Cockroaches are insects that reproduce rapidly and can create problems quickly if left unchecked. Cockroaches typically inhabit areas that are dirty and are able to spread pathogens to areas like countertops, dishware, silverware and other areas where food is prepared. Also it is very common to find that cockroaches will feed on food particulates found within our toothbrushes. Their reproduction rate is phenomenal in fact two cockroaches starting out with enough food and harborage can produce over 1 million cockroaches within a year. In the Northeast we we deal primarily with four major types.
Types of Cockroaches
1. German Cockroach: the German cockroach is the fastest as well as the most prolific. These guys breed exponentially. They are also most commonly found in kitchens both residential and commercial as moisture is a big draw for them. If you own a restaurant or live in an apartment building these are typically the cockroaches that you will see in the kitchens, and the bathrooms. They are easily distinguishable by the racing stripes on their thorax. They are very fast and typically what you see is only a small part of the entire picture. They carry their egg or is commonly called the ootheca until it is almost time to hatch. Once it hatches anywhere from 18 to 26 nymphal cockroaches are now ready to go. These will typically harbor in the deepest cracks and crevices because the adults will feed on them. They primarily feed on the droppings left over by the adult cockroaches as well as anything else that they can come into contact with, and stay hidden most of the time. Cockroaches have no shame and will feed on the carcasses of other cockroaches as well as eat each other when times are tough. This is why sanitation is so important when it comes to controlling cockroaches in your home or restaurant. This is also a reason why baiting is so effective when it comes to cockroach control. The baits on the market nowadays actually pass through the system of the cockroach still active. So the droppings as well as the dead bodies of other cockroaches provide a feeding source that will eliminate other cockroaches. We call this the domino effect and it is because we have a domino death effect from adult all the way down to nymph. Typically the days of bombing and fogging are past. Currently baiting is the primary method of cockroach control and typically the best way to eliminate populations from within your home. Remember if you own a restaurant or commercial space self treatment by yourself is illegal in New York State. That includes apartment buildings where we sometimes see building superintendents still applying pesticides. Note that this puts you, your business, your clients, and your tenants at risk.
2. American Cockroaches: American cockroaches also known as water bugs are the big boys that we see typically in basements and around drain areas. They estimate that there are literally billions and billions of American cockroaches within the sewer systems in New York City. Actually there are probably trillions. These guys feed on anything available that has any nutritional value including sewage, garbage, dead mammals, etc. Once the into your home through a drain they typically do not live long because moisture is a constant requirement. Unfortunately what starts out in the basement typically ends up in the highest reaches of a home or building. And based on scientific studies we see that American roaches typically have influx periods several times a year. You will also see an increase in activity during periods of excessive dryness, excessive heat, excessive cold, or excessive rain. So we know that if you have a building or if you live in a building in New York or Philadelphia and his been raining for several days that American roaches will be driven out of the sewers and into the basements and homes of residents. Luckily they typically do not last for long period of time and reproduction in dry areas is very limited.
3. Wood cockroaches: The wood roach is common in Northeast PA and North East New Jersey. These cockroaches fly and are typically attracted to light. They are commonly found outdoors near wood piles or underneath the bark of rotting trees. They do not build up population levels within homes as it is not their common environment and they do not do well there. They will sometimes cluster around lights outside and although that contributes to their ick factor they are relatively harmless and just provide a food source for many other mammals as well as other insects. We typically see the greatest issues with homes that have wood that is been brought into the basement or is left on the front porch.
4. Oriental cockroach: The Oriental cockroach is becoming more and more pronounced in our Northeast cities. Unfortunately these cockroaches tend to travel and are found in areas that are uncommon to other cockroaches. They are a little darker in color and their head looks like that of a samurai helmet hence the name. They appreciate areas that are dry and will feed on a variety of items including glue from books, wallpaper starch, hides, and other natural products. They are little bit more difficult to eliminate because they can be found in so many different areas. A thorough inspection must be done to determine all areas that this insect may be inhabiting. Once the survey is done proper baiting has to be applied and then ongoing monitoring to ensure that the entire population has been eliminated.
How To Eliminate Cockroaches
Cockroach control definitely involve sanitation measures. No matter what you do if there is plenty of food and water available there is almost no way of eliminating cockroaches especially the ones that we typically find infesting apartments and restaurants in New York City. That’s because the more food and harborage and water the faster the reproduction occurs and again were talking about insects that can breed prolifically. So that’s where we always start. Once we get sanitation under control the next step is harborage removal. This can be done through removal of old cardboard boxes, caulking cracks and crevices, repairing floor tiles, getting into and treating above ceiling tiles and other voids, and sealing off areas around drain lines and pipes. Once the second step is done we can move into treatment. In most cases treatment will involve application of some type of bait. There have been some issues in the last several years with something called bait resistance which is actually not a resistance to the bait itself but the fact that there are several cockroaches out of each brood that will not feed upon the bait. These cockroaches will breed and the resulting cockroaches again will not feed on the bait source. This creates an infestation of cockroaches that cannot be controlled through normal baiting methods. We then get back into the old-fashioned methods of pesticide application through fogging, bombing or injection fogging. The benefit of injection fogging is that it’s getting into the cracks and crevices as well as deep within wall voids to eliminate the populations that we cannot see or access through normal methods. Remember that cockroach populations can grow so large that they can be self-sustaining due to the fact that they feed upon one another. This is not only feeding through cannibalistic tendencies but also just from the droppings of one roach to another. Typically if the baiting program is done properly we do not see beta verse cockroaches because the baits are being rotated and as cockroaches definitely have preferences in food sources we are able to get a food that they like into their environment and thus eliminate them.