CLASS – Insecta
ORDER – Blattaria (named for blattae, the domestic pest of the ancient Greeks)
FAMILIES – Cryptocercidae, Blattidae, Polyphagidae, Blattelidae and Blaberidae
TYPE METAMORPHOSIS – Gradual/Simple Egg
Found in a capsule or ootheca (of 4 – 60 eggs).
The nymph resembles the adult in appearance but is smaller and wingless. (Think you have some albino roaches? All newly emerged cockroaches are white for several hours.)
Adult – Fertile males and females. Parthenogensis (or egg production without fertilization) does occur in American, brown, brownbanded, Florida woods, German and Oriental cockroaches, but egg capsules produced this way usually fail to hatch or produce only a few nymphs.
TYPE MOUTHPARTS – Chewing in all stages.
DISEASE ASPECTS – Cockroaches are known to be vectors of disease, especially intestinal infections, and are capable of carrying disease pathogens. Cockroaches produce secretions/fluids from various points in their bodies which have a foul (unpleasant) odor which may ruin the flavor of food and when the populations is high, impart a characteristic stench to the air in the general vicinity of the cockroach infestation. These insects are thought to be the transmitters of the causal agents (carriers of several disease-producing organisms) of gastroenteritis, food poisoning, dysentery, infectious hepatitus, leprosy, typhus, polio, boils, diarrhea, parasitic toxoplasmosis, cholera, salmonella and other illnesses. Some of the organisms which cause these diseases are carried on the legs and bodies of the cockroaches (similar to the house fly) and are deposited on food and utensils as cockroaches feed and move about. In addition, they cause gross contamination because of their annoying and disgusting habit of depositing saliva, excrement, fluids from their abdominal scent glands and a dark-colored vomit wherever they go. They often are a source of embarrassment and can cause anxiety and psychological distress in some people. Excrement and cast skins and dead roaches contain allergens and cause breathing problems, rashes, watery eyes and sneezing. Cockroaches are a leading cause of allergies – second only to House Dust mites. Vacuum and clean thoroughly with Safe Solutions Enzyme Cleaner with Peppermint.
Cockroaches are stout-bodied insects that have a soft, oval (broad) flattened shape, six long, spiny legs and long antennae, a pronotum (shield-like covering projects over their heads) and they have chewing mouthparts. Adults of most species have well-developed wings. The young nymphs resemble the adults except for the lack of wings and their smaller size. Depending on the house infesting species, roaches are light brown, reddish brown, dark brown and/or black, and some have characteristic markings; most have an unpleasant odor. Each species can be distinguished from each other by their appearance and their characteristic habits and habitats. The adults and immature forms of all roach species that are household pests are all present in established infestations. Cockroaches are normally nocturnal and will usually hide from bright light and only expose themselves to the light if they have no where left to hide, so if you see one during the day, you can be certain you have many, many more unwanted guests. Cockroaches are among the most common and adaptable of insects on earth and have been able to survive many changing environments is evidenced by the fact that approximately 4,000 species exist in the world today and about 70 species are known to live in the United States. The cockroach was here on earth before mankind and is capable of surviving mankind. They are found in caves, mines, animal burrows, orangutan, termite and ant nests and in all of our buildings. Cockroaches need moisture to survive and follow edges when migrating to and from their harborage to feeding/moisture areas. The English word “cockroach” was first used in 1624 by Captain John Smith. Repellents – Try dusting with food-grade DE or baking soda or talcum powder or Comet® or spraying with diluted Safe Solutions Enzyme Cleaner with Peppermint, eucalyptus and/or rosemary or cedarwood or catnip essential oils or fresh marigolds or cucumber peels or petroleum jelly or a fan to repel them from an area temporarily. covering projects over their heads) and they have chewing mouthparts. Adults of most species have well-developed wings. The young nymphs resemble the adults except for the lack of wings and their smaller size. Depending on the house infesting species, roaches are light brown, reddish brown, dark brown and/or black, and some have characteristic markings; most have an unpleasant odor. Each species can be distinguished from each other by their appearance and their characteristic habits and habitats. The adults and immature forms of all roach species that are household pests are all present in established infestations. Cockroaches are normally nocturnal and will usually hide from bright light and only expose themselves to the light if they have no where left to hide, so if you see one during the day, you can be certain you have many, many more unwanted guests. Cockroaches are among the most common and adaptable of insects on earth and have been able to survive many changing environments is evidenced by the fact that approximately 4,000 species exist in the world today and about 70 species are known to live in the United States. The cockroach was here on earth before mankind and is capable of surviving mankind. They are found in caves, mines, animal burrows, orangutan, termite and ant nests and in all of our buildings. Cockroaches need moisture to survive and follow edges when migrating to and from their harborage to feeding/moisture areas. The English word “cockroach” was first used in 1624 by Captain John Smith.
