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Archive for the ‘Roaches’ Category

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?

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?

How Often Do People Contract Disease From Roaches Within Homes And Buildings?

According to the American Housing Survey, cockroach infestations and other issues with roach pests are more common in New Orleans than in any other city in the country. Considering that cockroaches are heavily dependent on moisture and heat in order to thrive, it should not be surprising to learn that New Orleans is a hotbed for cockroach pests. Not only is New Orleans surrounded by water, but the city’s crumbling and outdated sewer system is easily accessed by American cockroaches. Sewers provide American cockroaches with an ideal habitat where an inexhaustible amount of organic waste keeps the pests and their offspring well satiated. American cockroaches also favor the darkness, rich social life, and year round warmth in sewer systems.

While sewer systems in all big cities in the US support a massive population of American cockroaches, the deteriorating sewer infrastructure in New Orleans makes it easy for sewer-dwelling roaches to travel with ease into homes and buildings through pipes. Oriental and Australian cockroaches are also known for inhabiting sewers and emerging from indoor drains, though they are not as prevalent in sewers as American cockroaches. Many cities throughout the country have enacted cockroach abatement programs in sewers, and the private pest control industry is moving toward training pest control professionals to recognize instances in which indoor cockroach infestations are associated with defective plumbing and local sewer conditions.

Cockroaches inhabit the filthiest conditions where they feed on virtually all forms of organic waste including excrement, rotting plant litter, rotting food, dead skin, and rotting animal carcasses. This is why the four primary cockroach pest species in the US are each known to carry dozens of disease-causing microorganisms that they may spread to human foods. These four cockroach pest species include American, German, Oriental and brown-banded cockroaches, and each one has been deemed a public health threat by the FDA due to their preference for living among humans where they can spread food-borne pathogens. However, according to Dr. Joseph Kunkel at the University of Massachusetts, cockroach pests are not major disease vectors because they do not carry and spread nearly as many pathogens within homes as humans themselves do. The Dr. goes on to say that it is much more likely for a human to contract a disease from another human than from a cockroach pest. That being said, the disease threat posed by cockroach pests becomes more important in small dwellings like dorms, studio apartments, hospital rooms, and military barracks.

Have you ever detected an odor of cockroaches?

How To Recognize Male And Female Turkestan Cockroaches, And Why These Cockroach Pests Are Truly Unique

Cockroaches are among the most ancient and successful organisms that have ever existed, and several species have adapted to survive within a variety of habitats all over the world. In fact, all cockroach species in the United States that are regarded as major indoor pests are non-native species that originated from tropical regions around the world, most notably Africa and East Asia. Technically, any established non-native species that demonstrate pest behaviors could be called an “invasive species, though the terms usage differs from source to source.

The domestic (indoor dwelling) German cockroach and the peridomestic (indoor and outdoor dwelling) American cockroach species were the first roach pests to arrive in North America. Like many other non-native arthropod pests, the German and American cockroaches arrived in the New World by means of colonial era ships. Several non-native cockroach species that are now recognized as significant pests of American homes are relatively recent arrivals in the country. Some of these newer roach pest species include Australian, Asian, Surinam, and Turkestan cockroaches. Turkestan cockroaches are unique in their invasiveness, and they are the only roach pests in the country that became established partly due to the online selling and purchasing of exotic insect species.

The Turkestan cockroach (Blatta lateralis) is native to a region spanning north Africa to central Asia, and it is believed that this species first arrived in the US during the 1970s and 1980s by hitching a ride on a US military ship returning to the country from the Middle East. While all cockroach pests are notable for spreading rapidly and proliferating at tremendously rapid rates, the Turkestan cockroach has surprised even experts by the speed with which the species has established itself as one of the most common indoor roach pests in the southern states. In fact, the Turkestan cockroach is displacing the Oriental cockroach in the southwest region of its invasive habitat range, and the pest has become prevalent throughout Louisiana.

The Turkestan cockroach’s unusually rapid spread has been helped by the online sale of these roaches as live food for pet reptiles, which explains why specimens have repeatedly appeared in New York and other northern regions where the species cannot survive. The Turkestan cockroach male can be recognized for its brownish yellow body that measures ½ inch to 7/8 inch in length. Females appear strikingly different due to their skinnier light brown to reddish colored body, which is around the same length as that of the males.

Have you ever encountered Turkestan cockroaches in your home?

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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