A Common Household Pest: the Cockroach

What are Roaches?

Cockroaches are insects that have been around for many millions of years. Today there are around four-thousand species of roaches, but of these only a handful are commonly recognized as pests.

The American Cockroach

Largest of the common roach pests is the American cockroach. Usually about an inch and a half long, brown in color and having a distinctive darker brown spot color on the head resembling eyes or sunglasses, this hardy roach is also often referred to as a waterbug. The American cockroach is a strong flyer and can live up to a year and a half. The American cockroach is often mistaken for the Florida woods cockroach or palmetto bug which is even larger but primarily an outdoor species.

The German cockroach and the Asian Cockroach

Two other common roaches are almost identical: the German cockroach and the Asian cockroach. These two nuisance bugs are typically about half an inch in length and at a glance appear to be a uniform brown color. These roaches are somewhat thinner in appearance than other common cockroaches. Due to their small size and quick reproductive cycle, these unsightly pests are very successful at infesting homes and other buildings.

The Oriental cockroach

The Oriental cockroach is larger than the German and Asian roaches, but smaller than the American cockroach. It is often a very dark brown or almost black. Like the American cockroach, the Oriental cockroach is also referred to as a waterbug and their appearance can be very similar. Males of the species can also fly short distances. The Oriental cockroach prefers humid and warm locations.

How to control cockroaches in your home

These common cockroaches are considered harmful in human habitats because they can carry dangerous germs. Roaches are drawn to kitchen areas due to the generally easy access to crumbs and grease. One of the best ways to avoid an infestation of roaches in your home is to keep a clean house and make sure all food items are tightly sealed. Cockroaches also find the strong smell of bay leaves undesirable so you can repel them with this and other natural aromas.


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