Many homes suffer with American cockroaches in their home. This post will outline the cockroaches, their habitat, biology and ways to eliminate and them from your home and garden.
The American cockroach is one of the largest of the household pest cockroaches. It is reddish-brown in colour with a pale yellow margin on its body behind the head area. They have the ability to fly, which it does particularly in warmer weather. Adult American cockroaches typically grow to 4cm in length.
American cockroaches are mainly found in dark, warm and moist areas, preferring temperatures of around 29 degrees centigrade. They do not tolerate the cold. However, they can live in dry areas if they have access to a water source. The cockroaches feed on a wide variety of materials, but have a preference for decaying organic waste; although they will happily eat cheese, leather, bakery products, starch in book bindings, glue, hair and flakes of dried skin. They are also able to survive for months without food.
The American cockroach has three developmental stages in its lifecycle: egg, nymph and adult. Females can produce up to fifty egg cases that contain 10-16 eggs which are about 0.8cm by 0.5cm in size. After the female carries the case for approximately two days, the egg cases are glued to items that are often transported, for example cardboard boxes or wooden crates. Immature cockroaches, or nymphs, emerge from these cases after 6 to 8 weeks and then take up to a year to fully mature. Adult cockroaches live for up to twelve months, with females typically producing 150 young.
How to limit infestation:
- Remove food residue from kitchen areas, especially near the refrigerator.
- Make sure all food is stored in tightly sealed containers.
- Ensure all bench tops, work surfaces, cracks and crevices are free from food scraps.
- Empty rubbish bins on a regular basis.
- Regularly get rid of accumulated cardboard boxes.
- Frequently steam clean any soiled areas.
- Install screens on any vents around the home, especially over septic tanks, to increase air flow.
- Ensure wet areas have adequate drainage.
- Fill in any cracks that have access to the roof and wall voids.
- Eliminate harbourages such as rolled carpet and stacks of paper.
- Fix household leaks, especially those from hot water systems.
- Turn mulch piles regularly.
If these tips do not assist in eliminating American cockroaches from around your home, there are professional options that will help. Call your local pest control expert for more information.