Cockroaches In South Florida

Cockroach Identification

Cockroaches have inhabited the earth for about 350 million years. They are without a question one of the most successful insects on the planet.

Their capacity to adapt to changes in the environment over millions of years is a reason why they are one of the most difficult pests to control.

There are about 3500 species of roaches worldwide but the most common in South Florida are the American and German cockroach.

What do cockroaches look like?

Most roaches that invade our homes range in size from ½ inch to 2 inches in the case of American cockroach.

Roaches are oval and have flattened bodies which allow them to hide in cracks and crevices, and squeeze through small openings. An adult American cockroach can compress their body to fit through a 3 mm crevice. It can also withstand more than 900 times their body weight. If you ever stepped on a palmetto cockroach you will know this to be true.

Cockroaches belong to the order Blattaria. The body consist of the head, thorax, three pair of legs, and a pair of antennae. The outer covering is the exoskeleton.

What is the lifecycle of cockroaches?

Cockroaches develop by gradual metamorphosis consisting of the egg, nymph, and adult stage. Other insects that have the same developmental process include earwigs, crickets, and bed bugs. In gradual metamorphosis the nymphs resemble the adults in appearance and behavior, however they are smaller. Also, the reproductive organs and wings (when present) only become functional in the adult stage. In order to grow the nymph must shed the exoskeleton several times before becoming an adult. This process is known as molting. The number of molts varies by species and once in the adult stage they stop molting. Each nymphal stage is also known as an instar.

The female cockroach produces egg capsules, known as ootheca. Each ootheca contain 4 to 60 eggs depending on the species. Some species drop the egg case, while other species glue it to a protected surface. The nymphs free themselves by working together to break the seam of the capsule. When the seam opens, the baby roaches emerge.

The time from egg to adult is 53 days for German roaches and 600 days for American roaches.

What is a cockroaches behavior?

Cockroaches are mostly active at night, but they may be seen during daylight when the infestation is very high and harborage areas are overcrowded. Cockroaches will also emerge during daytime when exposed to pesticides or lack of food and water.

Cockroaches are not social insects like termites and ants. They share the same space and food sources, but they forage for food individually. Cockroaches form aggregates of individuals, but each member is on his or her own. And when food is limited, they become cannibalistic and start eating each other.

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 mulch, tree holes, stumps, tree trunks, shrubbery, irrigation boxes, water meters boxes, sheds, woodpiles, sewer, and storm drain systems.

Inside the homes roaches are known to find harborage in several areas: wall voids, attic, cabinets, under sinks, drains, basements, garage, laundry room, inside appliances, furniture, and boxes.

What do cockroaches eat?

Cockroaches are omnivorous scavengers, and they will feed on almost anything. Outdoors, American cockroaches feed primary 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 meet 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 and or rotting.

Are cockroaches dangerous?

Because cockroaches feed and harborage 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 salvia, fecal droppings, shed skins, and accumulation of 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 to roaches can be life-threating.

In heavy cockroach infestations, the unpleasant odor associated to the various secretions their bodies produce reduce the quality of life of many families. The unpleasant odor results from their excrement, abdominal secretion of fluids by glands, and fluid they regurgitate while feeding.

Do cockroaches bite?

Cockroaches do not exhibit aggressive behavior to 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 they 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 on accident through cardboard boxes, used appliances, used furniture, take-out food, food delivery companies, or by guests that bring roaches with 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 roaches often enter our homes through crevices and gaps when looking for shelter during a rainstorm or extreme high heat. American roaches can also gain access through dried up drainpipes or when there is a breach in the plumbing system.

How do I control cockroaches?

Once roaches become established inside your house there is little that homeowners can do on their own without the help of a South Florida pest control professional.

Cockroaches are difficult to get rid because they hide in places that are hard to reach or inaccessible. German roaches are one of the most difficult to control because they have a high reproductive potential and shorter generation time than other species. They produce double the number of eggs per capsule, and they 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 all the roaches living and breeding in cracks and crevices of cabinets, wall voids, and the attic will be eliminated.

