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Cockroach - American Cockroach

It's fitting that in America, where we super-size everything from our fries to our SUVs, that our insects have caught on!  American cockroaches are the largest of the common roaches.  However, we cannot take credit for our oversized bugs. Despite the name, American cockroaches are actually indigenous to Africa, and where transported to America on trade ships centuries ago.

It takes several steps to get an American cockroach infestation under control, as explained in this article. Once you have made some corrections to plumbing and cleaning, you are going to need some pesticide baits that will attract these giants. I recommend the Maxforce FC Gel baits and the Advion Roach Bait Arenas, which are the only bait stations large enough to accomodate large roaches. I also like Maxforce Complete Granular Bait for treating along exterior foundation walls. Read the label and follow the instructions exactly.

The American cockroach may have only recently been introduced to North America but they have been around for far longer.  Fossil records indicate that cockroaches have been around for over 300 million years.  They are successful little pests, you have to give them that.  Their ability to survive over such a long span of time is attributed to their amazing ability to adapt to their environment.  Good for them. Not so good for us.

There are numerous reasons for people not to be fond of these abundant arthropods. They're ugly, they smell, they eat your food without asking.  However, the most annoying, or more precisely, hazardous quality of American cockroaches is that they spread numerous kinds of pathogens harmful to humans.  Some studies indicate that American cockroaches can spread up to 33 different kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms, and at least seven other kinds of pathogens.  The highway for these pathogens lies on the cockroach's legs, which contain spines that have a knack for picking up all sorts of disgusting material as they crawl through their nasty habitats.  Many of the sickening gifts that they spread through their travels can cause food poisoning, diarrhea and dysentery.  Furthermore, American cockroaches produce allergens in their fecal matter and can cause allergic dermatitis and childhood asthma.

Cockroaches are gross. Thanks for the breaking news. So,  how do we deal with them?  Chance favors the prepared mind. First, let's assess what we are up against.  The American cockroach is large, about 1-1/2 to 2 inches long, and is glossy, reddish-brown with yellow outlining on the head and markings on the abdomen. Stylish indeed!  It has a pair of cerci on the end of its abdomen, which are appendages  used to detect air currents.  Males and females are comparable in size with the exception of their wings, being slightly longer in females.  Yes, these little buggers can fly when necessary, but usually prefer to run when startled, and  run quickly, at that. 

Okay, so now we know what to look for. Next step is to know where to look.  Like most vile creatures that come out in the night American cockroaches like to find nice damp, dark, warm places to call home.  City dumps, sewers, basements, steam tunnels of restaurants, boiler rooms. You know, cozy places where they can feast on decaying organic matter.  While they prefer damp spots, they can also live in dry areas.  In fact, adults can live up to 2-3 months without food and a month without water.  And you thought they were cool because they could survive a nuclear holocaust.

American cockroaches have a relatively long life span when considering arthropods.  They have been known to live up to 15 months, during which time females can produce an average of 60 ¼-inch long egg capsules containing an average of fourteen eggs each.  That's an average of 840 eggs per female, per lifetime.  That's a lot of cockroaches meandering over food and countertops contaminating everything they touch.  Oh, and did I mention they smell? Well, it's worth a second mention,  In fact, an experienced pest control professionals can usually tell whether a place is infested without even seeing one of these nasty critters.

If you happen to notice an American cockroach in your house, you can bet there are a lot  more where he came from. But, fear not. There are ways to get rid of  cockroaches and they're not as painful as you might think.  First, be a clean person with a well-kept household.  Sanitation is about the best prevention method out there.  Don't leave food out, standing water, damp towels, moist, decaying stuff will attract them, (and probably a few other things as well).  Limiting a cockroach's incentives will do wonders for keeping your home from becoming their home.  American cockroaches, like most insects, can fit into tiny cracks and crevices. It is important to seal crevices to take away insect hiding places.    In uninhabited homes or commercial buildings, frequently flushing the toilet will stop them from invading via plumbing traps.  Weather proofing your windows and doors is not a bad idea either.

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