Identifying and Controlling Your American Cockroaches

Anyone who’s ever walked into their kitchen late at night to witness a swarm of American roaches scurrying across their floor or on countertops knows the feeling of dread linked with these pests. Besides compromising your health, the sight of a roach can also scare the living daylights out of many people.

One of the most notorious roach species is the American cockroach, which is commonly found in homes and large commercial buildings. If you’re battling American cockroaches, here’s what you need to know about identifying and controlling these insects.

Damage Done by American Cockroaches

Just as other species of cockroaches, American cockroaches do significant damage. For example,

  • They contaminate food and spread disease through their organism deposits on food and eating utensils.
  • Throughout history, they’ve been linked with dysentery, typhoid, and cholera.
  • Cockroaches can cause allergies and asthma.
  • What’s more, they’re known for attacking leather, books, and other organic items.

Physical Features

American cockroaches, which are the largest of all the cockroach species, have several distinguishing physical features, including:

  • A reddish-brown or mahogany-colored body that’s about 4 cm (1.6″) long and 7 cm (.28″) tall.
  • A yellow band behind the head
  • A three-segmented flat body with an oval shape and pronotum that covers the head

Outdoor Behavior

American cockroaches mostly reside outdoors where they can be found in flowerbeds and other damp places, such as under mulch. Because they also live on trees, these cockroaches are also known as palmetto bugs. Additionally, they camp out in sewer systems. Their outdoor diet consists of wood particles, leaves, small insects, fungi, and algae.

Signs of an Infestation

It’s important to recognize the common signs of an infestation, such as:

  • Their small droppings are typically found in dark places and are often mistaken for mouse droppings. However, unlike mouse droppings, cockroach droppings are smaller and contain ridges on their sides.
  • Their dark reddish, brown or black egg capsules are often discovered in laundry rooms, basements, or kitchens.
  • An unpleasant, musty odor can be another clue of an infestation.

How They Enter Homes and Buildings

American cockroaches can easily get into homes and buildings by passing under doors, garages and basement windows as a result of damaged weather stripping. Once they’re inside a house, they generally invade kitchens where they live underneath appliances, inside kitchen cabinets, and in drains.

These pests look for food scraps, crumbs, and any food they can find. Furthermore, they tend to set up housekeeping in moist rooms, such as bathrooms, basements, and laundry rooms.

It’s not unusual to find them in commercial buildings; including, bakeries and restaurants as they’re attracted to food. Other typical commercial hideouts include steam tunnels and boiler rooms where they’re drawn to humid, moist environments.

Prevention Measures and Treatment Options

A huge part of controlling a cockroach infestation is altering their environment to make it less inhabitable so the insects can’t survive. For example:

  • Remove any rotting leaves to reduce moisture around and in a structure so that an area is less inviting.
  • Store firewood away from your home.
  • Caulk areas of penetration.
  • Vacuum and remove debris where roaches hang out.
  • Keep pet food tightly sealed.
  • Thoroughly clean all kitchen appliances so that all food particles are removed.
  • Get rid of paper products, cardboard, trash, and plastic bags.
  • Clear debris off of your property and make sure garbage cans have tight lids.
  • Be sure your home is properly sanitized, such as not leaving food lying around on countertops or on the floor.
  • Position glue traps are entry points.
  • Apply residual sprays around the perimeter of your home.
  • Use insecticides.
  • Apply toxic, loose pellet baits because they work very well.
  • Call an Omaha professional pest control service. 

Other Considerations and Warnings

  • Both males and females are able to fly. Their wings develop once cockroaches reach adulthood.
  • They can run fast.
  • Females are capable of producing as many as 800 cockroaches in a single year.
  • Cockroaches prefer mild, warm temperatures that range between 70-80 degrees F.

Pest control can be overwhelming for most people. That’s why it’s important to give the job to a pest control specialist. When you need help controlling insects, termites and other pests, don’t hesitate to call Miller Termite and Pest Control. Please contact us and learn more about our wide variety of residential and commercial pest and termite control services for Omaha residents.