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roachLatin Name   Blattaria

Description   Cockroaches are common pests in industrialized areas and are characterized by an elongated oval shape, large size and antennae, and their tough wing-covers. Most cockroach species make a chirping noise and a species native to Madagascar is distinctive for making a loud hissing noise. Cockroaches are some of the most easily recognized pest insect species in the United States and are associated most often with less than sanitary areas.

Cockroaches are generally known to the American population by the American Cockroach, one of the most easily recognized species common to the United States. Cockroaches live in a very wide variety of environments around the world, and adapt easily to new places. They prefer, however, to live in warmer environments and can be found all across the south, from Florida to Louisiana and up to the northeast. Cockroaches are normally nocturnal and will run away when anyone turns on the lights, a sight most who have dealt with cockroaches are familiar with.

What to Know   Cockroaches are native to sub-tropical and tropical regions and prefer the warmth of human habitations in areas where the temperature isn’t optimum. Cockroaches prefer areas of darkness, such as pantries, closest, cabinets and under kitchen appliances. They also enjoy warm and moist areas of a home.

Cockroaches are omnivorous and opportunistic. Like most scavengers, they will feed on a variety of food sources available to them. Cockroaches are most likely to consume sweets, meats and starches, but they have been known to consume any organic matter available to them. The environment that a specific cockroach dwells in will dictate what kind of food they will consume. Cockroaches that live in a human dwelling will gravitate toward human food stores; those living in timbered areas will eat decaying wood matter. Due to the number of human pathogens cockroaches can transmit, it is not advisable to consume food that has come into contact with this pest.

Signs of Infestation   Cockroaches are one of the most widespread pest insects in the United States. They feed on all manner of human and pet food, so it can be quite difficult to remove all food sources from the home where cockroach infestations occur. Cockroaches may not be responsible for all the ill attributed to them by pop culture, but they do emit a distinctive and offensive odor that can be detected if the infestation is high enough in numbers. Infestations can also be discovered by the signs of feeding in non-air-tight containers and fecal matter left in areas of food preparation. As stated, cockroaches are nocturnal and will disperse when their area is illuminated. Often the best way to discover a suspected infestation is by careful search of darkened areas near food preparation areas.

Treatment and Prevention   Cockroaches are cohesive enough of a social species to choose their areas of infestation based on the number of cockroaches in an areas, which they detect by the pheromones emitted by each cockroach. Cockroach-friendly homes are those where food is not properly sealed and water is left standing due to leaks or spills. Trash is also a food source for cockroaches, so it is important that even garbage be in an air-tight container if there is a threat of cockroaches in the home.

Cockroaches are most easily exterminated by means of food-traps that will lure the roaches into a dwelling and either poison or trap them for later disposal. The simplest food-trap is a smooth sided jar filled with a food bait. Once they have climbed in, the smooth sides will prevent the roaches from leaving. There are other baits available that make use of such substances as boric acid powder. Extermination services may be needed if there is a substantial population.


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