Cockroach Control Information
Most people agree that roaches are among the most disgusting insects around. All around the world, people hate cockroaches.
There are four main species of cockroaches commonly found as pests in South Carolina and the rest of the United States: The German Cockroach, the Brown-Banded Cockroach, the Oriental Cockroach, and the American Cockroach. Although they are closely related, their different habits and biology requires proper identification and specialized treatment for effective control.
One thing that is true for roach control in general, however, is that treatment is most effective when conducive conditions (such as moisture problems, sanitation issues, and harborage areas) are corrected first. So if you expect the exterminator to come and apply some magical product that will make the roaches go away overnight, you probably will be disappointed. The most effective cockroach control usually requires both chemical and non-chemical measures.
The German cockroach is the most common cockroach encountered by exterminators in South Carolina. It is found in homes, apartments, supermarkets, food service facilities, hotels and motels, and pretty much anywhere else food, moisture, and warmth can be found. Adult German Cockroaches are about 5/8 of an inch in length, have full wings (but, curiously, don’t fly, although they appear to have the musculature and nerve connections necessary to do so), and have two dark bands running lengthwise down their pronotum.
German cockroaches are vectors of many serious diseases. They are known to be involved in the transmission of food poisoning, salmonella, dysentery, and typhoid. They also are known to trigger asthmatic reactions, and some people are highly allergic to their secretions and shed skins. Their significance as health vectors, their prolific reproductive potential, and their knack for becoming resistant to each new generation of insecticides developed to control them, make cockroach extermination a job for a professional.
Brown-banded cockroaches are a little smaller than their German cousins, usually reaching a half inch in length as adults. The adult male is slender in appearance with its wings extending beyond the tip of the abdomen. Adult females have shorter wings that expose a considerable portion of their broad abdomens. They have two light yellow or cream-colored bands across their backs. These bands tend to be hidden by the wings in the adults. Adult males can fly short distances; females do not fly at all.
Brown-banded cockroaches prefer drier environments than do German roaches. They can often be found in furniture, closets, cabinets, behind wallpaper, in trash storage areas, in electrical or electronic devices, or infesting corrugated cardboard boxes. They are omnivorous and can survive on almost any type of food, so proper sanitation is necessary for long-lasting control.
Commonly (and incorrectly) called “waterbugs” or “palmetto bugs,” American Cockroaches are large roaches that can achieve lengths of one and a half inches as adults. They are mainly brown in color, with a yellowish or brownish margin around the edge of their bodies.
American cockroaches favor warm, dark, moist areas and frequently are found in basements, utility areas, under bathtubs, in sewers and utility chaseways, and sometimes in outdoor areas (especially around garbage cans or dumspters) during warm weather.
American roaches run away rapidly when disturbed or when the lights are turned on, and adults sometimes fly. Control methods vary depending on location, severity of the infestation, and availability of food and water.
The oriental cockroach is dark-brown to black in color. Adults are about one inch in length. The male has fully-developed wings, but does not fly. Females have only little wing stubs, and also do not fly. They are most commonly found in dark, damp basements, but they have been known to climb water pipes to the upper floors of apartment houses. They also commonly travel outside in warmer weather, often nesting in garbage storage areas or other places where food and moisture can be found.
The control of Oriental cockroaches varies depending upon location, severity, and environmental factors. Sanitation, exclusion, trapping, baits, dusts, or insecticide sprays may be used, depending on the particular situation.