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The Types of Cockroaches That Often Appear In Homes

Several cockroach species have been documented in Louisiana, a minority of which are pests. The most common cockroach pests in Louisiana include German, American, Oriental, brown-banded and smoky-brown cockroaches. These cockroaches are more than just a nuisance within a home, as they spread allergens and disease-causing organisms. Two species, the German and brown-banded cockroaches, dwell primarily indoors, making them particularly difficult to control. All other pest species invade homes occasionally where they often maintain a long-lasting presence. However, in a wet and humid state like Louisiana, not every cockroach/es a person sees indoors is categorized as a pest. This may come as a surprise to some people, as spotting even one roach indoors is often reason enough to assume that an infestation has occurred, and identifying the species of cockroach found indoors is not always considered necessary. That being said, there are four roach species often found in Louisiana homes that pose no health threat to humans, and are not looking to set up camp indoors. These four species are not pests, but a few of them are commonly mistaken for pest species, which may prompt unnecessary calls to pest control professionals.

According to the LSU Ag Center, the Cuban cockroach, the red-legged cockroach, the September cockroach, and multiple species of woods cockroaches are not pests despite being found indoors occasionally. Woods cockroaches can be found on trees during the nighttime hours, and they are often mistaken for German cockroaches when they appear in homes due to their dark exterior and .5 to 1 inch body length. The September cockroach is also similar in appearance to a few cockroach pest species, only the September cockroach is particularly well suited for flying and a red-colored patch can be found behind their heads. This species is abundant on lawns and leaf-litter, and they are highly mobile during the day and evening hours during the summer, sometimes bringing them into homes. The red-legged cockroach is one of the most common roach species in Louisiana, and they can be identified by their conspicuous red legs for which the species is named. The Cuban cockroach is not easily confused with roach pest species on account of its lime green exterior, but they may become a nuisance during the spring and early summer when they take flight toward porch lights.

Is it normal for you to notice multiple roach species in your home during the summer months?

Why DIY Termite Treatments Don’t Compare To Professional Termite Treatments

Annual termite control costs and structural damages exceed five billion dollars per year in the US, and a significant portion of this damage is inflicted upon structures located in Louisiana. No state in the US sees more Formosan subterranean termite damage than Louisiana, and this is largely why the state sees such a high amount of termite destruction. Although this extremely destructive species has established an invasive population in several Gulf Coast states, as well as California, the Formosan subterranean termite quickly managed to gain a foothold in New Orleans where it continues to damage structures in the city, and the rest of the state, to this day.

In addition to the Formosan subterranean termite, several other termite species damage structures in the state as well, notably the eastern subterranean termite. Due to dense termite populations that overlap in many areas of Louisiana, it is tremendously important for residents of the state to have regular termite inspections conducted on their property. Unsurprisingly, do-it-yourself termite inspections will not suffice to ensure that a home in Louisiana is free of termites, but this does not mean that residents won’t know if the insects find their way into a home.

Subterranean termites are responsible for nearly all termite infestations within homes and buildings in Louisiana, and they often construct mud tubes that are commonly spotted along the foundation of infested homes. If a homeowner should find these formations, then a pest controller should be contacted as soon as possible. Pest control professionals carry out thorough internal and external termite inspections on homes in the state, and they possess the training and equipment necessary to pinpoint infested areas of structural wood. Pest controllers often find tiny mud-dots on wall-plaster and “swarming-castles” in door frames and window sills that almost always go unnoticed by homeowners. Subterranean termites also eat into structural lumber at points where the lumber pieces connect, making infestations very difficult to notice without the proper tools. Heavily infested wood can sometimes be pinpointed when homeowners stumble upon wood that has been hollowed out. Wood that has been hollowed by termites normally comes to a homeowner’s attention after the affected wood is tapped or walked over.

Have you ever found an area of structural lumber that had sustained termite damage?

Is The Formosan Subterranean Termite The Only Non-Native Termite Species In Louisiana?

Around 50 termite species have been documented in the United States, but few of these species are categorized as pests to structures. Unsurprisingly, the most widely distributed termite species in the US is also the most destructive. This species is commonly known as the “eastern subterranean termite,” and it can be found in all states east of the Mississippi River, as well as in several states west of the Mississippi. Eastern subterranean termites are abundant in Louisiana where they used to be the most economically damaging termite species in the state until the invasive Formosan subterranean termite species took its place around 30 years ago. It is well known that Formosan subterranean termites are non-native insects in the US that likely arrived at a Texas port from ships that departed Southeast Asia immediately after World War Two. Today, Formosan termites are by far the most destructive wood-infesting insects in Louisiana where they inflict hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage each year. Residents of the state need no introduction to Formosan subterranean termites, but few residents are aware that Formosans are not the only non-native termite species that frequently infest homes in Louisiana.

Formosan subterranean termites were first discovered in the US back in the 1950s when colonies were recovered from the ground soil and within dead trees near a Houston shipping port. During the next three decades, very few homes were documented as becoming infested with Formosan termites in the country, which led experts to believe that the species had been unable to survive within a foreign environment. However, the unprecedented destruction caused by Formosan termites in New Orleans within just a few short years during the 1980s proved that these non-native insect pests had established an invasive habitat in North America for the first time. While Formosan subterranean termites are certainly destructive in Louisiana, the state is home to eight other termite species that infest homes frequently in the state. Just like Formosan termites, the non-native west Indian powderpost termite species was inadvertently transported into the US via maritime trade routes sometime before 1919. This drywood termite species can be found in the southeastern US, and they cause much destruction throughout Louisiana.

