Cockroaches in South Florida are one of the most common pests that often invade homes.
In this article, we'll go over everything there is to know about palmetto roaches, also known as American cockroaches, and about German cockroaches.
Palmetto roaches belong to a group of species known as peridomestic cockroaches, with "peridomestic" meaning "living around human dwellings." The common pests in this group are the Australian, smokey brown, and American cockroaches. Because all three species have similar harborage needs, the same control measures apply to all of these species.
On the other hand, German roaches are considered a domestic species because they are physically introduced in homes, restaurants, schools, offices, warehouses, transportation vehicles, etc. In multi-family buildings, they can travel from unit to unit. German cockroaches can only survive indoors and in coexistence with daily human activities. Because of this, the control measures for this species are completely different.
Where do cockroaches live?
Cockroaches are most active in moist environments and warm areas that have access to food, water, and shelter.
Outside, roaches can live in various places: under and inside mulch, tree holes, stumps, tree trunks, shrubbery, irrigation boxes, water meter boxes, sheds, woodpiles, sewers, and storm drain systems.
Inside the home, roaches are known to find harborage in several areas: wall voids, attics, cabinets, sinks, drains, basements, garages, laundry rooms, inside appliances, furniture, and boxes can all serve as hiding places.
What do cockroaches eat?
Cockroaches are omnivorous scavengers that will feed on almost anything. Outdoors, American cockroaches feed primarily on decaying organic matter, fungi, and algae. They forage in decomposing leaf litter, plant material, and wood chips.
Because roaches have chewing mouth parts, they will eat almost everything a human will. When roaches invade our homes, they will eat starchy materials, sugary substances, grease, and meat products. Possible food items include cheese, beer, leather, hair, wallpaper, cardboard, postage stamps, starch in book bindings, flakes of dried skin, and any organic matter that is dead or rotting.
When food resources are limited, cockroaches can become cannibalistic and start eating each other.
Are cockroaches dangerous?
Because cockroaches feed and harbor in unsanitary areas such as garbage receptacles, sewer systems, and septic tanks, they can pose a serious health risk to humans. Roaches pick up germs like E. Coli, salmonella, and other disease-causing bacteria from these places and carry the organisms on the legs and bodies. As they forage, they contaminate foods, food preparation surfaces, utensils, and dishes. Exposure to these microorganisms can cause fever, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
The cockroach saliva, fecal droppings, shed skins, and accumulated dead bodies have certain allergens that can trigger allergic reactions, such as skin rashes, watery eyes, and sneezing. For some individuals that suffer from asthma and are sensitive to cockroach allergens, any contact with roaches can be life-threatening.
In heavy cockroach infestations, the unpleasant odor associated with the various secretions their bodies produce reduces the quality of life for many families. The unpleasant odor results from their excrement, abdominal secretion of fluids by glands, and fluid they regurgitate while feeding.
Do cockroaches bite?
While they are technically capable of biting humans, cockroaches do not exhibit aggressive behavior toward humans or other large vertebrates. Although they have chewing mouth parts, they are not powerful or large enough to inflict a bite. In heavily infested dwellings, cockroaches may be found scavenging on skin scales or oils while people sleep.
How did I get roaches?
Cockroaches are great hitchhikers and will take a ride in all sorts of items or products people move or ship across the country.
The German cockroach is the number one hitchhiker of all the species. These roaches are introduced into our homes by accident through cardboard boxes, used appliances, used furniture, take-out food, food delivery companies, or guests bringing roaches inside their belongings. German roaches cannot survive outdoors and are considered domestic cockroaches.
On the other hand, American cockroaches are considered peridomestic because they can breed and harborage indoors and outdoors. These cockroaches often enter our South Florida properties through crevices and gaps when looking for shelter during a rainstorm or extremely high heat. Palmetto roaches can also gain access through dried-up drainpipes or when there is a breach in the plumbing system.
Why should I hire an exterminator to get rid of cockroaches?
Cockroaches are very difficult to eliminate, and attempting to take this task on your own can make the situation worse.
In the case of German cockroaches, the use of repellent insecticides such as pyrethrins and pyrethroids is ineffective and may become more costly in the long run. These sprays only kill a few roaches that are directly exposed to the toxins, but the ones that survive will scatter away and infest other rooms in the home. After a while, you may find yourself dealing with multiple infestations inside your home rather than having them localized to the kitchen area. Foggers are made up of pyrethrins, so they are also ineffective.
In the case of palmetto roaches, unless you are able to get the insecticide inside the walls, in the attic, or in the crawlspace, you will not be able to stop them. Homeowners typically do not have the tools and knowledge necessary to adequately apply the products in these key areas. Be careful when hiring cheap pest control companies; if all they do is spray the baseboards, you are wasting your money. It doesn't work!
How to get rid of cockroaches?
When it comes to cockroaches, do-it-yourself treatments and over-the-counter products are ineffective. Once roaches become established inside your house, there is little that you can do on your own without the help of a South Florida pest control professional.
