Scientists believe roaches have been in existence for more than 200 million years. They live on all continents except Antarctica, with about 70 of the known 4,000 species present in the United States.

What do roaches look like?

The body of a cockroach is oval in shape and consists of a head, thorax, and abdomen with six legs, antennae, compound eyes, and a hard exoskeleton. Not counting antennae, roaches found in the United States range in size from 1/2” to 2”. The mouths of roaches point downward and they draw air in through holes in their bodies called spiracles while they use their antennae to smell and feel. Roaches may have wings; however, with the exception of the brown-banded cockroach, their ability to fly is limited.

Roaches are varying shades of brown in color, with some species-unique markings. The aptly-named brown-banded cockroach has a light-colored band running across its wings, the German cockroach has two dark brown markings on its thorax, and the American cockroach has a yellow band behind its head. The Oriental cockroach is often called the “black beetle” because of its dark coloring.

The lifespan of a roach varies based on species – from a couple of months to a couple of years – but each progresses from egg to nymph to adult. During the nymph stage, roaches shed their outer shell multiple times (a process known as molting) before becoming adults. Prolific breeders, the German cockroach is the most prevalent species of roach in the world. A single German cockroach and her offspring can produce 300,000 roaches in a year.

What are the unique characteristics of roaches?

Roaches are omnivores, eating anything from plants to leather to human food to paper to dead skin cells. When food is scarce they will become cannibalistic, eating other roaches. Cockroaches are also attracted to beer, but more for the sugar than alcohol content!

Though not indestructible, roaches have developed keen survival skills. Roaches can run at a speed of three miles per hour. They can withstand 32 degrees (Fahrenheit) cold and can go a month without food and a week without water. A roach can survive a half-hour submerged underwater and hold its breath for 40 minutes. Most surprisingly, because it breathes through spiracles on its body, a cockroach can live for a week without its head, dying only because it can’t drink water through its mouth.

What are the habits of roaches?

Ants prefer warmer temperature and are most active in the spring, summer, and fall.

Most roaches are nocturnal, preferring to come out in the dark. They migrate to warm locations and typically hide in cracks and crevices, though American cockroaches are bold and will often congregate in the open.

Different Types of Cockroaches In South Florida

Here are the most common roaches found in South Florida and how Natural Resources Organic Pest Control eliminates them.

American cockroach – American roaches are one of the more common roaches we eliminate for our clients. They’re also one of the largest roaches measuring about an inch and a half, which is way too big for something so gross. Considering they live in trees and organic debris outside, it is common to see 1-2 roaches in a home a month as they can wedge themselves through cracks as thick as about two stacked pennies. When these roaches are seen more frequently, weekly, or even daily, there is probably a plumbing or moisture issue present. Moisture from leaky pipes, unused plumbing, and backed up septic or sewer lines are the most common sources of American Roach infestations. Their eggs or “ootheca” are purse-shaped cased that carry about 16 eggs per case. A female can release about 2 ootheca or 30 babies per week. American roaches are omnivorous and known to be opportunistic feeders, which means they’ll pretty much eat anything anywhere. Did I mention they can fly?

At Natural Resources Organic Pest Control, we’ve perfected a treatment process that doesn’t require throwing shoes or flame throwers. Our combination of essential oil-based insecticide, bait, and insecticidal dust will eliminate roaches from your home and provide long-lasting protection.

Brown-banded cockroach – Most commonly misidentified as a German Cockroach, Brown-banded cockroaches lack the two dark pronotal stripes German roaches have. Their egg casings carry about 18 eggs, and only about 13% will hatch into nymphs. These roaches are domestic, meaning they won’t be found outside but rather inside, specifically small cracks, crevices, electronics, storage cabinets, or other warm places. Sealing up cracks and crevices around the home, in addition to a thorough treatment by one of our highly skilled pest control professionals, are the best ways to eliminate this pest from your home.

German cockroach – German cockroaches are resilient little creatures and love to make babies. They’re known to infest multifamily structures, but as long as there are food and shelter, they’re happy to move in. Similar to the brown-banded cockroach, they are omnivores and will eat just about anything. They’re also crack and crevice pests and will live in outlets, appliances, under countertops, and behind cabinets. Considering how difficult it is to find these pests, eliminating this pest requires extremely thorough pesticide applications by a trained professional. We use a combination of all-natural insecticide to kill them on contact, bait for them to share with friends and family, and long-lasting, non-toxic insecticidal dust to prevent them from reinfesting your home.

Oriental cockroach – The Oriental Cockroach is a dark brown to black roach measuring about 1 inch in length. You can find them hanging out in damp locations outside in plant debris, in crawl spaces, or cracks around the foundation of structures. Adults are usually found in the spring and summer months when it’s warm and humid. Treating Oriental Cockroaches is similar to the treatment performed for American Roaches. We’ll focus our efforts on the plumbing, crawl space, perimeter and identify places that may need to be sealed up.

Florida Woods cockroach – Also known as a “palmetto bug,” these roaches like to live in storage areas, greenhouses, and shelter boxes for water meters or water pumps. They won’t typically be found in homes but occasionally wander in when their outdoor environment is disturbed. The adults can grow up to 1.6 inches long and are reddish-brown to black in color. They feed mainly on decaying plant matter and are known as detritivores (feeding mainly on dead plant matter). We do not recommend eliminating this pest unless there is an infestation in a storage area, growhouse, or structure. We treat Florida Woods Cockroaches by applying a special blend of non-toxic essential oils to the perimeter of structures and landscape.

Cockroaches, in general, aren’t a pest we recommend treating on your own. Some can cause serious health issues if left unchecked, and identifying the various species can be quite difficult. In just two treatments about two weeks apart, we can eliminate roaches from your home without the use of any harmful chemicals.

What are the risks of a roach infestation?

Roaches travel through dirty areas, carrying germs from one place to another and contaminating food, surfaces, and other items they come in contact with. They spread more than 30 different types of bacteria, including salmonella, which can cause physical distress in humans. Their presence can trigger asthma attacks and allergic reactions, especially in children. Cockroaches may also feed on human skin, hair, and nails, causing irritation, swelling, and even open wounds.

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