There are over 4000 species of cockroaches worldwide, only a few are considered to be major pests. Cockroaches are usually nocturnal, so if seen during the day may indicate a large infestation.
Cockroaches eat virtually any animal or vegetable material such as paper, fabric, leather etc.
Cockroaches like to congregate together and will mark feeding or meeting sites by pressing or wiping their faeces onto surfaces therefore spreading germs and disease at an incredible rate.
Eggs are enclosed in a hard shelled pouch which is carried or dropped and secured to a surface. When the babies or nymphs hatch, they stay with the adults
German cockroach (Blatella germanica)
Amber in colour, 12-15mm long when fully grown with two dark vertical stripes down their back. They have wings extending past their abdomen but don’t seem to be able to fly. They hide during the day and come out to feed at night.
They are prolific breeders developing from hatchlings to adults within 40 days and usually having three to four generations per year, with up to 40 offspring per generation.
German Cockroaches eat almost any organic material and can survive up to a month without food as long as water is available. They are usually found in warm, undisturbed areas of high humidity.
American cockroach (Periplaneta americana)
Are the largest common pest species of cockroach and can reach lengths of 35-40mm. Are reddish-brown in colour with a pale yellow border around the upper part of the thorax. They have wings and can fly short distances in warm weather. The male wing tips extend beyond the tip of the abdomen (the female wings are shorter). Females can produce up to 50 large egg capsules during their lifetime, with each capsule containing 12-16 eggs. The capsules are dropped or stuck to surfaces where there is a food and water available. Hatchlings develop into adults between 6-12 months and have an adult life span of 6-12 months. They like warm, moist areas preferring the coast but will live in and adapt to most regions. They are quiet during the day and come out to feed at night.
Australian cockroach (Periplaneta australasiae)
Are darkish-brown cockroaches about 35mm in length with yellow markings on the upper part of the thorax and on the fore margins of the fore wings. Females produce up to 20 egg cases each containing up to 24 eggs. Hatchlings take 6-12months to develop into adults and live for 4-8 months.
They are mostly found in warm sub-tropical to tropical regions living outdoors in wood piles, leaf litter, garden sheds etc. They will sometimes move indoors and will inhabit subfloor, wall and roof voids. They prefer organic plant foods and will even eat clothing and paper.
You can limit cockroaches in your home by taking a few simple precautions, - keep all foods covered and stored – remove unnecessary water containers - fix leaking taps and pipes – keep bin emptied and tightly closed – seal cracks and crevices where possible – store wood piles away from your home
Did you know?
• A cockroach can live for a week without its head. Due to their open circulatory system and the fact that they breathe through little holes in each of their body segments, they are not dependent on the mouth or head to breathe. The roach only dies because without a mouth, it can’t drink water and dies of thirst
• A cockroach can hold its breath for 40 minutes and can even survive being submerged under water for half an hour. They hold their breath often to help regulate their loss of water.
• Cockroaches can run up to 3mph
• The world’s largest roach (which lives in South America) is 15cm long with a 30cm wingspan.
• Because they are cold blooded, cockroaches can live without food for up to 1 month, but will only survive a week without water.