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American Cockroach

July 24, 2013 - Cockroaches

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The American cockroach, or water bug, has been around for thousands of years even before it came to America. Known as the Periplaneta americana in the science community, it is the largest species of cockroaches known to man. Often considered a pest, the American cockroach grows to an average length of four to seven centimeters. It is reddish-brown in color as nymphs through adulthood. Their bodies appear to be flattened ovals with shield-looking parts covering their heads, and wings folded down on their posterior regions.

American cockroaches have compound eyes with over two thousand lenses, and thus do not prefer light. It also has chewing mouthparts and long antennae. The chewing mouthparts are used to consume a diet of decaying organic matter, leather, paper, book bindings, hair, dry or dead skin flakes, clothing, dead animals, and starch. These cockroaches particularly enjoy feasting on rotting food matter and other dead cockroaches.

American cockroaches can usually be seen traveling at night, darting about countertops in infested homes in search of their next meal. Despite their size, American cockroaches can fit through tiny cracks and is considered to be one of the quickest insects around. The medical hazard of cockroaches is their propensity to pick up bacteria on their legs and spread it to food or countertops; this can lead to food poisoning or other infections. Cockroaches produce an odorous secretion that alters the taste of food and becomes very strong as the population grows.

Fortunately, the American cockroach does not reproduce as quickly as many other insects. They go through an incomplete metamorphosis with three developmental stages. Adult females produce eggs that are encased in an ootheca which is deposited out of their abdomen in a safe place. In less than eight weeks, the cockroaches emerge from the egg as nymphs, and in another year, they will mature to the adult stage. Adult females usually live just one more year and produce less than two hundred eggs.

The American cockroach was transported here around 1625 from Africa through shipping containers containing other items. Many insects not indigenous to the area have arrived from other countries and regions through this means. American cockroaches are not well adapted to colder climates; they prefer warm, moist areas, but have adapted to dry areas as long as they have access to water. Thus, you will find them in basements, sewers, kitchens, and bathrooms.

If cockroaches or other pests have made unsightly appearances around your home or business, call Cantu Pest & Termite and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced pest control experts.