Cockroaches are difficult to get rid of because they hide in places that are hard to reach or inaccessible. German roaches are one of the most difficult species to control because they have a high reproductive potential and shorter gestation periods than other species. They produce double the number of eggs per capsule and become reproductive adults faster than other pest cockroach species.
GOTBUGSIKILL technicians have the right tools and know how to apply the right products in the right places. After a few days, we'll be able to eliminate all the roaches living and breeding in cracks and crevices of cabinets, wall voids, the attic, and any other vulnerable areas of your home.
How to control cockroaches?
The first step is identifying what species is infesting your home and then implementing a treatment plan. The treatment protocol for German cockroaches is different than for peridomestic cockroaches.
German roaches are most prevalent in the kitchen because that is where they find food. The best products to treat these nasty bugs are non-repellent insecticide sprays and baits. In addition, it is crucial to use insect growth regulators (IGRs) to sterilize the females.
In the case of palmetto roaches, they usually hide in places that have access to moisture. The most common areas are the wall voids in the bathrooms and kitchen, the attic space, and the crawl space. The best products to treat American cockroaches and other peridomestic roaches are granular baits and insecticide dusts.
Why did my pest control company fail to eliminate cockroaches?
You've probably heard the phrase, "You get what you pay for." When you hire an exterminator with a poor reputation, you will receive poor service in return. There could be a number of reasons why the service fails.
Failure to eliminate a German roach infestation generally stems from one of two reasons. The first reason is lack of training. Treating for German roaches is complex and requires extensive field training. The second reason is lazy technicians that are in and out as quickly as possible so that they can move on to their next property. When technicians rush through a service, they leave many surfaces untreated.
For a palmetto roach treatment, we act as a detective more than anything else. If the technician didn't apply the right products in the voids where these roaches are breeding, they will not die. Sometimes there is a moisture problem, such as a leaky pipe or a roof leak, that creates the conducive conditions for American roaches to breed. Inspecting and treating the attic is the key to eliminating an active infestation and to preventing future problems. Hire a pest control company that is willing to do this and has the knowledge to identify potential moisture problems. In very rare situations, American roaches can gain access to the home when there is a breach in the plumbing system.
The real truth is that when you hire a pest control company, you are actually paying for knowledge. We all have access to the same products and the same tools, but a licensed pest management professional will know how to apply them as effectively as possible.
How can I prevent cockroaches?
The best way to prevent cockroaches from infesting your home is to deny them access. As the saying goes, "Prevention is better than the cure."
German roaches are domestic cockroaches, so they are only introduced on accident. In a multi-family dwelling, these roaches can travel from unit to unit that share common plumbing.
Here are some quick tips to prevent German roaches:
- Inspect grocery bags and boxes while unpacking food items
- Inspect take-out food. German roaches are the number one pest in restaurants.
- Inspect the wrapping when using a food delivery company. Some delivery drivers have roaches in their cars.
- Never pick up used appliances or furniture.
- Avoid visiting family or friends that have German roaches.
- Do not invite friends or family members to your home if they have German roaches.
- For multi-family buildings, if you suspect the unit next door has German roaches make sure to contact management.
American roaches are peridomestic and live outdoors for the most part. However, with enough moisture, they can also become established inside the home. Most of the time, American roaches gain access through gaps or cracks to find shelter during heavy rainstorms or periods of extremely high heat.
Here is a quick guide to preventing American cockroaches:
- Make sure the garage door seal is in good shape.
- Install new weather stripping under the doors.
- Seal gaps around pipes, utility lines, and foundation.
- Fix broken screen vents.
- Keep gutters free of debris.
- Eliminate moisture source and fix leaky pipes if needed.
- Replace organic mulch with inorganic options.
By following all of the above steps, you can make great strides towards ensuring that your house never becomes a home for roaches.
Why Choose GOTBUGSIKILL For Cockroach Control?
The skill level for eliminating cockroaches is much higher than for killing ants. Many times, a technician can use a non-repellent spray around the foundation or baseboards and solve an ant problem. However, in order to solve a cockroach infestation, you need to be at the top of your game. This includes knowledge of cockroach biology, inspecting skills to determine where they are breeding and why they became a problem, having the proper equipment, and knowing what products to use and how to apply them.
In order to prevent cockroaches or other pests from coming back, we encourage our customers to sign up for our no-pest guaranteed pest control program, KILL365. With our service, you can rest easy knowing that you're living in a bug-free home.
Our technicians receive the best training in the country when it comes to cockroach control. Every team member at GOTBUGSIKILL spends several days shadowing our best field technicians and learning the key skills so that you can finally take back control of your home. In addition, all our team members are required to attend live courses that are taught by entomologists when they join our company.
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Juan's level of service and professionalism is top notch! We had such an ant problem of multiple varieties and he solved our problems after 1 treatment. With the affordable followup service plan....they haven't been back