When it comes to cockroaches and many other bugs do it yourself over the counter products are ineffective. In fact, the use of repellent insecticides such as pyrethrins and pyrethroids may scatter the roaches to other areas of the home. Foggers are made up of pyrethrins so they are also be ineffective.

How GOTBUGSIKILL treats for cockroaches?

The first step is to identify what cockroach species is infesting your home and then implement a treatment plan. The treatment protocol for domestic roaches like the German cockroach is different than for peridomestic cockroaches like the American, Australian, and Smokeybrown roaches.

The eradication of a German roach infestation is a very intensive and time-consuming treatment. And it requires previous preparation by the homeowner. Before the initial service every item inside the cabinets need to come out. And during the service all people and pets need to vacate the property for about five hours. The key to eliminate German roaches is to treat as many areas as possible with non-repellent insecticides, dust baits, gel baits, and insect growth regulators known as IGRs. IGRs are key because they sterilize the female roaches, so they stop having babies. German roaches are known to hide cracks and crevices of the cabinets, under the sinks, behind switch plates, inside the wall voids, in the refrigerator motor, and inside many appliances. In a low to mild infestation two services, 14 days apart, is enough to cure the home from a German cockroach infestation.

The treatment for American cockroaches and other peridomestic species is much simple. American roaches are mostly a nuisance as long as they are not breeding within your walls. These roaches come indoors occasionally during a rainstorm because they are looking for shelter. Most of the time these roaches die from dehydration and people usually find them on the floor upside down. But once American roaches reach the kitchen and bathrooms areas, they have enough moisture to survive and breed. American roaches can also harborage in the attic if there is a leak or condensation from an AC pipe. Older homes are more susceptible to American cockroach infestations because they usually have more entry points such as doors without seals, old sliding windows, missing or broken screen vents, cracks in the foundation, rotten or missing facia boards, etc.  At this point the only way to eliminate the roaches is to apply dusts and granular baits inside the areas where they are breeding. The cabinets, bathroom and kitchen wall voids, attic, laundry room, and garage are key areas to treat. These products are long lasting so they will help prevent future infestations of American roaches. Spraying the baseboards for American cockroaches is ineffective and any pest control company you hire should know that.

GOTBUGSIKILL have the best trained technicians in South Florida. During the initial inspection our team member will identify the cockroach species infesting your home and then implement the proper pest control treatment protocol. With our no pest guaranteed pest control program, KILL365, you can rest assure your home will be bug free.

How can I prevent cockroaches?

The best way to prevent cockroaches from infesting your home is to deny them access. Like the saying says... “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.

Guide 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. Delivery drivers sometimes 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 multifamily 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 days of extreme high heat.

Guide to prevent American roaches:

  • 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.

Fun Facts About Cockroaches

  • Cockroaches can regenerate missing body parts such as a lost leg during the nymphal period with additional molts.
  • All newly molted cockroaches are white.
  • Domestic species of cockroaches are nocturnal but they will be found during daylight when the infestation is very large and limited harborage space.
  • Female cockroaches store enough sperm to produce several egg cases.
  • American roaches can produce unfertilized eggs that only develop into females known as parthenogenesis. Just like chickens.
  • The heaviest cockroach is the Australian rhinoceros (Macropanesthia rhinoceros). Weights up to 40 grams or 1.4 oz
  • The longest cockroach is the Megaloblatta bladeroides, about 4 inches.
  • The smallest cockroach is Anaplecta from Central America, weights under 10 mg or 0.0003 oz
  • Adult males of American, Australian, and Brownbanded cockroaches are week fliers. Most pest species do not fly.
  • Cockroaches can live several weeks without food and a week without water.
  • Cockroaches breath through spiracles (small openings) on the side of its body.
  • Giant cockroaches of the family Blaberidae like the Madagascar hissing cockroach can live without its head for a month. German roaches live one week without its head.
  • German roaches can survive 15 minutes submerged under cold water.
  • Cockroaches are more resistant to radiation than vertebrates because they are arthropods. They are no more special than other arthropods.

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