American Cockroaches

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  • Colour Reddish-brown
  • Size From 28 mm to 43 mm long
  • Description Have long, flat, wide bodies, with six legs, two long antennae protruding from the head, and a light-brown/yellow band on their thorax.
  • Notes Are among the fastest running insects in the world, travelling up to 50 body lengths per second, and able to fly short distances.
American cockroach close up

What do American cockroaches look like

The American Cockroach, Periplaneta Americana, is one of the most common species of cockroaches in Canada and may grow to approximately three to five centimetres long. Both males and females are approximately the same size. Males have wings that extend slightly beyond the abdomen, and females may appear broader in the abdomen. Both sexes have additional jointed appendages at the tip of the abdomen called cerci. Males also possess additional appendages at the rear of the abdomen called stylets. The body of the insect appears flat, which allows for easy entry through cracks and other openings to the home.

American cockroaches Habitat, Behaviour, Lifecycle

Habitat and Behaviour

The American cockroach is most likely to be found in and around restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, home kitchens, and other food preparation areas. Cockroaches tend to prefer areas that are warm and humid. Like most indoor pests, they are looking for sources of food and water as well as a safe place to rest and reproduce.

Life Cycle, Reproduction, & Eggs

The American cockroach is a commonly encountered structure infesting cockroach in some parts of Canada. It typically grows up to 5 cm in length and has brownish-red colouring. The flat body allows American cockroaches to easily access homes and businesses through cracks and holes in walls, foundations, and sewers. Like other cockroach species, the American cockroach lays its eggs in an egg capsule which is called an “ootheca”.

Measuring around 8 millimetres, American cockroach oothecae are dark brown in colour and symmetrical in shape with each ootheca containing about 16 eggs. The female cockroach drops the egg capsule within a day of formation and produces a new ootheca about every nine to 10 days. Throughout their year-long lives, female American cockroach produces on average 10 egg capsules but can reach maximum of up to 30. The ootheca contains enough water to sufficiently nurture eggs until hatching. Young American cockroaches hatch in 24 to 60 days. The rate of development from egg to adult depends upon the environmental temperature.

American cockroaches are omnivorous and scavengers and they will feed on almost anything available. However, they do starchy foods, flour and fermented products.

Why do I have American cockroaches

American cockroaches, commonly mistaken for palmetto bugs, or Florida woods cockroaches, prefer warm, humid environments and are always on the lookout for food, water, shelter, and a safe place to reproduce.

They will feed on anything, but are attracted to starchy foods, flour and fermented products, so often invade restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, home kitchens, and other food preparation areas, entering through cracks in walls, foundations, and sewers.

How worried should I be about American cockroaches

American cockroaches contaminate food with their feces and defensive secretions, and carry pathogenic organisms on the feet and legs. They can also carry intestinal diseases such as diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid fever, and cholera.

People who experience frequent and prolonged exposure to cockroaches may develop mild to severe allergic reactions, such as dermatitis, itching, swelling of the eyelids, and serious respiratory conditions.

But cockroaches are among the most resilient pests in the world and once American cockroaches have invaded your home or business, you will need the help of a professional pest control service to eradicate the infestation and stop these pests coming back.

How can I prevent American cockroaches invading

Vacuum all cracks and crevices, Clean up crumbs and spills promptly, Sweep or vacuum food and debris on floors, Do not leave food or water out overnight, Clean counters, sinks, and tables with soapy water, Take out trash in closed plastic containers, Keep waste containers washed and clean, Wash dirty dishes and utensils immediately, Fix leaky faucets and water pipes, Increase ventilation to prevent condensation

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