The cockroach is one of the most despised insects, especially by homeowners. Other than the fact that it can survive a week without its head and in freezing temperatures, it poses a serious health risk to humans if it makes its way indoors. Cockroaches spread at least 33 types of bacteria, including Salmonella and E.coli, and six different types of parasitic worms.
Cockroaches can trigger allergy and asthma attacks as their shed skin, saliva, and droppings contain potent allergens that can exacerbate asthma symptoms in children. It’s almost inevitable that some roaches will make their way into your home. Understanding the different types helps you deal with the infestation better, as you call a pest control service for help.
The following are eight different types of cockroaches:
Type #1: American Cockroaches
American cockroaches are reddish-brown in colour. They can be distinguished by the yellowish figure 8 pattern found behind the head. American cockroaches are the largest house-infecting roaches, with adults growing up to 53 mm long. This species is native to the United States, but it can be found worldwide. Although they have wings, American cockroaches can only fly for short distances.
They are often found in basements, sewers or around drains and pipes. They tend to congregate in laundry rooms, bathrooms and kitchens in search of food and water. American cockroaches are most active in warmer temperatures (70 degrees or higher), but they can also survive in lower temperatures under the right conditions. They have a lifespan of two years.
Type #2: German Cockroaches
German cockroaches are type of cockroaches that can be distinguished by the two dark-brown stripes on their backs. German cockroaches are oval-shaped and have six legs. They can grow up to 16mm long. This species thrives in warm and humid places such as basements and bathrooms, but they are commonly found in kitchens in search of food and water.
German cockroaches are the most common home-infesting roaches in the world. Although they have wings, they rarely fly. They prefer to run instead. They produce more eggs compared to other species and have a lifespan of 12 months.
Type #3: Brown-banded Cockroaches
Brown-banded cockroaches are brown in colour with two light yellow bands extending across their bodies. Females have reddish-brown wings, while males have dark brown wings that lighten towards the tip. Although they both have wings, only males can fly and always jump when disturbed. Brown-banded cockroaches have a lifespan of 3 to 11 months.
These species prefer drier, warmer and higher locations within a room compared to other types of roaches. You’ll most likely find them in bathrooms, kitchen cabinets and behind picture frames. Brown-banded cockroaches often hide their egg cases in or underneath furniture pieces.
Type #4: Oriental Cockroaches
Oriental cockroaches are large. Females grow up to 32mm long while males measure less than 25mm in length. They have shiny, dark-brown to black bodies. These roaches are not capable of flight. Oriental cockroaches have a lifespan of up to six months, and they mainly feed on decaying organic matter. They are commonly found in sewers and enter structures through door thresholds, or drains, typically during summer.
Once inside, they look for cool and damp areas such as crawl spaces and basements. They are often found outdoors in firewood and leaf piles. Oriental cockroaches are in some cases known as “water bugs” because they often come out of drains. They are some of the dirtiest roaches, often emitting a strong smell.
Type #5: Australian Cockroaches
The Australian cockroach is similar to the American cockroach, but it’s slightly smaller and thrives in tropical areas. They are intolerant to the cold and can survive in dry and moist environments. While they are commonly found on the outer layers of a home, they tend to be attracted by food indoors. Australian cockroaches are very fast.
Type #6: Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches
The Madagascar hissing cockroach is one of the largest. It is also among the most depicted in movies. In terms of appearance, they are distinguished by their long and hard exterior, and reddish-brown colour. Their most unique feature is the ability to hiss when disturbed, fighting or mating. While this roach is an invasive unwelcome guest in the home, some people actually keep it as a pet.
Type #7: Florida Woods Cockroaches
The Florida woods cockroach is a slow outdoor species typically found outside the home in gardens, sheds and woodpiles. It’s known for its clear hardened back. The colour of this species ranges from reddish-brown to all-black. Partially because they are large and don’t have wings, these roaches are slow to escape danger. The Florida woods cockroach primarily feeds on decaying plant life, posing potential problems in the yard.
Type #8: Smoky-brown Cockroaches
The smoky-brown cockroach is slightly smaller in size than the American counterpart. It has a reddish-brown exterior and is commonly found in sub-tropical environments. This roach is predominantly an outdoor species, but it is attracted indoors by nightlights, shelter and food. The smoky-brown is among the more aerial species. They are common in house roofs and trees, flying from one place to the next in search of an ideal home.
There are approximately 4000 living cockroach species in the world. To keep your home free of cockroach infestations, prevention and pest control are key.