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Cockroach Facts

Cockroaches can wreak havoc on your home. To win the war against cockroaches, here’s what you should know:

  • Entry: Cockroaches can enter your home in many different ways, including through cracks and crevices, unscreened vents, sewers, and drain pipes. We even bring them in on products like grocery bags, boxes, purses, and on our person!
  • Ideal Environment: Your home is an ideal breeding ground for most species of cockroaches. With plenty of food, warmth, water, and nesting sites, cockroaches can remain active all year round. Structure-infesting cockroaches flourish in homes where bits of food are left out in the open. Accumulation of boxes, bags, and other clutter also gives the crawling insects additional places to hide and breed.
  • Reproduction: Cockroaches are prolific breeders, and they reproduce quickly. Female cockroaches typically lay 10 to 50 eggs in protective egg capsules at a time. The developmental process from egg to adulthood can take several months to a few years. The time it takes for eggs to hatch and nymphs to develop depends on environmental conditions. As most people know, for every one cockroach you see, there can be many, many more hiding and multiplying behind your walls.
  • Evasiveness: Because cockroaches are nocturnal, if you’ve seen one, you probably haven’t seen them all. The few cockroaches you see by day could mean they were likely forced out by overcrowding – a possible sign of severe infestation. Using cockroach or insect monitoring traps, a pest control professional can assess the extent of an infestation and then perform the most effective and appropriate treatments to control the infestation.
  • Allergies/Asthma: Under extreme and chronic infestations, allergens from cast-off cockroach skins, dead bodies, and droppings can cause allergic reactions, especially in children and sensitive individuals. Some susceptible individuals may develop bronchial asthma from cockroach allergens.
  • Spread of Illness: Because of their unsanitary habits and habitats, cockroaches pick up and carry disease-causing pathogens (germs) on their bodies, which they can transmit to humans. Most common pathogens they carry and transmit include Salmonella, Shigella, Staphylococcus, and E. Coli. Cockroaches transmit these pathogens via contaminated food, beverages, utensils, and preparation surfaces they touch, and individuals that consume such contaminated food may experience food poisoning, dysentery, or diarrhea.
  • Do-It-Yourself Ineffectiveness: As one of the most adaptable creatures on the planet, cockroaches are experts at survival. Once the pests have entered and established themselves in a home, eliminating the infestation can be a serious challenge. Cockroaches are better at hiding than you are at finding them, and their eggs are naturally protected from insecticides by the egg capsules. Without special equipment, products, and technical know-how, cockroach control can be a losing battle.

Do Cockroaches Bite?

Cockroaches are omnivorous; they feed on anything that is deemed nutritional to them including a variety of plant, animal-based food sources and non-living objects. Their mouth parts are modified for biting and chewing, hence they can bite as a result into meat as well as vegetation. Therefore, in certain conditions, cockroaches can bite humans and pets. They generally only bite humans in cases of extreme infestation, when other food sources become depleted. When infestations grow large enough to exhaust more attractive sources of nourishment, cockroaches will bite people to eat food particles stuck to human skin.

Victims of cockroach bites often do not release that they are bitten by cockroaches; they may mistake it for other insect bites such as a bedbug bite. The bite may go unnoticed or may produce redness around the bite site, eventually swelling and causing irritation. Like other insect bites, cockroach bites carry the risk of infection. Infected cockroach bites typically grow in size and become inflamed, with pus contained within. In the rare instances when cockroaches bite humans, the insects often target the fingers and skin around the nails.

Cockroach Infestations

The most common type of cockroach known to infest Canadian homes and businesses is the German cockroach. Other species of cockroaches, such as the oriental cockroach and American cockroach, also live indoors throughout most areas of Canada and regularly infest homes featuring prime living conditions. Cockroaches are mostly attracted to areas of moisture and heat. The insects feed on anything but primarily feed on sweets and starches, which prove abundant in garbage cans found throughout typical kitchens. Ideal living conditions coupled with readily available food supplies can lead to cockroach swarms and infestations of living spaces with alarming speed if left unchecked. The swarms are usually most recognizable by regular inspection. Homeowners should use flashlights to screen for the insect consistently if any infestation is suspected.

Dealing with a nocturnal insect, identifying cockroach infestations may prove somewhat difficult. Cockroaches generally scurry away from light sources. Trace amounts of excrement left behind by cockroach infestations are usually the most telltale signs of any significant problems. The droppings look like small, black grains of paper, noticeable to the naked eye, and generally sit in piles or en masse in areas where cockroaches feed. The best initial response to suspected cockroach infestation is cleaning and sanitizing any areas where the insects might be assembling. However, due to the behaviour and population dynamics of cockroaches and the challenges in controlling them, it is best to seek out the services of trained, pest control professional.

Cockroach Eggs

Cockroach Droppings

Do Roaches Fly?

Traps & Sprays