Why Are Turkestan Cockroach Infestations Becoming More Common In Texas Homes, And How Can These Roaches Be Identified?

Pest control professionals in Texas generally agree that cockroaches are the most commonly encountered insect pests within homes in the state. The German, American, Oriental, smokybrown and brown-banded species are the four most common roach pests in Texas, and they are all found throughout the state. However, another non-native roach species, the Turkestan cockroach, is rapidly becoming the dominant roach pest in many urban and suburban environments throughout Texas.

The most common cockroach pests found within Texas homes vary depending on geographic location. For example, American cockroaches thrive in moist habitats, which makes them particularly abundant along the Gulf Coast, especially in Houston. The Oriental cockroach species generally reigns supreme in homes located in southwest Texas, but this species is rapidly being displaced by Turkestan cockroaches in urban and suburban environments in the region.

The Turkestan cockroach is native to northern Africa and central Asia, and they were first discovered in the US back in 1978 when specimens were recovered from southern California. One year later, Turkstan cockroaches were found in El Paso, and today, these roaches are abundant in many Texas counties and throughout the southwest. Due to the Turkestan cockroach species’ ability to produce unusually high numbers of eggs more rapidly than Oriental cockroaches in human-populated areas, the former species is quickly ousting the latter to become the most commonly encountered cockroach pest species within homes located in western and central Texas.

Male and female adults of the Turkestan cockroach species appear markedly different from one another. For example, while both male and female Turkestan cockroaches are between .55 and 1.1 inches in length, the male is light brownish-yellow in color, while the female is dark brown to black in color. Turkestan cockroaches become abundant in excessively moist indoor areas, making basements, crawl spaces, household water meters, and floor and wall voids that contain leaking pipes common infestation sites. The Turkestan cockroach is also known for inhabiting sewers where they sometimes travel into homes via pipes.

Have you ever encountered Oriental cockroaches within your home?


Pest Spotlight: The Smokybrown Cockroach

The Smokybrown Cockroach Is One Of The Most Commonly Encountered Insect Pests In Central Texas Where They Can Establish Breeding Sites Within Homes.

Cockroaches are not hard to come by in central Texas, as multiple cities in the region have been named as being among the most roach-infested cities in the US. In Waco, for example, pest control calls concerning cockroaches far outnumber the national average. Social workers and police officers regularly report roaches as being the most significant and threatening insect pests found in impoverished homes. In fact, roaches have literally been found nesting in the ears of children living in infested homes in the city, and in nearby Fort Hood, military housing authorities have long struggled to control roach pests within homes located on the base. The most common species of roach pests regularly found within Waco homes include American, Oriental, German and brown-banded cockroaches. The smokybrown cockroach is another frequently encountered roach pest species in Waco homes, and although these roaches prefer to dwell outdoors, they have been known to establish breeding populations within houses.

The smokybrown cockroach is most abundant in central and eastern Texas, and in addition to invading homes, these roaches annoy and terrify residents by flying toward artificial lights on porches and along residential streets. The 2 inch long American cockroach species is the largest roach pest in the US, but the smokybrown is not far behind, as both males and females grow to the startling size of 1 ¼ to 1 ½ of an inch in length. Unsurprisingly, smokybrown cockroaches are often mistaken for American cockroaches due to their similar brown to dark brown color, comparable size, preference for humid indoor locations, ability to fly, and their tendency to access homes through sewer and septic pipes. Once indoors, smokybrown cockroaches are most frequently found in attics and fireplaces where rainwater often leaks indoors. Smokybrown cockroaches can be differentiated from American cockroaches by their particularly long antennae, which exceeds their body length.

Have you ever spotted roaches flying toward your porch lights?

Cockroaches: Why They Are So Hard to Control on Your Own

Cockroaches: Why They Are So Hard to Control on Your OwnWaco Roach Control

Cockroaches are known to cause allergic reactions and trigger asthma attacks, especially in children. These pests can also spread 33 kinds of bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella. If spotted, homeowners should call a pest professional to evaluate the severity of the problem and recommend a course of treatment.

iPest Solutions offers insight into what makes cockroaches so difficult to control for homeowners:

  •  Resilience. Cockroaches can live for up to a week without their heads. They can also hold their breath for 40 minutes and even survive being submerged in water for half an hour. Additionally, some species are able to withstand freezing temperatures.
  • Small size.Cockroaches are small pests, so they can easily hide in cracks and crevices. Male cockroaches can fit through an opening as small as 1/16 inch in width or the thickness of a quarter.
  • Quick speed.Cockroaches are very fast and can run up to three miles an hour. A newborn cockroach, which is about the size of a speck of dust, runs nearly as fast as its parents.
  • Irregular feeding habits.Cockroaches can survive for up to one month without food and one week without water. They are omnivores and are attracted to all types of foods, including sugars, proteins and fats.