Have you ever encountered a flying cockroach in your home?
Have you ever encountered a flying cockroach in your home?
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?
Everything Waco Residents Should Know About Brown-Banded Cockroaches
The German cockroach is often considered the main household cockroach pest in the country, and the one you will hear about most when it comes to keeping these pests out of your home. However, there is another cockroach species that homeowners in Texas need to worry about invading their homes. The brown-banded cockroach is another species that loves to take up residence in human homes. Here is everything a resident of Waco needs to know about brown-banded cockroaches.
Brown-banded cockroaches are similar in size to German cockroaches, with males being 13 to 14.5 mm long and the females 11 to 12 mm. Females cannot fly and have a much broader and round abdomen than males. Males, on the other hand can indeed fly and have wings that cover their entire abdomen, as opposed to the shorter wings of the female that never quite cover their abdomen. They tend towards dark brown to almost black in color with two bands of pale brown at the base of their wings and another ⅓ of the distance from the base, which is what gives them a “banded” appearance. Females tend to be a good bit darker than males, with wings that are reddish brown to very dark brown, compared to the males’ wings, which are dark brown at the base, but turn gradually lighter in color as they fan out from the base.
Brown-banded cockroaches are particularly fond of the hotter temperatures in Texas, with the optimum temperature for their development being above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it less of a pest for most of the country, but a pain in particular for those living in the south. After carrying their capsules containing their young, also known as ootheca, for around 24 to 36 hours, the females attach them in clusters to an object inside your house, such as the kitchen sink, furniture, walls, shelves, behind pictures on the walls, and other convenient hiding places. This practice of attaching the ootheca to different objects throughout a home helps to easily disseminate the cockroaches over large distances and throughout an entire home. As you can probably imagine, this can make them quite the nuisance invader when it comes to houses and apartments. They are often distributed throughout the house, with them being most abundant in kitchen areas.
Have you ever had an infestation of brown-banded cockroaches?
The German Cockroach Regularly Hides Within Cracks On Interior Walls That Are As Narrow As 4 To 5 Millimeters In Width
Cockroaches have existed for at least three hundred and fifty million years, and while most of the world’s cockroach species inhabit wet and humid tropical regions, several species are well known pests in the temperate United States. While the south sees a greater abundance and diversity of cockroach pest species than the north, the German, American and Oriental cockroach species are the primary indoor roach pests in all areas of the country. In addition to being widely considered very unpleasant to look at, cockroaches carry dozens of disease-causing microorganisms due to their habit of congregating within pathogen-rich environments, such as sewers, outhouses, landfills, and garbage receptacles. If that is not bad enough, living and dead cockroaches, as well as their shed skins, feces, and urine serve as indoor allergens.
The German and brown-banded cockroach are the only two roach species in the US that dwell naturally within indoor environments. Due to their preference for humid conditions and temperatures ranging from 85 to 95 degrees, German cockroaches commonly establish infestations in hidden areas within kitchens and bathrooms. These areas include behind and beneath dishwashers, beneath sinks, beneath flooring and within wall voids. The much larger American cockroach species prefers moist basement environments, but they can quickly adapt to thrive in any location within a home. Unlike the German cockroach, the American cockroach prefers to remain in the natural environment unless inhospitable weather conditions force the pests to seek refuge within homes, sewers, garages and other sheltered environments.
Like most roach pest species, American cockroaches can reproduce within homes, and they often gather around shrubs and overgrown vegetation adjacent to foundations where they are likely to find their way into crawl spaces and basements. Since American cockroaches are attracted to moisture, homeowners should keep vegetation around homes minimal, as doing so will keep moisture content near foundations low. It is not uncommon for roaches to hitchhike into homes within grocery bags, cardboard boxes, and firewood, so inspecting these items for insect pests is important before bringing them indoors. Sealing cracks and crevices on the interior and exterior walls of homes will deprive cockroaches of their hiding spots as well as entry points into houses. While sealing indoor crevices, it is important to know that the ½ to ⅝ inch long German cockroach is capable of nestling into cracks as narrow as 4 to 5 mm in width.
Have you ever found an abundance of cockroaches near your home’s foundation?
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?
There are many parasitic insects in nature that affect humans, other mammals, other insects, and in some cases, all three. The most abundant group of parasitic insects on earth are parasitic wasps. In fact, wasps may be the most species-rich insects on the planet due to the massive amount of parasitic wasps that exist but have yet to be documented in detail. Parasitic wasps infect several insect species, and the manner in which these infections progress is always brutal for the insect victims. One of the most well known parasitic wasp species is the jewel wasp, which attacks and parasitizes cockroaches. Jewel wasps lay their eggs on the bodies of cockroaches. In order to prevent a cockroach from attempting to remove eggs from its body, the wasp literally stings the cockroaches’ brain. This sting to the brain causes the cockroach to become a zombie, as the scientific term for this state is “zombification.” Once a cockroach is zombified, it no longer seems concerned with the wasp eggs on its back. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae eat the zombified cockroach alive. Ever since this process was discovered, researchers assumed that cockroaches were defenseless against attacks from jewel wasps, but now researchers know that this is not the case. As it turns out, cockroaches attempt to fight off jewel wasps by using their legs to deliver kicks to their parasitic enemy.
