The words such as “disgusting,” “foul,” “ugly,” “hideous,” “repulsive,” and “revolting” pop into our heads whenever we talk about cockroaches, and there is a good reason for it: we are hardwired to be disgusted by them.
Fear and disgust are two of the most powerful and universally negative human emotions. Both evolved in the oldest part of our brains to detect threats and aid in our survival. Our brains are wired to be wary of cockroaches because of their oily, greasy appearance, ureic smell, and preferred habitats (dark, dank, and dirty).
Then there’s their velocity. Because our ancestors needed to outrun hungry predators, anything that can move faster than we can will elicit the fear response. Cockroaches can travel at speeds of up to 3 miles per hour. That’s the equivalent of a human sprinting at 200 mph compared to their size.
While a charging cockroach isn’t the same threat as a charging predator, our hardwired instincts don’t work that way. Instead, they maintain an astonishingly simple rating system: “safe” or “dangerous,” and then assign a level of response based on that judgment.
Cockroaches disgust us in addition to scaring us. The reason for this is simple as well, because the underlying fear of most insect fears is contamination and illness, and cockroaches are filthy. They not only carry pathogens that cause disease, but they also carry a wide variety of bacteria on their feet, legs, and bodies due to their environment.
Roaches have been on the planet for millions of years. Some believe they will be the last ones standing even after a nuclear war. They are tough little pests known for their tenacity and ability to survive anything and everywhere, and their infestations are both get and difficult to eradicate.
To protect your home or business from cockroaches in New Jersey, you must first learn about their behavior, then take preventative measures and find effective treatment options if an infestation occurs.
While cockroaches vary in size and appearance, they all share a number of physical characteristics that identify them as cockroaches. These features include an oval shape, long “thread-like” antennae, spined legs, and a “shield-like” plate called the pronotum located just behind the head. Although many adult cockroaches have fully developed wings, only a few can fly.
Cockroaches go through three stages of development (egg, nymph, and adult). Depending on the species, the adult female produces an egg capsule (ootheca) containing up to 44 eggs.
Of the seven common pest species in New Jersey, three are considered small, and four are large (1–2 inches long). The German, brown-banded and spotted Mediterranean cockroaches are among the smaller species, while the American, Oriental, Pennsylvania wood, and Surinam cockroaches are among the larger.
German Cockroach: This species is found worldwide and is the most common in American homes, restaurants, and hotels. They only exist in structures. They feed on a variety of human and pet foods, as well as fruit, leather, and even book bindings. They prefer to live in cracks and crevices that are not frequently disturbed and are most active at night.
Observing German cockroach activity during the day usually indicates a severe infestation. They are mostly found in the kitchen and bathroom, where there is food and water. This species has the greatest reproductive capacity of any common pest cockroach. Females lay between 30 and 50 eggs at a time. Adult females live about 200 days and lay six to eight egg cases during their lifetime.
American Cockroach: Palmetto bugs are another name for American cockroaches. They prefer moist environments inside and outside of buildings and are most active at night. They are more common in subtropical and tropical climates than in temperate climates.
They are frequently found in basements, heating ducts, and sewage systems. They feed on plant materials, organic matter in sewage, and human foods, among other things. Adult females have an average life span of about 440 days and typically produce 9 to 10 egg cases deposited in a crack or crevice.
Oriental cockroaches: Oriental cockroaches are also known as water bugs because they live in damp areas. They are more common in temperate climates than in subtropical climates. They can survive in cool environments and have been found outside in freezing temperatures. Their numbers are at their peak in late spring and early summer.
Like the German and American cockroaches, they are most active at night but move much slower than the German and American cockroaches. They are mostly found on the first floors of buildings, have a strong odor, and are regarded as one of the dirtiest cockroaches.
During her lifetime, a female will deposit about eight egg cases (16 eggs in each case), and within 300 to 800 days, the eggs hatch and develop into adults.
Brown-banded Cockroach: Brown-banded cockroaches are about the same size as German cockroaches. They are found all over the world but are more common in tropical and subtropical regions than in temperate regions.