Repellents – Try dusting with food-grade DE or baking soda or talcum powder or Comet® or spraying with diluted Safe Solutions Enzyme Cleaner with Peppermint, eucalyptus and/or rosemary or cedarwood or catnip essential oils or fresh marigolds or cucumber peels or petroleum jelly or a fan to repel them from an area temporarily.
Overcoming Common Cockroach Control Problems
Because the cockroach continues to reappear no matter how many times it has been professionally eliminated from a structure, the pest control industry considers these ancient creatures its bread and butter, so much so that the majority of the pest control industry’s income revolves around your need for continual cockroach control using their ineffective volatile poisons! Historically, over 15 billion dollars are spent each year (in the vain attempt) just to poison cockroaches. Obviously, this type of control has not worked – we still have the same amount of roaches and the volatile poisons are extremely dangerous to the human occupants and pets of the building. The only real control that can be obtained safely is to reduce the sources of food, water and the harborage points roaches need to survive. For the pest control community to actually control these pests permanently would simply destroy the poison applicators – no one wants to actually control or kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. Despite man’s constant all out war waged upon this one insect for untold generations, its chances of ever becoming extinct and/or needing to be placed on a protected or an endangered species list are considered doubtful at best. They are all born scavengers, but the American roach will even feed on bed bugs when confined with them. They can live for weeks after their head is removed until they starve to death!
More money was historically spent yearly to “control” the lowly cockroach with poisons than any other house infesting pest. Learn the habits of each cockroach so you will know how to actually control these terrible pests.
Most cockroaches are tropical or sub-tropical in origin, generally living out of doors and most are only active at night when they emerge from their hiding places to forage for food. Their preferred living area provides them with food and water and is warm and moist. Some tropical roaches only consume vegetation, and some are gaily colored. Cockroaches that inhabit houses not only eat all kinds of human food, with a particular fondness for starchy materials, sweetened or sugary substances, beer and meat, they will also eat a great variety of other materials such as grease, soap, cheese, bone, leather, dead animals, plant materials, glue, paste, cardboard, ink, shoe polish and even dirty clothes. They have even been known to chew the fingernails, hair and eyelashes off sleeping people, especially infants. The most common mistakes in using bait stations is not placing them close enough to the area where roaches live – not eliminating all nearby alternative food choices and/or not using enough bait on stations and/or using too much boric acid or active ingredient.
Basic Cockroach Control Protocol
Each cockroach has its own peculiar habits and nesting area as different from each other as deer are from beavers. When trying to capture any animal, we try to place our traps where they nest or travel. Therefore, we must learn the habits of all cockroaches, so we will know how and where to effectively control them. Cockroaches spend about 75% of their time hidden in crack and crevice harborages into which they can just squeeze. Therefore, we must first find, then vacuum, power wash or heat or steam or enzyme or dust and then caulk all cracks and crevices and patch all openings that lead into wall voids, etc. The most preferred harborages are those of the proper size that are located nearest food and water sources and are warm and have a high relative humidity. Control these conditions and you control the roaches. They are also excellent hitchhikers.
Nontoxic Pest Management Protocols
Change the conditions conducive to infestation. First eliminate clutter, especially any/all corrugated cardboard, paper and plastic grocery bags, pallets and debris which provide hiding places or shelter for roaches. Properly store food and garbage. Then install dehumidifiers and/or fans or negative ion plates, then daily inspect all incoming items for cockroaches and oothecae (egg cases). Then follow through with routine performance of proper maintenance; make sure the building is in tight physical condition to reduce entry and finally the routine and thorough caulking and patching all cracks and crevices and other openings inside especially plumbing and heating runs. Do not allow eating in any area outside of the dining room or break areas. Inspect all incoming goods.
2. Good Sanitation
Continue to eliminate clutter. Adopt cleaning standards that daily reduce the amount of available harborage, garbage, food and water. Routinely and thoroughly clean with enzyme cleaner all shelves, counters, cooking utensils, steamers, floors, fryers, ovens, mops, break areas, soft drink and/or beer dispensers, storage areas, dishwashers, stoves, mixers, refrigerators (don’t forget to remove the fiberglass insulation), drawers, sinks, drains, seals, baseboards and all cracks and crevices and then fog or mist all drop ceiling voids and tunnels with Safe Solutions, Inc. Enzyme Cleaners or Eucalyptus or Peppermint Soap and/or borax. The best way to clean is with a power washer. Then dust, use glue traps or simply vacuum all electrical boxes, motors, etc. and your roach problems will drop dramatically. Do not forget to rinse out all returned or recycled pop and beer cans with diluted enzyme cleaner before bringing them inside. There is enough sugar to feed roaches for days in these empty cans and literally thousands of recycled or returned cockroaches can be and are brought into a store each day.
