The Many Strange Indoor Behaviors Demonstrated By The Brown-Banded Cockroach Can Make Them Easy To Identify And Find Within Infested Homes

Cockroaches in the northern US live a hard life compared to their southern counterparts. In the north, cockroaches have to struggle every fall to secure an overwintering harborage that is adequately insulated from the cold. While cockroaches are physiologically capable of surviving temperatures at and near the freezing point, cockroaches die when exposed to temperatures at or below 15 degrees. Because of this, even many of the cockroaches that successfully secure a well insulated overwintering harborage die during extremely cold northern winters. Since cockroaches are tropical organisms, they are not well cut out for living year round in temperate regions, but many species thrive in subtropical Louisiana where they remain active within and around homes all winter.

The most commonly controlled cockroach pest in the US, the German cockroach (Blattella germanica), thrives in nearly all populated regions of the world because they live exclusively indoors. The only other cockroach species in the US that dwells solely indoors is the more obscure brown-banded cockroach pest (Supella longipalpa). This species is a common pest throughout Louisiana, and their indoor behaviors are truly unique among roach pest species. The brown-banded cockroach is one of the four primary cockroach pest species that can be found in all states within the contiguous US, and a recent nationwide survey revealed this species was the fifth most commonly controlled cockroach pest in the US during the 2016 year.

Unlike American, German, and Oriential cockroach species that have been indoor pests in the US for centuries, the brown-banded cockroach was first discovered in the US back in 1903 when specimens were recovered from Miami. This species did not become a widespread pest until after World War Two when they likely hitchhiked on American ships returning from Europe. Unlike all other cockroach pests in the US, the brown-banded species prefers to establish indoor harborages in excessively hot conditions, and they are less dependent on moisture than other cockroach pests. These roaches often nest within electronic devices like TVs, kitchen appliances, and video game consoles where conditions are consistently hot.

While cockroach pests generally congregate in indoor areas located near food sources, brown-banded cockroaches disperse throughout structures, and they are particularly common in attics. Adults often rest and paste egg cases (ootheca) on the upper third portion of indoor walls, and they are commonly found behind framed photos and wall decor. Since brown-banded cockroaches live solely indoors, finding just one specimen within a home indicates that an infestation has been established. Adults can be recognized for being ½ inch or less in length with light brown coloring and two dark-colored horizontal bands on their back.

Have you ever found brown-banded cockroaches in your home?



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