Cockroaches are an unwelcome sight in any home or business, but American cockroaches’ large size and ability to fly make them one of the more unsettling insects to share a space with. Second only to German cockroaches in terms of population in the United States, the American cockroach typically lives outdoors but can infest indoors when they find adequate food, water, and shelter. Read on to learn more about this species and how to protect your home from their invasions.
ABOUT AMERICAN COCKROACHES
American cockroaches are one of the most common cockroach species found in homes and buildings throughout the United States. It’s believed that the species was introduced to the United States from Africa around 1625. These insects usually grow to be 1-1½” long and have large, distinctive reddish-brown wings. While not all cockroaches can fly, the American cockroach is often spotted flying.
When not hiding in boxes or hitching a ride on ships, these insects can be found in moist, shady areas. They’re more common in sewers, drainage areas, mulch, and wood piles, but American cockroaches will also inhabit places where food is prepared or stored like restaurants, grocery stores, or bakeries.
A female American cockroach lays eggs in a hard egg case and deposits it near a food source for when the eggs hatch. On average, a female can produce around 150 offspring throughout her life. The life cycle from egg to adult averages about 600 days, and the adult life span can be another 400 days.
There are several reasons why an American cockroach may make its way indoors. One reason is because they are searching for a food or water source. Another is to escape severe weather conditions; many American cockroach infestations start after periods of prolonged or heavy rainfall.
The American cockroach is a scavenger and will eat almost anything, though they prefer decaying organic matter or sweet substances. Since they are commonly found in areas containing human or animal waste, this cockroach species is capable of transmitting bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
AMERICAN COCKROACH PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT
Since the American cockroach invades homes from the outdoors, the best way to treat this pest is from the outside in. Though sprays found at your local home improvement store are an often-reached-for solution, they cannot resolve an infestation alone. There are many circumstances where a professional is best suited for the elimination task, especially since these cockroaches can pose a public health risk.
REMOVE FOOD AND WATER SOURCES
Removing potential food and water sources inside and outside your home or business is an integral first step to managing American cockroaches. Indoors, make sure you’re properly storing food and wiping up spills quickly. Take out your trash regularly and avoid leaving discarded food indoors for too long.
Outdoors, get rid of leaf piles and other types of natural debris. This decaying organic matter can quickly become a hotbed of American cockroach activity since it provides both food and harborage areas. Make sure garbage and recycling containers have lids that close completely. If you have pets, avoid leaving bowls of food out and pick up pet waste promptly.
SEAL ENTRY POINTS
After you’ve gotten rid of what’s attracting the American cockroaches, it’s vital to seal up the places where they’re getting inside. This will not only stop these insects from coming indoors, but also many other pests as well.
When trying to locate possible entry points and cockroach nesting sites, look for areas that show signs of cockroach activity: fecal matter, cast skins, egg cases, or even dead cockroaches themselves. Common areas where cockroaches congregate are at the junctions of floors and walls and around appliances.
Also inspect cracks around your building’s exterior where cockroaches may be coming inside. Doors, windows, chimneys, and plumbing voids are all good places to start your investigation. As you find openings, make a list of where they are and create a plan to seal the entry points. Most small gaps can be filled with caulk, sealant, or insulation foam. Use weather stripping or door sweeps to secure windows and doors.
If you’re facing more than the occasional American cockroach who has accidentally wandered indoors, a professional pest control service can help. The experts at Moxie Pest Control have the experience, tools, and products to eliminate these disease-causing insects and help you reclaim your home. Contact us today for a free quote.