If you’ve never dealt with an actual roach problem in the real world, it’s easy to dismiss them as being nothing more than an annoyance. This is especially true if you live where there aren’t any bugs or other critters that might be considered pests.
But for some people—especially those who have pets or small children—a cockroach infestation can quickly become overwhelming and even dangerous.
This article will go over what exactly a cockroach is, explain why they’re such a nuisance, and how they get into your home.
What Is a Cockroach?
The most common type of cockroach found throughout the world, except in Antarctica, is called Periplaneta Americana. These insects grow up to about 1/8th inch long, which makes them one of the smaller versions of the roach.
Roaches are nocturnal animals, meaning they like to hide during daylight hours and then emerge after dark to hunt for food. When not feeding, these guys tend to stay out of sight unless necessary.
One way they do this is by burrowing into cracks and crevices within walls, floors, under furniture, etc., using special glands located near their antennae. If you happen to spot a roach during the day, chances are it’s a dead one who didn’t make it back to the next overnight.
Some roaches emit formic acid, which is a chemical that ants use as a defense and in a battle against other ant colonies. If the roach is threatened, this chemical is released and transmitted to another insect when an attempt to sting is made.
This is enough to help the roach avoid the attack and can sometimes be fatal to the attacking predator.
What types of roaches thrive in the United States?
Types of Cockroaches in North America
There are several distinct types of roaches commonly found in the United States.
This is probably THE most common roach found in the United States. Full-grown adults can measure up to 13mm in length. They live for up to 12 months and produce more eggs than any other roach species.
The American cockroach grows up to a whopping 53 mm and is reddish in color. Both the males and females can fly, and these guys can live for up to two years.
These are closer to the average size, normally growing to about 13mm. The males are capable of flight, but both sexes can jump incredibly great lengths. They only live an average of three to 11 months.
This roach is a darker red, almost crimson color. They’re much larger than the average, growing up to 32mm in length. Neither male nor female can achieve flight, and they have a lifespan of about six months.
8 Ways Roaches Can Enter Your Home
These are some of the primary ways roaches can potentially enter your home.
Anytime moisture builds up beneath the foundation of your home, you need to call a licensed pest control company immediately. Basement leaks can allow rainwater, condensation, sewage, septic tank effluent, and sewer gases to accumulate below ground level. Moisture trapped under doors, floorboards, and corners leads to mildew growth that attracts roaches.
Cracks and Crevices
Even minor holes, gaps, and spaces left unattended can lead to severe infestations. Most cracks occur due to settling, weathering, shrinking, expanding, loosening, cracking, crumbling, or even missing mortar joints. Make sure to inspect all potential entry points to ensure your house remains free of creepy crawlers.
Dust particles shed off of exterior paints can easily wind up lodged deep within your walls’ crack systems. Once disturbed, these bits of debris provide ample nourishment for cockroaches. To minimize infestation risk, try sealing exposed wall surfaces with waterproof polymers. Or, if possible, remove loose paint chips from interior walls altogether.
It’s possible for your pets to bring roaches into the house. If one of these animals catches a ride-in on your pet or lays eggs on one of your animals, they’ll bring the infestation directly into your home. Inspect your pet thoroughly if you keep them outside for extended periods.
It’s also possible for roaches to be transferred into your home by taking in items that were in a home that had an infestation problem. This is especially true if the item has a lot of crevices for roaches to hide or lay eggs in. Things like couches, chairs, and larger pieces of furniture can be the culprit if you’ve noticed an infestation.
Garbage disposals, recycling bins, trash compactors, diaper pails, wastebaskets, kitchen compost containers, and laundry baskets harbor loads of food crumbs; wet wipes, spilled liquids, dirty dishes, greasy pans, leftover pizza, and discarded napkins… all of these items attract cockroaches and encourage further contamination. If you want to avoid this, don’t leave these items outside overnight without washing them before you bring them back into your home, and don’t leave sinks or counters full of dishes with crumbs or residue.
Roaches can also enter through children’s toys. If your child leaves any of their toys outside for an extended period, you should inspect them thoroughly and spray them off before allowing them to enter the home again. As a general rule, you should designate certain items for outdoor use that don’t come back into the home. This will prevent these types of problems from happening.
Roaches can also enter if you have cracks and crevices around your attic, which most people do. Try to keep the insulation in your attic area nice and tight, and seal up any holes or cracks you might find along the walls.
If you notice roaches in your home, it’s critical that you handle the problem right away. The chances are high that if you do notice one, it’s already too late.
These bugs can be tough to kill and are incredibly resilient. It’s usually the best course of action to go ahead and contact a professional as soon as you identify the presence of roaches. Usually, when there is one, there are many, and it’s best to handle the problem right the first time around.
Click here to read our past blog, Who Is Responsible for Pest Control?