If you hate American cockroaches, don’t worry. You’re definitely not alone. Not only are these pests extremely disgusting, particularly in terms of their ability to carry or create disease, but also in terms of their ability to breed and spread like crazy.
To put it another way: If you see one American cockroach in your home, then take steps to deal with the situation quickly. There are two reasons for this. In the first place, you need to remember that American cockroaches generally don’t travel alone. This means that if you saw one, then there is a good chance that there are a whole lot more around.
In the second place, you should also keep in mind that even if your American cockroach problem is minor at that moment, this is something that can take a turn for the worse very, very quickly. Thankfully, although these pests are pretty awful, there are a number of things you can do that will deal with the situation. This includes preventative measures, things you can do your own, and the ever-present option to leave the problem to professional exterminators.
How To Identify An American Cockroach
Obviously, one of the first steps to dealing with an American cockroach infestation involves being able to identify them properly. To that end, there are a number of defining characteristics that you are going to want to look out for.
Their size measures from 1.5 inches in length, all the way up to a full two inches. Some American cockroaches can reach a size of slightly more than three inches in length, although this is not the norm. This would be an American cockroach in full-size adulthood. You’re also going to want to look for their identifying marks, of which there are several. Reddish-brown wings are one of the first aspects to their physical appearance to look for. Light, circular, or figure-8 markings will be prevalent along the thorax.
Finally, look for a light-colored band in/around the pronotum. If you find a cockroach, and they feature all of these traits, then you are certainly dealing with the American breed. These cockroaches can transform from egg to adult in as little as five and a half months. A female American cockroach will put its eggs in a capsule, before storing the capsule in a warm, humid place. Each capsule can contain as many as sixteen eggs.
When we tell you that American cockroaches represent a pest problem that can go from bad to worse very, very quickly, this is what we are talking about. In the United States, the American cockroach represents the largest house-infesting cockroach in the country.
Behavior and diet are the next elements to these creatures that you will want to keep in mind.
Behavior And Diet Of The American Cockroach
Keep in mind that both male and female American cockroaches can fly, although no one is going to pretend they’re very good at it. Their flights tend to be over short-distances, and very clumsily performed. Nonetheless, since American cockroaches are capable of biting (although this behavior is not inherent in all of them), it is always important to keep the issue of flight in mind.
It is also worth noting that these wings develop in adulthood.
Furthermore, even short-distance flights can be useful to cockroaches who are moving from one location to another. One of the reasons why these creatures are so disgustingly prolific is because they really don’t need a whole lot to survive. At the same time, they have a number of different ways to travel. Boxes, bags, suitcases, or even clothing are all susceptible to being infiltrated by American cockroaches. It only takes one pregnant female to create a wide, deep range of headaches with your home, apartment, or place of business.
Their average lifespan, beginning from the egg stage, can stretch anywhere from ninety to nearly eight hundred days. Females tend to live longer than the males. Still, the monumental potential lifespan of male or female American cockroaches is such that you can’t simply wait for them to leave, or begin dying off. You could wind up with cockroaches in your home, car, apartment, or elsewhere for well over a year.
One of the worst things about American cockroaches is the fact that they can live just about anywhere. In terms of food, water, and general environmental conditions, they really don’t need a lot to be happy. They prefer warm, humid locations. They only need a few crumbs and a small water source to set up camp. They also tend to stay for a long time, if they’re getting everything they need. Worse yet, since they are nocturnal creatures, it can take ages to even become aware that they are in your home or other space.
Crumbs, scraps of food, fungi, other inspects, and small wood particles are just a few of the things they like to eat. They’re also partial to any pet food that is left out overnight. Really, these guys are up to eat just about anything. They also don’t need much in the way of an access point. You can bring them into your home, but really, any cracks, holes, or similar things potential entranceways for American cockroaches. It isn’t that difficult for them to get in through a doorway, if the weather stripping has been damaged.
Bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and laundry rooms are their favorite places to hang out.
Additional Things To Look Out For
At this point, you should have a pretty good idea of what you’re looking for, and what American cockroaches tend to prefer. The next step is to prove without question that you are dealing with an infestation in your home.
If this proves to be the case, then we must state this again: You are going to want to take steps to deal with this infestation IMMEDIATELY. Don’t wait for the next weekend. Try to start working on solutions the same day you discover their presence in your home or elsewhere.
Spotting these cockroaches during the day can be challenging. For one thing, they might be lousy at flying, but they are very, very fast on the ground. If you turn the light on in a room, you might be able to catch one scurrying for dark cover. They are not insects that prefer to be anywhere near lighting of any kind. Even their droppings tend to be found in dark, damp, humid locations. This is one of the reasons why they like living under appliances. Something like a problematic refrigerator with a few crumbs on the ground can give them just about everything they could ever need.
Here are three more significant things to look out for:
• Droppings: These droppings tend to be very small. Some people mistake them for mouse droppings.
• Egg capsules: The capsules tend to be 38 millimeters long, and they usually have a dark reddish/blackish color to them.
• Odor: The pheromones produced by American cockroaches is something that encourages them to stick together in large groups. If you identify a distinct smell of mustiness in a room, you may want to consider the possibility of infestation.
Steps To Get Rid Of American Cockroaches
Dealing with American cockroaches involves taking several needs into account. You want to take steps to eliminate them in the present. You will also want to take preventative measures that will diminish the odds of another infestation occurring ever again. Removing debris in and around your home is a good first step, but it’s certainly not the only thing you can do.
Preventative measures can cover a variety of possibilities. Making repairs to your plumbing is a good step. You may also want to take steps to deal with cracks or holes in spaces like your basement, kitchen, or bathroom. Making sure trash is properly contained and disposed is important, and the same can be said for making sure all food and beverages are kept in air-tight containers when they are not being used. Vacuuming on a regular basis is naturally going to go a long way towards keeping the cockroaches out, as well.
Glue traps are a good way to figure out if you are dealing with an infestation in the first place. Keeping in mind that American Cockroaches tend to hang out and travel in groups, it shouldn’t be very difficult at all to know without question if you are dealing with an infestation. If you are, there are a variety of proactive measures you can take to eliminate the problem on every possible level.
Do I Need An Exterminator For American Cockroaches?
Of course, your first option is to call an exterminator. You will want to make sure you are working with someone who has a considerable amount of experience with commercial and residential structures. Not only do you want a certified, professional expert, but you will also want to make sure they are working with the safest, most effective tools in the industry. Another nice element to working with an exterminator is that they will usually give you some tips for prevention that will be unique to your home or other space.
Boric acid is a good solution that you can try on your own. Not only will the stuff poison and dehydrate American cockroaches, but it will also kill the others, since American cockroaches tend to come into close contact with one another on a pretty consistent basis. Spraying insecticide is another option, although great care should be maintained with a step such as this. You also have the option to try gel baits, which includes the glue traps we touched upon earlier in the article.