German Cockroach, American Cockroach, Brownbanded Cockroach, Oriental Cockroach

Photo by Anil Jadhav
Photo by flyingroc
Cockroaches are one of the more common home invaders. Their amazing ability to adapt has made them one of the highest populated species on the planet and they exist in almost every environment on the planet. Some of the more common species that you will see in Wisconsin are the German, Brown Banded, American, Oriental and Pennsylvania Wood cockroaches. Any place where humans may visit or dwell has the possibility of having cockroaches, and no place or dwelling is immune to their ability to migrate to or to inhabit.

Adult German cockroaches are about 1.25cm - 1.6cm long, light brown with two lines running down their thorax (near the head) and two long antennae, and though German cockroaches may have wings they do not usually fly. The nymphs have dark brown to black coloring with a distinguishable brown spot or stripe in the center of their back and they do not have wings, but still have the two long antennae.

Brown banded cockroaches are about 1cm - 1.25cm long and the males will typically be larger than the females. The females tend to be oval shaped and their wings are shorter than their bodies, while the males are more elongated and have full length wings. Nymphs and adults alike can be recognized by two brown stripes around the abdomen; one at the base and again in the center of the abdomen. Adult males can and will fly if prompted to.

Oriental cockroaches are about 2cm long, their coloring is a very dark brown or black and they appear to have a glossy finish to their exoskeleton. The males have wings that are shorter than the full length of their bodies but evidence suggests they are unable to fly, the females have no wings but instead have wing pads that appear to be functionless. The female's body is also larger than the males.

The life cycles of all three of these species are very similar. They all go through a simple metamorphosis: Egg, Nymph, Adult, and the females all carry their eggs in capsules. Some of the more subtle differences have to do with egg numbers and where the capsules are placed. The female German cockroach carries the most eggs in her capsules, having up to 50 per capsule. She will carry a capsule until it is time for the eggs to hatch, and it takes about 28 days for each capsule to hatch. She will produce up to 8 capsules in her life span averaging about one capsule every 6 weeks.

The Oriental female cockroach however will only carry her capsule for a little more than a day and then she will drop it in a protected area near a food source. The Oriental cockroach capsule will only contain about 16 eggs and depending on the temperature the eggs may take up to 60 days to hatch.

The Brown Banded female cockroach also only carries her capsules for a little more than a day but instead she will attach her egg capsule to walls, behind appliances, and in secluded areas. These capsules can take between 35 - 100 days to hatch depending upon the temperature. The Brown banded female may lay up to 14 capsules in her lifetime.

The habitat for all three varieties can be summed up in three words; damp, dark, secluded and warm. The Oriental cockroach is known to live in sewers and in sewer drains. Some of the more common areas you may find German roaches in your home or business are in cracks and crevices underneath kitchen sinks and in cabinets, in the cracks along the base board near a water source, in warm areas on or near a refrigerator or cook stove, and behind the splash board of your counter tops. They are also found in bathrooms in similar areas to the kitchen and between unsealed cracks of toilets and bathtubs. Cockroaches will thrive in unsanitary environments and populations will grow much more rapidly in these environments than in sanitary conditions.

Cockroaches will feed on the same food sources as humans and their pets and have been suspected to cause dysentery, Staphylococcus, food poisoning and diarrhea. Allergic reactions can also occur from the waste of cockroaches as well.

Sanitation alone will not control cockroaches but can reduce the rate in which the population grows and is a necessary part of control, and it will assists in the use of poison baits. Sanitation, poison baits and pesticides are the only methods that when combined can control cockroaches. It is important to note that over time cockroaches have developed strong resistances to many pesticides and though a pesticide may say on the label that it can be used for cockroach control it does not mean that it will be effective. It simply means that it can be used on cockroaches. Professionally used poison baits are highly effective if properly placed and introduced to the population, but there is still frequently a need for diversity as bait shyness has been recorded in many species.

The technicians at Prompt Action Pest Control are licensed and trained to use a wide variety of pesticides and poison baits. We also receive continual training on possible resistances that may occur to a pesticide. We use a mufti-faceted approach that includes both pesticides and poison baits and the introduction of an IGR to a population to help prevent further reproduction.