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Archive for the ‘Roaches’ Category

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?



The Most Cockroach Infested City

The United States is home to at least 70 native and non-native cockroach species, at least a dozen of which are known pests of homes and buildings. In the US, both pest and non-pest cockroaches are most prevalent and species-diverse in the southern states, particularly in the southeast where mild winters, frequent rainfall, and excessive humidity provide cockroaches with an ideal habitat. Four cockroach pest species can be found in all 48 states of the contiguous US. These species are commonly known as American cockroaches (Periplaneta americana), German cockroaches (Blattella germanica), Oriental cockroaches (Blatta orientalis), and brown-banded cockroaches (Supella longipalpa). The German cockroach is the most commonly controlled roach pest within homes throughout the country, and along with the brown-banded cockroach, the German cockroach is one of the few insect pest species that dwells solely indoors. In addition to the four above mentioned cockroach pest species, smokybrown cockroaches and Australian cockroaches are very common indoor pests in southern Louisiana.

A few years ago, the American Housing Survey revealed New Orleans to be the most cockroach-infested city in the nation. This put the Big Easy ahead of other cities that are notorious for having healthy roach pest populations including Houston, Atlanta and Miami. While visiting northern areas where cockroaches are less problematic, Louisiana residents are often asked about the cockroach situation in their state. Northerners are always surprised to hear how frequently Louisiana residents witness cockroaches flying. One New Orleans resident, Ann Butcher, described an incident in which she screamed in response to finding a cluster of roaches in her kitchen. For the brief moment she opened her mouth to scream, one of the roaches literally flew into her mouth. Since then, Butcher has learned to scream with her mouth closed upon finding creepy-crawlies in her home.

With the exception of the German cockroach, the large sized American and smokybrown cockroach species are the two most frequently encountered roach pests both indoors and outdoors in Louisiana. American and smokybrown cockroaches both fly in response to high-moisture conditions, and the latter frequently flies toward porches, patios, and into homes due to their attraction to white light. American cockroaches are particularly filthy due to their commonality in sewer systems, and adults of this species range from 1 ¼ to a bit more than 2 inches in body length, making them slightly larger than smokybrown cockroaches.

Have you ever witnessed a cockroach fly into your home?

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