American roach, commonly known as water bug, is the largest species of common cockroach. The young nymphs are 1.5 inches long and gray-brown in color but as they mature, they grow up to 3 inches and become reddish brown or mahogany in appearance. American roach has well developed wings but fly only when the temperature is above 85 degrees. They live comfortably in the temperature of 84 degree Fahrenheit and are generally found in tropical climates.
Cockroaches have three basic life stages i.e. egg, nymph and adult. The eggs are laid down by female cockroaches in dark brown and bean-shaped protective cases. These egg cases are deposited by roach in a warm and humid area. Newly hatched nymphs are ¼ inch long and resemble the adults, except they are very light brown in color. The American cockroach reproduces rather slowly but in the presence of food, they can grow from nymph to an adult in just 5 ½ months. The population of adult cockroaches reaches its peak in summers, and in winters they reproduce and die thus, leaving behind only the nymphs.
Behavior and Diet
American cockroaches prefer warm and moist areas, and are mostly found in flowerbeds, sewers, basements, yards, woodpiles etc. Active primarily during night, American cockroaches enter homes in search of food and water. Some of the common entrance ways for roaches are basement windows, garages and crevices of porches. When outdoor, American cockroaches eat decaying organic matter, flakes of dried skin, dead animals, plant materials, fungi and algae. Once inside the house, they eat cheese, leather, bakery products, starch in book bindings, scraps of food and even the pet food.
Cockroaches are nasty pests that can spread diseases, contaminate food and cause allergies. They are said to be the carriers of a wide range of bacteria causing Cholera, Plague, Dysentery, Typhoid Fever, Diarrhea and viral diseases. While crawling through decaying matter or sewer, they pick up germs on their legs and bodies, and then infect the food. With easy availability of food, warmth and water, home becomes an ideal breeding ground for cockroaches. Cockroaches enter the house through plumbing pipes, heating ducts, asements and small leaks in the door. To effectively manage a serious cockroach infestation, seal all cracks and crevices, vacuum and remove harborages and repair all floor drains. In order to prevent cockroaches from creating nuisance in the house, the floor drains needs to be covered with screen. To fulfill the purpose, a piece of wire screen can be cut to fit under the drain’s sieve plate. The screen should be made up of fine mesh so that it excludes the small nymphs. Home maintenance and moisture control aid towards eliminating the primary needs of cockroaches. Using tightly sealed bags to store garbage, throwing away piles of empty paper grocery bags or corrugated boxes and repairing plumbing leaks prevent infestation of cockroaches in the house. Also, applying caulking compound to the indoor crevices and cracks in the walls also lessen the chances of cockroaches invading the house.
Pest Management Program
The most effective techniques used by the pest control professionals include sticky traps and nonchemical tactics. Initially, they partner with the homeowner to reduce the cockroach attractants in the house and use less toxic insecticides to get rid of them. Later, they employ cockroach bait stations for the extermination of cockroaches at indoor locations.
Sticky traps are the nontoxic cockroach control tools that are mostly used for the purpose of monitoring. Cockroaches passing over these traps stick to the glue and are unable to escape. These traps must be placed in the areas where cockroaches were spotted. This will not only help ascertain the roach’s harborage area, but will also help decide where to apply the control methods.
Boric Acid and Diatomaceous Earth
Boric acid and diatomaceous earth are the control methods to be employed inside the house. Before practicing this pest control method, wear a dust mask to prevent breathing the harmful dust particles. Then, use a bulb duster to apply dust to wall voids and other areas where the cockroaches have been spotted. After the initial control treatment, bait stations can be used to exterminate cockroaches. These should not be placed on surfaces where an insecticide has been applied; instead they should be placed near cockroach harborage and along the edges of the wall.