Cockroaches are insects of the order Blattodea, which is derived from Latin for “an insect that shuns the light.” Like all insects, roaches have 6 legs. These legs come in pairs, and each pair is attached to a segment on the thorax. The front pair of legs are the shortest, while the hind legs are the longest. These strong back legs are the main source of propulsion and one of the reasons that cockroaches can run so fast, up to three miles per hour.
Each leg of a cockroach also has spines. These spines were once believed to help provide sensory information, but now scientists know that they actually help roaches maneuver over difficult terrain. Roaches also have claws on their legs that can help them grip smooth surfaces.
American cockroach via Insects Unlocked [CC0]
Other Cockroach Characteristics
Aside from the number of legs they have, there are other characteristics that can help you identify a cockroach. While color and size vary by species, there are some things that all roaches have in common. Roaches have a small head with a broad, flat body. They also have large compound eyes and antennae that are long and flexible. The mouth of a cockroach faces downward and to the back, with mouthparts that are built for chewing.
Four of the most common species of cockroaches in the United States that are household pests are German roaches, American roaches, Oriental roaches, and brown-banded roaches. These species range from reddish-brown to dark brown or black in color. German roaches and brown-banded roaches are small species and may only be 5 mm in length, while American and Oriental roaches can grow from 1-2 inches long.
How to Get Rid of Roaches
Once you have identified roaches in your home, it is important to get a plan in place to get rid of them. A well-rounded approach that focuses on sanitation, exclusion, and chemical treatments provides the best outcomes. Cockroaches enter homes in search of food, water, and shelter. Crumbs, garbage, mold, and excess moisture will attract them. You may need to start by cleaning up the food and clutter, and then move toward exclusion methods to keep them out.
When it comes to home pest control products that get rid of roaches, PF Harris has you covered. We carry everything from liquid insecticides to boric acid roach tablets and roach traps. PF Harris can help you start eliminating roaches today!