Asking where do cockroaches live is an interesting question because, chances are, if you are searching for information on this question on the internet, you already have the answer: IN YOUR HOUSE!
Cockroaches are opportunistic pests that are skilled when it comes to survival. These sneaky and disgusting pests are also very adaptable and can find a way to make it in nearly any type of environment. It’s not a joke when it is said that cockroaches would probably be the only creatures left if a radioactive explosion killed all living things on the earth.
Long before civilization and human dwellings, cockroaches lived out in the wilderness. In fact, of the nearly 5,000 species of cockroach discovered in the world, about 99.5% of cockroaches still prefer to live out in the wild away from us. While that may feel like a relief to know that an overwhelming majority of cockroaches leave us alone, that other .5% is still quite a significant problem.
Where Non-Domesticated Cockroaches Live
It may not feel like it, but the surprising thing is that the majority of cockroach species, prefer to live away from us and fare just fine without depending on our homes and kitchens for shelter and food. For instance, the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, known as one of the largest species of cockroach in the world, prefers to live in forests and jungles on the Island of Madagascar.
Other cockroaches that prefer to live outdoors are commonly found living in brush and bushes, in fallen logs, inside of trees, in mulch, around moist areas like swamps. These cockroaches get plenty of water since they prefer living in moist conditions and get their nourishment from plants, smaller insects and other organic matter that they can come across since they are not picky eaters.
The Domesticated Cockroaches
Now let’s move onto the small number of cockroaches that actually prefer homes. There are about 25 to 30 species of cockroaches that are regarded as nuisance pests to humans and an even smaller number of them have actually adapted to the point where they entirely depend on humans and where we live for their survival.
As human civilization developed and man started to build structures to sleep, live and store food. These cockroaches took notice and began to frequent our homes and soon realized that they could get all the comforts of life by just sticking close to us.
The two species of cockroaches that are the most problematic to humans are the American Cockroach and the German Cockroach.
The American Cockroach
American Cockroaches are the largest cockroach that are encountered in man-made structures, growing up to a length of 1.5 inches long or more. The American Cockroach is more common in the Southern portion of the US where it is warmer and more humid over the cooler Northern states.
Despite its name, the American cockroach is native to Africa and was introduced to this side of the world in the 17th century. Female American cockroaches have the ability to produce 150 eggs over a period of 10 months and will place they egg sac–which is in a hard shell–nearby a food source. The egg shell eventually hatches and small nymph cockroaches begin their journey of actively searching for food.
While it is regarded as a domesticated roach, the American Cockroach does prefer to live outdoors more than indoors and can be commonly found around sewer systems where it is wet and warm. They are also known to stay close to dumpsters and anywhere outside where garbage is thrown away (landfills, the city dump etc.) but can also we found around trees and piles of wood.
When there are periods of heavy rainfall, American cockroaches are known to migrate in large numbers into buildings for shelter like grocery stores, hotels, restaurants and apartment buildings. These cockroaches often access homes via drains since they like to use them as traveling tunnels during their hunt for food.
When indoors, American cockroaches will eat whatever they can get their mitts on but prefer decaying matter. They will also readily eat bread and fruit. They even enjoy eating non-food items like paper, clothing, hair and footwear.
Due to their affinity for hanging around sewers and other filthy areas, the American Cockroach is notorious for spreading disease-causing organisms like viruses, bacteria, and parasitic worms.
The German Cockroach
An even bigger problem than the American Cockroach is the smaller-sized German Cockroach. The German cockroach average about half an inch in length and are totally dependent on humans for their survival.
German cockroaches stay hidden during the day to avoid being spotted by us and killed and become active at night when we go to sleep. Most of the time, German cockroaches create large groups in kitchen areas where they stay close to food and water. Common places where they hide are in cracks and crevices in cabinets and wall voids as well as behind the stove, under microwaves, and fridges.
German Cockroaches are notoriously for their constant breeding habits. A small number of German cockroaches in a home or building can very quickly multiply into an infestation of thousands. Female German Cockoaches carry egg sacks around and drop them when the case is reading to hatch. The case can hold anywhere from 30 to 48 small eggs.
A lone female roach can produce 200 eggs in her life span and those eggs quickly develop into reproductive adults of their own. In most cases, a population of German cockroaches consists mostly of nymphs and developing baby roaches (around 80%) and only about 20% are actual adults.
German Cockroaches may be good at hiding but they leave behind clear evidence of their presence in the form of their musty smelling poop. German Cockroaches actually use their fecal matter as a form of communication with other cockroaches. Wherever they deposit their black pepper looking droppings indicates to other roaches in the population that a place is a prime area for hiding, shelter or easy access to food.
German cockroaches are not picky eaters and will gladly eat whatever they can sink their teeth into: sweets, grease, meats and cheeses and leftover crumbs or garbage. German cockroaches also love warm shelters that are dark and secluded so this means the insides of your consoles, TVs and other electronics are favorites for them to gather into.
German cockroaches indoors are not only an annoyance but they are also a health hazard. Much like American cockroaches, the German cockroach is also a transporter of disease forming pathogens and can contaminate food where they infest. Their droppings and molted skin that they shed as they grown can cause allergic reactions in people, trigger asthma symptoms and itchy skin rashes.
How To Drive Cockroaches Out of Your Home
The American and German cockroaches may find it very comfortable to stay in your home uninvited and grow their populations, but you shouldn’t have to tolerate their presence and let them have their way.
To keep American Cockroaches outdoors, it would be wise to eliminate points of entry by sealing up cracks and crevices with caulk, removing excess leaf litter around the home and keeping areas inside the home dry. You should also plug drains at the end of the night with rubber stoppers since they are known to infiltrate homes through the drain systems.
To prevent German cockroaches, it is imperative to keep your home (especially your kitchen) clean and clear of food sources as well as keeping sink areas dry before going to bed. Don’t leave dirty dishes out overnight, keep food in airtight containers, sweep up crumbs and grease under your appliances and on your counters and regularly emptying out your garbage cans can be a great help.
To directly kill American and German cockroaches that have invaded your home, your best bet is a multi-pronged cockroach control approach using an attractive bait containing a chemical such as Deltamethrin or Cypermethrin that will slowly kill cockroaches and allow the cockroaches to spread the poison to the rest of the population for significant reductions.
You should also use poisonous dusts containing Boric Acid or Diatomaceous Earth to puff into cracks and crevices where pests are hiding and other pesticides are not able to get to. And lastly, because there are mostly nymphs and eggs than adults in a cockroach population, an Insect Growth Regulator is essential as this chemical will cause adult cockroaches to become sterile and makes it so cockroach eggs do not hatch and stunt the growth of cockroach nymphs.
Do not rely on one product to do it all but use more than one approach (baits, dusts, and insect growth regulators) to be able to attack cockroach infestations at all levels of their life cycle.
Now that you know where cockroaches like to live, you can use the knowledge acquired in this article to let cockroaches know that they are not welcome in your home or building. By implementing the preventative and elimination methods we suggested, cockroaches will have to look elsewhere for a place to live.
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