Class: Insecta, Order: Dictyoptera
Some of their more common names are kitchen bugs, kitchen roaches, sewer bugs, water bugs, house bugs, and palmetto bugs. They form the oldest group of insects and have been around for over 300 million years. Roaches can be found both indoors and out. They are some of the most important pests infesting homes, restaurants, bakeries, hotels, and any place they can find food, water, and shelter. The most common structure infesting cockroach is the German cockroach, but the American, Oriental, Smokybrown and Brown-banded cockroaches can also be found inside structures under the right conditions. Roaches reproduce by Gradual metamorphosis, with the life stages of egg, nymph and adult. The nymphs look very similiar to the adults except they are smaller, do not possess wings and are not sexually mature. They feed on the same food items as the adults. Roaches can reproduce quickly, allowing large numbers of roaches to be found in the same area. This is especially true of German cockroaches.
Asian Cockroach – Blattella asahinai (Mizukubo)
The Asian roach looks identical to the German roach but the habitats in which it is found is usually the opposite of the German roach. It will be found outside in mulch and leaf litter around the outside of structures. When disturbed it readily flies from the ground up onto the building. Being attracted to lights, it may enter homes in the evening hours as residents begin to turn on lights and televisions where they will fly to such sources becoming a nuisance pest. Control measures will usually take place outside structures.
American Cockroach – Periplaneta americana (Linnaeus)
One of the largest roaches, American roaches can be as much as one and one-quarter inches long. They are reddish brown with a light colored edge around the pronotum just behind the head. Typically occurring outdoors around structures in mulch, they will readily enter the structure and can even establish populations inside consisting of very large numbers. American cockroaches feed on a wide variety of foods but decaying organic matter seems to be preferred. They will also feed on some items that are not considered food items such as book bindings, manuscripts, clothing, and other items that contain starch. Both nymphs and adults feed on the same type items which is why they can build up great numbers in the same areas.
German cockroach – Blattella germanica (Linnaeus)
Adults are about ½ inch long, light brown in color and have two stripes running lengthwise on the pronotum just behind the head. Immatures (nymphs) have a light colored area on their back. This is a true Commensal roach as they are only found infesting structures. They can occur in large numbers of hundreds, thousands and even hundreds of thousands in buildings. Being nocturnal, they are active at night when other activity is typically low. They are known to carry bacteria that cause food poisoning. They are also known to be one of the greatest causes of asthma like symptoms in children. If you are seeing German cockroaches in areas of the home other than the kitchen and bathrooms, or you are seeing alot of them during the daytime, these may be indications of a very large and serious infestation. Larger populations require more time and effort to bring them under control. Elimination of food, water and shelter is key to the successful management of German roach infestations.
Smokybrown Cockroach – Periplaneta fuliginosa (Serville)
Smokybrown roaches are some of the largest species of roaches ranging in size up to one and one-quarter inches long. They are a uniform dark reddish brown color from head to abdomen. They occur mostly outside structures in mulch and leaf litter, but will come inside from time to time especially around doors and windows that are left open or are not tight fitting when closed. Active at nights, it feeds on a variety of items as food, decaying organic matter, pet food left outdoors, etc.
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