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Many people are repulsed and disgusted by the presence of cockroaches. For good reason, they are a health problem, contaminating food and eating utensils. Cockroaches are known to carry human pathogens, such as Salmonella and E. coli, which can result in food poisoning or diarrhea. Occasionally, they will destroy fabric and paper products. In large numbers, cockroaches secrete a substance, which can result in stains on surfaces they contact and produce disagreeable odors. Finally, products of cockroach infestations, including saliva, feces and cast skins, are a source of allergens and can irritate allergies and asthma in people, especially children.

Correct identification of suspected cockroaches is important as there are many insects that look similar, (e.g. long-horned beetles, crickets, leaf-footed bugs and ground beetles). A cockroach has a flattened, oval shaped body and long antennae (about the length of their body). When looking at a cockroach from above, its head is hidden from view. It has six strong legs covered with spines. Many adult cockroaches have fully developed wings, although few fly. Other cockroaches have short wings or lack wings altogether. Young, immature cockroaches resemble adults but are smaller and wingless. If there is any doubt about whether an insect is a cockroach, submit a sample to an insect specialist or a pest management expert.

A cockroach has three stages during its life cycle: egg, nymph, and adult. Adults lay eggs contained within egg cases that are dark-colored and roughly the same size and shape as a dry kidney bean. Depending on the species, an egg case contains between 16 – 50 eggs. Eggs hatch into young cockroaches called nymphs. In a normal cockroach population, nymphs are more numerous than adults.

Cockroaches are nocturnal, hiding during the day and becoming active at night. The number of cockroaches people see is usually a small percentage of a much larger population. Cockroaches prefer different habitats depending on the species. German cockroaches prefer dark, warm, humid areas near sources of food and water. American and Oriental cockroaches prefer coolers areas, such as basements and crawl spaces. Brown-banded cockroaches prefer drier areas, such as pantries and closets. All cockroaches are scavengers and will survive on almost any food as well as backing glue, leather, bar soap, and bookbindings. They may even sample electronics and wiring in television and microwave (though infestation have to be large when this type of damage occurs). They spend most of their time in narrow, tight cracks and spaces where surfaces touch them on both sides. Cockroaches tend to congregate in corners and generally travel along the edges of walls or other surfaces.

If you see a roach in your home always remember there’s more, give Delmar a call and let us help you get rid of them.