First word that pops in your mind after hearing word “Cockroach” is Filth and Dirt. We all hate this nasty and disease spreading creature and there is nothing strange in this. But I got something that will sounds interesting and ironic to your ears is that “if cockroach accidently touches a human, it runs to safety and cleans itself.” (They hate us too)
Cockroaches are very adaptive in nature. This ability has made them to bear the period of mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs from earth. So you can expect they can probably endure through the thermonuclear war (World War III) and they will be the last survivors on Earth. A logical evidence for this is that living cells during stages of division are more sensitive to killing radiation. On the other hand cockroaches cell divide only during their molting cycle, about once per week. They are radiation sensitive’ for only about 48 hours, or about 1/4 of the week.
Cockroaches are very flexible in the contents and timing of their meals. They can eat anything available from soap to leather. They can last more than a month without food and over a week without water. Most well known fact is that cockroach can survive a week without its head. If a cockroach loses its head and later dies as a result, it will typically surrender to dehydration because for cockroaches head is not for breathing this is only for drinking water.
These adaptations make controlling and eliminating a cockroach infestation all the more difficult.
Cockroaches are one of most common and primitive pests in many homes and buildings. These have flattened bodies, long antennae and two pairs of wings which are folded flat over back. They walk very fast but some species rarely fly. They come out at night and search for food in kitchens, food storage areas, rubbish bins, drains and sewers. People may become allergic to cockroaches because of their filthy habbits and bad smell. They are carriers of bacteria, contaminate food and cause diseases such as diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid fever and cholera. Of over 3500 identified species only a few are of great importance regarding to pest control because they have adapted to living in buildings.
The most common species are as follow:
- Light Brown to tan two dark stripes at their back
- 1 cm in size or smaller
- Scavenger, capable of feeding on any food source available.
- Meats, starches, sugars, and fatty foods
- Warmer and Humid areas
- Mostly kitchens and bathrooms. (can move to other areas if food and moisture is available)
- Appear as small, dark, pepper-like material.
- 100-200 days
- Reddish Brown
- 3cm-4cm in size
- Mostly eat scrape of food
- Warmer and Humid areas
- Mostly underground sewers and steam tunnels, drain pipes, bathrooms, kitchens, basements and laundry areas.
- Have ridges and blunt ends
- 90-706 days
- Brown with pronounced banding across their wings
- 1 cm in size
- Prefer starchy food like glue, book bindings, wallpapers, stamps etc.
- Less Humid and more Warmer areas
- Upper Kitchen cabinets, pantries, in offices and near electrical appliances (refrigerators, ovens, etc.)
- Dark brown or black specks or smears
- 130-315 days
Management and Control of Cockroaches:
Cockroaches are becoming difficult pests to control due to lack of natural predators in human areas, high re-productivity, adaptation and resistance from chemical pesticides. Like all other living beings, cockroaches also need food, shelter and water. They will inhabit the area in which the conditions for their survival are favorable. Therefore for their effective control we have to make the conditions from favorable to unfavorable for these pests. Here are some ways for it.
- Store food in containers with tight lids made of plastic, glass or metal.
- Properly remove garbage (especially from kitchen or bakery) and reduce food spillage.
- Locate exterior trash cans and dumpsters away from building entrances.
- Seal and caulk cracks, crevices sewers, tunnels and other openings that could be a entry point for cockroaches.
- Locate and seal cracks inside buildings where cockroaches can hide.
- To eliminate water access fix plumbing leaks, gutters that hold water
- Apply weather stripping and screens over doors and windows.
- Properly inspect the items being brought into the building from outside because these may be one of entrance way for cockroaches.
- Cockroaches pass through three stages in their life. Eggs, nymphs and adults. Therefore check for egg cases (oothecae) glued to undersides of furniture, in refrigerator and other appliances. Eliminate and destroy any that you find.
- Prefer baits (attractive food material with insecticide) than spray. Baits are quite effective for long term control of cockroaches. Sprays tend to scatter cockroaches, you may kill a few but most will run away and return latter.
- Gel baits can be very effective for treatment of crack and crevices. Apply gel using a bait gun or syringe in small dabs in cracks and crevices where cockroaches will find it.
- Traps (pheromone traps, sticky traps) designed for cockroaches should be placed at the sites frequented by cockroaches.
- Insecticidal dusts can be applied to the harbourage areas of cockroaches.
- Insecticidal treatment should always be done with extreme care. It will be effective when combined with sanitation and exclusion practices.
- Cockroaches are nocturnal, but if you find them roaming during day times it means infestation is high. Use HEPA vacuums to treat heavy infestations prior to treatments.
- Frequently evaluate the effectiveness of the methods that are being used for control of cockroaches.