According to professor Ken Catania, cockroaches make an effort to combat jewel wasps with a series of different fighting styles, one of which Catania calls the “en garde” position. This position has a roach extending its sensory antenna in order to make contact with an attacking wasp’s body. This allows the roach to determine where the wasp’s weak points are located so that it can aim its kicks properly. This method of combat is effective at fending off jewel wasps 63 percent of the time. Some cockroaches even follow up their kicks with bites to the wasp’s body. Sadly, younger cockroaches almost always succumb to their wasp attackers on account of their inadequate size. Researchers gathered this information by slowing down video footage of roaches fighting jewel wasps.
Do you believe that only the most aggressive cockroaches can survive potentially deadly wasp encounters based on the above described research?
International commerce and travel have facilitated the spread of many insect pest species into new regions of the world. Although cockroaches are common house pests in the United States, most species that infest homes and buildings in the country originated from other parts of the world. For example, the non-native German cockroach is the most common roach pest found within homes in the United States. Despite having originated on another continent, the German cockroach has adapted to living and breeding solely within indoor structures in the US. The Turkestan cockroach is the newest non-native roach pest found in urban and residential regions of the US, and they have become well established in the southwest. These cockroaches are native to the middle east, but they were spotted for the first time in the US back in 1978 in California. One year later, a second Turkestan cockroach sighting occurred at Ft. Bliss in El Paso.
The cockroaches at Ft. Bliss had established an infestation within a housing unit. Several more Turkestan cockroach infestations were documented at other military bases during subsequent years, leading experts to believe that the roach species arrived in the US after hitching a ride on military equipment returning to the country from the middle east. Today, Turkestan cockroaches are abundant in urban and suburban regions of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Researchers claim that up to 75 percent of all peridomestic roach species found within structures in the southwest are Turkestan cockroaches, making them more abundant within structures than the Oriental cockroach species. Turkestan cockroaches are well adapted to arid desert environments, which explains the speed with which these roaches gained a foothold over Oriental roaches in the southwest. Turkestan cockroach infestations see a greater number of individual roaches within structures than Oriental roach infestations. The Turkestan cockroach is quickly surpassing the oriental cockroach as the most abundant roach pest around homes and buildings in Texas.
Have you ever found food that was infested with cockroaches?
Cockroaches are among the hardiest of all insect species, and they did not even exist in North America until 1625 when they were brought to the continent from their native Africa. However, the introduction of different cockroach species into North America has been occurring ever since then. In just the past decade, several new cockroach species have arrived in the United States from foreign regions. For example, the Periplaneta japonica species that is native to Japan was recently spotted in New York City for the first time ever. This species of cockroach is notable for being able to withstand relatively cold temperatures. The first ever finding of a Turkestan cockroach was recently documented in the southwest US. Now researchers believe that the Turkestan cockroach may also have invaded New York City. The rapid introduction of new cockroach species into the US can make it hard for experts to stay on top of the roach species that have come to call America home.
Of the 4,500 cockroach species that have been documented, only 30 are categorized as pests. Of these 30 cockroach pests, four are particularly problematic within American homes. These four cockroach species are the German, American, Australian and Oriental cockroaches. While the German cockroach is the most abundant cockroach species in America, it is the American cockroach that people hate finding within their homes, as these cockroaches are large in size and fast on the ground. Australian cockroaches look similar to American cockroaches, but the Australian cockroach is smaller is size. The Australian cockroach is often reported as flying into people’s faces and hanging from ceilings. However, the oriental cockroach is considered the most significant from a public health perspective, as these cockroaches dwell within sewer systems where they collect numerous disease-causing pathogens on their body.
Have you ever witnessed a cockroach emerging from a sewer?
Cockroaches: Why They Are So Hard to Control on Your Own
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:
One of the only things that unite almost every single person on this planet is our deep hatred of cockroaches. Have you ever met someone that doesn’t despise cockroaches? The correct answer to that question is no because they are the bane of our existence; they’re impossible to kill, disgusting-looking, disease-ridden, and essentially the metaphorical super villain to all of our superheroes. They exist only to make our lives worse. Our level of hatred for cockroaches is so great that we will do almost anything to get rid of them. While many people stick to using a good old shoe to crush the critters, others out there have much more creative and extreme methods of killing roaches.
We all know the tried and true method of smashing cockroaches to smithereens with a big shoe, but this method is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to getting rid of cockroaches. Another somewhat common method is to use a Bissell vacuum cleaner to suck them up. One recommended method is to fill a giant trash bag with heavy magazines such as National Geographic, find a safe place off the ground to climb on, and drop it on the little suckers like an anvil being dropped on someone in an old-timey cartoon. These are all good ways to deal with the brown, lightning-fast creatures from Hell, but there are other methods used by people that take things a step or ten farther.
Andrew Couts, Gizmodo’s managing editor, was forced to take a more creative approach to killing the cockroaches in his home after traps, sprays, and bug bombs just couldn’t do the trick. He purchased six house geckos online and set them free in his apartment in the hopes that they would eat the cockroaches. He never did see the geckos again after freeing them, but he also didn’t see any more cockroaches. Some people take this even farther, releasing banana spiders in their homes to eat the cockroaches. Of course, getting rid of cockroaches by introducing another creepy-crawly such as a banana spider might not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially if they are terrified of spiders.
What are the most interesting methods of getting rid of cockroaches that you’ve heard of?