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Why These Little-Known Cockroach Pests Are Becoming Increasingly Problematic In Louisiana

Since cockroaches are among the most commonly encountered insect pests within homes, many people likely assume that a relatively high number of roach species inhabit the US. Surprisingly, only around 70 cockroach species have been documented in the US, the majority of which remain outdoors and are not considered pests. More than 4,500 cockroach species have been documented worldwide, and most species dwell in tropical locations where the humid climate and abundant vegetation provide the insects with the nourishment they require.

Considering North America’s temperate climate, it is not surprising that a relative few roach species dwell on the continent. In fact, just about every roach pest species in the US is a non-native species that originated from a more tropical environment, mostly east Asia and Africa. While the most common and widely distributed cockroach pests in the US, like German and American roaches, first arrived in North America centuries ago, many exotic roach species are still inadvertently transported into the US today. In subtropical Louisiana many newly introduced cockroach species are thriving, and some have already become pests of homes and buildings.

While not the most recent non-native cockroach found in Louisiana, the pale bordered field cockroach was first discovered in the US in 1967 after specimens were collected from a clothing store in New Orleans. This cockroach is native to Mexico, and it is considered to be only a minor pest of homes. However, this cockroach species is attracted to artificial white lights within and on the exterior of homes, and they do not have to travel far to access the interior of homes due to their abundance in gardens and landscape mulch.

The Asian cockroach was first discovered in the US in 1986 near a shipping port in Florida, and today, these roaches can be found in the Gulf Coast states. This species is attracted to artificial white lights, and they can establish lasting reproductive infestations within homes. Another recently introduced cockroach species, the Argentine cockroach, is also attracted to artificial white lighting, and they are commonly mistaken for Asian cockroaches due to their similar appearance and pest behaviors. Switching common white light bulbs to yellow light bulbs can prevent the above mentioned roaches from invading homes.

Have you ever found green colored Cuban cockroaches within your home?

 

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