Of the 3,500 cockroach species on earth, only a few types are commonly found in Pennsylvania homes: Blattella germanica, Periplaneta americana, and Blatta orientalis. But that’s more than enough to create a problem. Cockroaches of all species carry pathogens that can cause diseases like food poisoning.
Most cockroaches prefer damp, dark, and undisturbed areas, which is why they’re often found in garages, attics, crawl spaces, and drains. When winter weather reaches its coldest temperature, some cockroaches become dormant and enter a state of diapause, not unlike the way bears enter hibernation.
What do cockroaches look like?
According to Pennsylvania State University, Periplaneta americana roaches are reddish brown with long antennae and egg-shaped bodies. They like to live in bathrooms, pantries, kitchens, and anywhere food can be found. These nocturnal pests often enter buildings through sewers and drains and spend their days hiding in cracks near food.
Blattella germanica, the most common home invaders of the cockroach world, are tan or light brown. They’re often incorrectly referred to as German cockroaches. Every Blattella germanica has two dark stripes running from the wings to the head. Like Periplaneta americana, they can be found near their food source. They often enter the home by catching a ride in purses, suitcases, and cardboard boxes.
Dark brown Blatta orientalis cockroaches have dark brown and oily bodies. They favor living at or below ground level. Unlike other cockroaches, they rarely crawl up walls or live in cupboards or cabinets but similarly to other cockroaches, they live on decaying organic matter.
What health concerns can cockroaches pose?
No matter the species, cockroaches can be a health hazard. They carry 33 kinds of bacteria, including E.coli and staphylococcus. If cockroaches enter a kitchen, according to the Illinois Department of Health, they can spread Salmonella, the pathogen that causes food poisoning, to food, dishes, and utensils. They even carry six species of parasitic worms.
The dead skin, salvia, and droppings of cockroaches can trigger asthma attacks, especially in young children. This problem can become more severe if cockroaches invade one of their favorite spaces, HVAC systems.
How can I prevent an infestation?
Thankfully there are things home and business owners can do to prevent cockroaches from coming to your property and stopping an infestation before it happens.
- Patch leaky pipes ASAP. Cockroaches don’t require a lot of food to survive, but they do need a lot of water.
- On a similar note, make sure outdoor objects, such as tree holes and tire swings, aren’t collecting water.
- Dispose of any unnecessary cardboard boxes. Corrugated cardboard is a favorite hiding spot for cockroaches.
- Don’t let food linger on the counter. Reseal all food in tightly sealed containers as soon as you can.
- Check for gaps between doors and door frames. Weather stripping can close any gaps you might find.
What are some signs cockroaches have already made it in my home?
- Bad smells: Cockroaches produce powerful, musty odors. These orders can linger in the air and even change the way food tastes.
- Egg cases: Cases from roach eggs are known as Ootheca. They’re long, brown casings that hold several eggs. You’ll often see them in narrow spaces, such as cracks in walls and pantries.
- Roach feces: If your home is infested, you’ll often find droppings in cupboards, cabinets, and sinks and behind refrigerators and ovens. Droppings can look like anything from coffee grounds or flecks of pepper to brown stains or oval pellets.
If you’ve discovered your home has become a roach motel, don’t despair. A trained professional can help you get rid of these pests for good. Give Seitz Bros a call today.