3. Inspection and Routine Monitoring
A thorough nocturnal inspection of the entire building using a flushing agent, e.g., an aerosol can of air and (red or yellow covered) flashlight is the key to successful control because it determines which specie is involved and exactly where any/all the infestations/populations are and, therefore, where and what additional treatment is required. Part of any good monitoring or inspection program is the use of cockroach traps; these can either be purchased commercially or home made. They will help you see the real problem. Put down several strips of double-sided carpet tape or duct tape (sticky-side up) to clearly see from where they are coming. To make a cockroach trap take a quart or pint-sized mason jar and tape the outside with masking tape or stretch a dark man’s sock over the exterior; then coat the inside of the jar mouth with petroleum jelly, place in the bottom a 10 to 1 mix of water and molasses, a few inches of beer, some dry kibble and/or a slice of bread with a few drops of beer or a full pheromone trap and then set the jar upright in room corners. Cockroaches will climb up and fall into the jar to get the bait, but will not be able to cross the petroleum jelly barrier to escape. You can kill the trapped roaches with hot, soapy water, or simply screw a lid on the jar and put it in the freezer overnight. One of the primary means of initial cockroach infestation is being carried in, is on incoming goods, e.g., infested cardboard and grocery bags; look carefully before putting grocerie/products away; leave the bags and boxes outside if possible. Freeze used appliances and furniture before bringing them inside or put them in completely sealed plastic bags with CO2 for a few days or store them for several weeks or at least carefully inspect with air blasts all incoming goods, furniture, packages and luggage.
4. Elimination of water sources
The single most important factor in determining cockroach survival is the availability of water/humidity. Install and maintain fans, air conditioners and/or dehumidifiers. Repair all plumbing leaks. One leaky faucet can waste 6,000 gallons of water a year. Do not overwater plants. Empty refrigerator or air conditioner drip pans or add some Safe Solutions Enzyme Cleaner and/or borax. Repair leaky appliances, sinks and bathtubs. Do not let pet water remain out over night. Eliminate water (inside) humidity with dehumidifiers and/or air conditioners and collection sites outside and/or add a few drops of Safe Solutions Enzyme Cleaner and/or sprinkle some borax.
Most roaches are attracted to moisture and areas with high humidity. Once people move out of an apartment unit and stop breathing, sweating, flushing, bathing, washing, showering and cooking the humidity drops and most roaches move away to a more humid unit. This should tell you a very important control secret. Use desiccating dusts and properly install and maintain dehumidifiers and fans and/or air conditioners. Repair all moisture problems and your roach population will also drop dramatically. Direct hair dryers on high or adjust tile softeners to the perfect setting and force dry, hot air into all cracks and crevices and see what happens. Fans left on 24 hours a day for 3 to 4 weeks will kill them.
Basically stated, practice proper sanitation; then routinely inspect the area carefully; use 5% or less boric acid or borax or food-grade DE or aspartame baits and/or dust only if and when necessary; paint/seal all bare wood, vacuum and/or steam clean and/or power wash thoroughly; routinely clean thoroughly; correct any moisture problems; seal and/or caulk thoroughly and screen thoroughly. Store all foods and wastes properly. Mop with diluted enzyme cleaner with sodium borate. Install pheromone traps. Vacuum them as they run from blasts of air during the day or vacuum at night with red or yellow lights to physically remove roaches – do this once a week until all activity ceases – remember start one hour after dark or one hour after the lights go out. Remember to dispose of vacuum bags by burning, burying, sealing them in plastic and placing outside in the garbage or after freezing them for several days. Routinely and thoroughly clean with diluted Safe Solutions Enzyme Cleaner with Peppermint. Sprinkle talcum powder or baking soda or Comet®, or food-grade DE and/or mop with borax or Mop Up®. Remove infested fiberglass insulation, paper bags and cardboard boxes. Caulk, caulk, caulk. Use copious amounts of nonvolatile bait with aspartame where they live or travel. Lower the temperature and humidity as often as possible. Spray Not Nice to Bugs® as needed.
7. Poison The Buggers
Later, after all else has failed and only if absolutely necessary carefully make a spot (nonvolatile) insecticide poison application. Start with boric acid or dusts, e.g., food-grade DE, talcum or medicated body powder or Comet® carefully placed in cracks, crevices and voids. Be sure to carefully read and follow the entire pesticide poison label regarding kitchen food areas, because some pesticide poisons may be applied only when the kitchen is not in operation while others may not be used in commercial food areas at all.
8. Follow-up or Maintenance Service
Once an IPM program is carefully instituted, follow-up usually consists of nocturnal and/or daytime inspections with a flashlight and mirror and/or a flushing agent (canned air) and/or the use of monitoring traps or tapes to find missed or newly introduced cockroaches, and carefully vacuuming or spot treating any active reinfestations found. Search out the source. Reread the first sections. Clean and/or spray with diluted Safe Solutions, Inc. enzyme cleaner and/or Not Nice to Bugs