American Cockroaches

American Cockroach Scientific Name: Periplaneta americana

American Cockroach Facts

These flying scavengers are an aggressive cockroach that can grow to an incredible four inches long. The American cockroach is one of the most common household pests and is also known as a flying water bug or palmetto bug. They have shown an attraction to beer and bright neon lights. They may also be found passed out under street lamps when they are no longer able to fly towards the light.

In the home, you are likely to come across an American cockroach by ponds, swimming pools, trees and bushes, where ample conditions are present. They are usually found near sewer systems or outside drains and may come into the home during cooler weather to seek out shelter and food. Unlike other cockroaches, the American cockroach has the ability to fly and prefer to huddle together in one location for warmth.

American Cockroach Identification

The American cockroach is the only roach which is able to fly. They have a relative wing span to their size and may grow upwards of four inches long, though they are typically only half that size. They are a reddish-brown color and are darker than many other roaches and are a communal breed that huddles together for warmth. The American cockroach prefers warm, humid conditions and is found especially prevalent in wet or dank conditions, such as plumbing, sewers and other dirty, dismal places.

An American cockroach has six legs, a set of antennas and wings. Males are usually half an inch longer than females, and may also be more easily disgruntled or displaced by interruptions. They typically live for up to two years, and may be misidentified as a palmetto bug; which is similar in shape and color but much smaller and rounder.

American Cockroach Habitat

The American cockroach is predominantly an outdoor creature. They prefer humid, warm climates and as such may be more common in the southern states of America, Mexico and other temperate climate countries. They enjoy water, which is where many of their food sources thrive, such as tadpoles, crustaceans, other insects or even fish. They can also swim, but are unable to hold their breath underwater and return to the surface for air.

They prefer temperatures of 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, but a change of up to 15 degrees in either direction can actually kill it. American cockroach are active at night, when they hunt and have a general dislike for light, bright conditions. As such, they are found in many basements, gardens or in areas of shade which are warm and wet. They will travel through your house using drain systems and plumbing.

In excessively warm climates or where there is a change in the weather, the American cockroach is more likely to come inside the home. They are also omnivorous scavengers by nature, which means these pests will eat anything and everything they possibly can. American roaches will eat both human food and other materials such as plants, insects, clothing and cosmetics or glue and wallpaper paste. They prefer anything which is dead, decaying or otherwise decomposing.

American Cockroach Life Cycle

The American cockroach has a unique mating ritual, which the female initiates by spreading her wings for the male. This spreads her genitals and helps excrete a pheromone over a larger distance, signaling to the male that she is fertile. This is known as the calling stance, and may attract more than one male at any time. An interested male will return his interest by replicating this stance, and spreading his own wings to show his size. This also facilitates the spreading of his genitals, and allows for sperm to be deposited.

Female American cockroaches lay an egg capsule, or ootheca, which can carry up to sixteen eggs; common of most roaches. However, she only carries this capsule inside herself for one or two days before laying, which is a considerably short time in this species, as most cockroaches may hold their eggs for up to a month or more.

After approximately thirty eight days, the eggs hatch into larvae, which is the second of three life cycles. These larvae undergo instars, which are periods of molting, in order to accommodate rapid growth. Once they reach sexual maturity, they do not molt. They will then typically live for a further year and a half, or a total of two years from conception.

American Cockroaches and Humans

The American cockroach has been around long before the existence of man but have always been considered a pest when found in domestic dwellings. These creatures are often unpleasant, and due to their desired habitat, the American cockroach can carry many disease. These forms of disease may contaminate living areas and cause undesirable and unpleasant consequences for victims, such as sickness and diarrhea.

American cockroach are very difficult to catch, as they can run up to three kilometers per hour, approximately 50 of its body lengths per second at full speed. They can also fly and swim, and may become a nuisance to homeowners where they continually come into contact with these unexpected insects on evenings or at night.

American Cockroach Control

You can often detect roaches’ existence in your home from the smell or fecal matters which is known as “frass.” Caulking and screening may prevent American cockroaches from entering your home. Good, clean living accommodations also deter these pests. You should also monitor humidly levels and carry out any maintenance which may lead to open water or damaged wood which can lure the American cockroach into your home.

Electric zappers: Are a green method, in which the American cockroach fly towards the light and are zapped by electricity. This is also a useful preventative method for other flying pests.

Insecticides: Which are specifically cultivated for use on cockroaches are the most beneficial. They come with an assortment of application methods, such as spraying, powders, or gel treatments. It is important to follow the directions on the label as each application is only effective when treatment is carried out correctly. It is also noted that chemicals can be dangerous to humans and pets, and caution should be excised.

Bait stations: Work by luring and trapping cockroaches in their traps. They can be effective for American cockroach which are scavengers and aggressive in there hunting methods. Stations should be monitored and cleaned out regularly. Use of a chemical placed inside the bate to kill the roach is recommended. These should be placed away from humans and pets where possible.

If you are unable to manage your infestation, a professional pest control agencies may be able to offer industrial applications or extermination. In most cases, cockroaches require ongoing treatments to manage and prevent recurrence or infestation.

American Cockroach Entomology

The American cockroach, or Periplaneta americana, may be commonly misidentified as a palmetto bug. They are also known as water bugs and are often considered a pest when they enter the home.

They belong largely to the animaila kingdom, under the arthropoda phylum. They are classed as insect, or insect, and fall under the family of Blattaria. The belong to the Blattidea family as such, which are apart of the periplaneta genus. They are significant to the P. american species.