This species prefers to live in areas of the home that are constantly warm, such as near water heaters and requires less moisture than the German cockroach.
In addition to infesting kitchens and bathrooms, they can also be found in areas of the home away from food and moisture. There are distinct horizontal yellow bands on both sexes. The female frequently glues her egg case to furniture or appliances, and the eggs hatch in about 70 days, and the young reach maturity in about 160 days.
Spotted Mediterranean Cockroach: The spotted Mediterranean cockroach was introduced from Europe by accident and was first discovered in Massachusetts in 1948. It spread slowly in the northeast and has recently become more common in New Jersey.
It can be found in a variety of outdoor habitats. This species’ adults can be seen flying around structures and entering homes through doors, windows, and vents. Once inside, however, they are unlikely to reproduce and infest structures.
It is agile and can run extremely fast, like other cockroach species. Each female lays two oothecae with 17 eggs each. Females can also produce nymphs without having to mate.
Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach: The Pennsylvania wood cockroach is common in the eastern United States. Outdoors they can be found beneath loose bark in woodpiles, stumps, and hollow trees. They are typically brought indoors with firewood.
They mainly eat decaying organic matter and almost never breed indoors. Males have long, well-developed wings that allow them to fly and enter open doors and windows from trees and logs.
The adult female looks similar but has very short wings (about 1/2 inch long). A female can produce up to 30 oothecae, with each ootheca containing up to 36 eggs.
Surinam Cockroach: Surinam cockroaches are also found all over the world. It is common in the southeastern United States, from North Carolina to Texas and south through Florida. In the United States, only females are found.
They reproduce by parthenogenesis (without mating). Each ootheca contains between 14 and 48 eggs, and they are burrowed into loose soil. Surinam cockroaches are active at night and feed on plant material, causing plant damage.
They are not found outside New Jersey but can be introduced into homes and businesses through the soil of potted plants. It is a source of irritation in greenhouses, zoos, and botanical gardens, among other places.
Cockroaches can emit airborne pheromones that attract other cockroaches for swarming and mating. Unfortunately, these chemical trails can also transmit bacteria and disease, posing a severe health risk. They are known to cause the following diseases:
Roaches are also responsible for contaminating food and potentially destroying food stores, which would have disgusted our ancestors, who frequently faced starvation in the winter if their food supplies ran low.
Cockroaches are nocturnal, so they are less likely to be seen until you have a small infestation. If you see cockroaches, chances are they’ve been pushed out of all the good hiding places by other roaches, and if you see a few during the day in your kitchen or bathroom, there are far more hidden behind the walls or cupboards waiting to come out when you’re gone.
Cockroaches congregate in dark places, and their waste emits an odor that attracts other cockroaches. These aggregation points are frequently found in wall voids, cabinetry, electronic equipment, and other places where cockroaches are unlikely to be left alone. When it comes to cockroaches, a good general rule of thumb is that the more you see them, the more you should call a professional pest control specialist.
We usually associate a roach problem with an unsanitary environment, and most of the time, this is correct. However, roaches are so good at crawling through spaces and between walls, so your neighbor’s roach problem may spread into your apartment.
Furthermore, because different cockroaches prefer different resources, cockroach identification is essential before treatment.
For example, German cockroaches seek out areas with plenty of water, so ensuring no leaks helps reduce the chances of a German cockroach infestation. If your cockroach infestation has gotten out of hand, it’s time to seek professional cockrach control to help you get rid of it.
The best way to avoid contact with these diseases and allergens is, predictably, to avoid cockroach infestations in the first place. We recommend the following measures to keep cockroaches out of your home:
When dealing with an infestation, hiring a pest control specialist is the best option if all else fails.
Titan Pest Services specializes in commercial and residential pest control. Single-family homes, residential condominium complexes, luxury hotels, athletic stadiums, airports, food establishments, and other businesses are among our clients.
If you have any questions or need help keeping your home pest-free, please contact us!