The west Indian powderpost termite, while certainly exotic, is not strictly categorized as an “invasive” species in Louisiana. Generally, in order for a non-native insect species to be considered invasive, a species has to cause some degree of ecological harm within a new and foreign habitat. For example, red-imported fire ants are invasive in the southeast US because they are not native to the region, and they displace native insect populations and destroy native plants that are essential for maintaining ecosystem balance. Formosan subterranean termites are invasive in the subtropical Gulf Coast region of the US because they cannot be eradicated from areas where colonies have already been established, and they displace native termite species, such as the eastern subterranean termite. Two other termite species in the state, midwestern subterranean termites and western drywood termites, are not technically native to Louisiana’s ecosystem, but they are native to nearby states. Since these two species do not have a negative effect on Louisiana’s natural environment, they are considered merely “non-endemic” species in Louisiana as opposed to invasive species.

Have you ever encountered a termite swarm more than once within a week?

Wood Construction In Basements Make Homes Particularly Vulnerable To Subterranean Termite Infestations

Detecting and eliminating termites within basements is often quite difficult for pest control professionals, especially in basements that contain untreated structural wood, and hollow-block walls. In older basement homes important structural wood components may be located beneath the ground surface where they can be easily accessed by subterranean termites. These important structural wood components include girders, joists and sills, and they often become decayed due to soil moisture, making these wood components even more appetizing to subterranean termites.

Hollow-concrete blocks are commonly used to build basement and foundation walls, and each block contains two or three voids that subterranean termite workers can exploit to reach structural wood. Pest control professionals cannot visually inspect voids in hollow-block walls for the presence of subterranean termite workers, and brick masonry walls are also problematic during inspections, as workers can travel through the dirt sandwiched between two brick walls.

Poured-concrete walls are common in newly constructed homes, and many people incorrectly believe that poured-concrete walls are impenetrable to subterranean termite workers. This belief stems from the fact that poured concrete walls do not contain voids or masonry cracks that provide workers with access to structural wood. However, poured-concrete walls develop cracks overtime due to settling, and workers can easily travel through these cracks. Poured-concrete walls also allow workers to travel through expansion joints, gaps around utility cables, and through dirt voids in cases where two concrete walls are adjacent to one another.

Finished basements may not be as susceptible to subterranean termite infestations as rubble and dirt floor basements, but finished basements are particularly hard to adequately inspect for termites. For example, drywall, paneling and other wall coverings prevent pest control professionals from visually inspecting foundation walls, sill plates, headers and other substructural wood components. In some cases, pest control professionals remove drop-ceiling tiles from finished basements in order to visually inspect structural wood elements in the ceiling where subterranean termite damage is likely to occur.

Have you ever had a termite inspection carried out in your basement?



How Louisiana’s Common Cockroach Species Differ In Terms Of Pest Behavior And Infestation Tactics

Louisiana is home to many cockroach pest species, nearly all of which were introduced into the state from other countries. The most common cockroach pest species that can be found in Louisiana include German, American, Brown-banded, smokybrown, Asian, Surinam and Oriental cockroaches. The state is also home to recently introduced species, including Cuban, large brown, Australian and Florida woods cockroaches. The Pennsylvania woods cockroach has been found in Louisiana numerous times, but they are not as common as the above named species. The state is also home to several rural cockroach species that can become problematic in country homes on rare occasions.

Cockroaches are considered by some experts to be the most commonly reviled and problematic indoor insect pests, as roaches spread numerous disease-causing microorganisms on human food sources and indoor surfaces. Roaches also play a significant role in the development of allergic conditions, and they can exacerbate existing allergy symptoms, especially asthma. Unfortunately, cockroaches are also one of the most difficult types of insect pests control, and control methods differ tremendously depending on the species.

American cockroaches are said to be the largest roach pests in the US, as both males and females of this species grow to be around 2 inches in length. These roaches congregate in sewers, and they tend to infest the ground and below-ground levels of homes and buildings, particularly damp and musty basements. Pest control professionals usually resort to gel or granular baits to eliminate American cockroach infestations, but unfortunately, fully grown adult cockroaches cannot always fit into bait station entrances due to their large body size.

Unlike American and Oriential roaches, smokybrown cockroaches are rarely found in sewers, and their need for high-humidity conditions limits their habitat to the southern states. Despite their need for humidity, these roaches can be found anywhere in a house, including basements, crawlspaces and even attics. Smokybrown cockroaches are also large-bodied at around an inch and a half in length, and they are usually controlled with gel or granular baits.

German cockroaches are the most common cockroach pests, and just like the brown-banded species, German roaches dwell primarily indoors. Eliminating German cockroach pests from infested homes is difficult and requires a combination of methods. For example, sticky traps must be strategically placed around a home so that pest control professionals can determine the location of their harborages. These insect pests are only attracted to pheromone-based sticky traps, and many bait stations must be strategically placed throughout a household in order to successfully eliminate infestations. Professionals also spray minimal amounts of insecticide into small cracks and crevices where the roaches are known to hide.

Have you ever attempted to eliminate a cockroach infestation on your own and without professional assistance?

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