared pests and rightly so.
They are one of the most common pests found in homes. Their offensive odour and irritating noise are at the less serious end of their trail of destruction.
Cockroaches, as with other pests, feed on human food. Their symbiotic relationships with microbes mean that they can transmit harmful bacteria to food preparation surfaces, into hospital environments and into other places that humans use.
They contaminate all surfaces and food with which they come in contact.
They have also been linked to allergic reactions and may carry allergens which trigger asthma and eczema, especially in children.
The American cockroach is the largest of these and measures approximately 30 millimetres.
Cockroaches can adapt to a broad range of habitats and environments, though they have a preference for the warm indoor conditions found in houses and offices.
They are generally nocturnal, apart from the Asian cockroach and will scatter when exposed to any kind of light.
As with ants and other some other pests, cockroaches leave a trail of chemicals in their faeces and emit pheromones used for swarming and mating. The chemical trails are followed by other cockroaches and are particularly useful for fellow cockroaches to find a new suitable food or water source or hideout. Because of this, if you find one cockroach, you are likely to have many - either now or in the very near future.
As insects go, the cockroach is quite large. They vary from species the size of a thumbnail to something more the size of a thumb. Some can grow up to 9 cm and the Australian giant burrowing species can weight 30 grams or more. They have a wide flattened body and a disproportionately small head. Though they don't fly, cockroaches have two pairs of wings.
The cockroach abdomen is made up of ten segments. Cockroaches make a characteristic hissing noise and some species also make a noise that sounds like chirping.
Cockroach eggs are normally encased in an ootheca, a cylinder-shaped capsule which holds up to 40 elongated eggs. The adult female carries this capsule until just before hatching and then attaches it to a substrate, or places it in a protected crack or crevice.
Eggs take approximately four months to develop into an adult and the cockroach lifespan is approximately 12 months. During this time, the female cockroach can produce 400 or more offspring in the right conditions.
Though most species of cockroach can't digest cellulose, they have a symbiotic relationship with bacteria and other microscopic organisms which break down the cellulose for them.
They are particularly hardy, with some species capable of surviving in an active state (i.e. not in hibernation) for long periods (up to a month) without food. They can live on the most basic of rations and have been known to feed on the glue on envelopes and postage stamps.
They have been shown to survive a lack of air for three-quarters of an hour and being submerged in water for half an hour.
They have a radiation resistance that is perhaps 15 times greater than humans, leading some to suggest that cockroaches will take over the earth should a nuclear war eradicate mankind.
Identifying a Cockroach Infestation
Look out for cockroach faeces, which resemble black pepper or ground coffee. Cockroaches may also hint as to their presence by their unpleasant smell, dead adults around the house, or the oothecae in cracks and crevices and behind furniture.
If you have a problem with cockroaches then call a professional pest controller to help you.
Food traces should be cleaned away after every meal and regular cleaning and vacuuming are recommended.
Cockroaches need water as well as food to survive and dripping taps and leaking water pipes should be repaired to avoid attracting the bug.
Use silicone, putty and cement to block potential entry points around windows, doors, plumbing and other gaps.
Diatomaceous earth, a talcum-like powder, is effective in preventing cockroaches from entering the home, so long as it remains dry.
Dealing with Cockroaches
Because cockroaches are nocturnal, spotting one during the day is sure to indicate that you have a large population in your house.
Their resilience to cold, heat and a lack of water and food and their high reproduction rates make it difficult to get rid of them once they have infested an area.
Efforts should be made to prevent cockroach infestation. Keep food in airtight containers, block potential entry points and fix water leaks.
Once cockroach infestations occur, they are difficult to get rid of and it's best to call in the experts as soon as you realise you have a problem.
Cockroaches carry potentially harmful bacteria and can emit allergens, so should be exterminated as quickly as possible.
Though cockroaches have a number of predators and parasites, few have been shown to be adequately effective as a biological pest control.
Bait stations which contain toxic gels are more effective, especially when used in combination with egg killers.
Homemade traps also work, but only with some species of cockroach.
The German cockroach, which is common in the UK, is a particularly good climber and can climb out of jars which can be used to trap other species.
Cockroaches have a high resilience to insecticides and can quickly build up immunity.
New products, which should only be used by professionals, are regularly put on the market to counteract this problem.
We have experts trained in the extermination of cockroaches.
Our pest control technicians have all the knowledge and tools needed to get rid of the bugs quickly and effectively.
Cal us today on: 0800 158 3885 or fill in our Quick Contact Form.