What is an American Cockroach?
The American cockroach is the largest of the house-infesting roaches and a major pest in the United States. Despite its name, the American cockroach is not native to North America. Some evidence suggested that American cockroaches were introduced via ships from Africa in the early 1600s.
- Color: American cockroaches are typically reddish brown with a yellowish figure 8 pattern on the back of the head
- Legs: They have 6 legs
- Shape: Oval
- Size: Adults may range between 1 1/4” to 2 1/8” (32-54 mm) in length
- Antennae: Yes
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What Do American Cockroaches Look Like?
Adult American cockroaches average between 1.4” to 1.6” (35-41mm) in length, but they can grow to exceed 2”. American cockroaches are reddish-brown in color with a yellow band that outlines the area behind their head. Both males and females have wings and can fly short distances.
Prevention and Control
Signs of an Infestation
There are four telltale signs of an American cockroach infestation. First, homeowners will see the fast-moving insects themselves usually fleeing to dark areas. Second, cockroaches leave behind droppings in the dim areas in which they hide. These small droppings are blunt on the ends and have ridges on the sides. They are often mistaken for mouse droppings, so it’s important to contact PMi to identify a possible cockroach problem.
Another sign of a cockroach infestation is the presence of egg capsules, which are about 8 mm long and dark-colored. Egg capsules are sometimes glued to a surface near food sources, and can be found in basements, laundry rooms and kitchens, as well as behind appliances or underneath cabinets. Lastly, the American cockroach will produce a pheromone that some people describe as having a “musty” smell. People with sensitive noses may notice this odor around the house.
Cockroaches are some of the most resilient pests in the world. They exhibit unique survival tactics, including the ability to live for a week without their head. This makes getting rid of American cockroaches a difficult task for homeowners to do themselves.
People can take steps, however, to mitigate cockroach problems through barrier exclusion and cleanliness. Barrier exclusion involves preventing cockroaches from entering the home through small cracks in walls, gaps near electric sockets and switch plates, and up through drains. Use a silicone-based caulk to seal these openings.
Having a clean and sanitary home will also make it less inviting to American cockroaches. Homeowners should keep counters, sinks, tables and floors free of clutter and crumbs. Don’t leave dishes pile up in the sink or spills marinate on the counter. It’s also good practice to store food in airtight containers and avoid leaving pet food out in the open. Some other ways to prevent American cockroaches include vacuuming at least once a week to remove food particles, having PMi inspect crawl spaces to prevent moisture buildup and running water periodically in spare bathrooms to keep u-traps filled.
If a cockroach infestation is suspected, contact PMi for advice on American cockroach control and elimination. We will be able to recommend an appropriate treatment plan to get rid of American cockroaches and help prevent a future problem.
Cockroaches are filthy pests, and their presence in the home can pose a severe health threat. Cockroaches have been reported to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella, as well as six kinds of parasitic worms and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens. They pick up germs on the spines of their legs and body as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage, and then transfer the germs onto food or cooking surfaces.
The saliva, urine and fecal droppings from American cockroaches contain allergen proteins known to elicit allergic reactions and asthma attacks. As such, cockroaches are a common trigger of year-round allergy and asthma symptoms, especially in children.
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