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Pest Education: Cockroaches

Cockroaches are a pest in millions of properties around the world.

Learn about these insects and what you can do to prevent them from invading yours.

Cockroaches are among the most common of insects. Fossil evidence indicates that cockroaches have been on earth for over 300 million years. Because cockroaches are so adaptable, they have successfully adjusted to living with humans. About 3,500 species exist worldwide, with 55 species found in the United States.



Some of the most common of these are the German, Brown-Banded, Oriental, and American cockroaches. California American Exterminator is trained to control and prevent these pests.


German Cockroach Basics 

The German cockroach is a widely distributed urban pest. It is also the most common cockroach species in houses, apartments, restaurants, hotels, and other institutions.


Adult German cockroaches are 1/2 to 5/8 inch long and tan to light brown. Although they have fully developed wings, they do not fly. Nymphs are similar in appearance to adults except that they are smaller and lack wings. The German cockroach is best identified by its small size and by two dark parallel lines running from the back of the head to the wings. It is usually found in kitchens (near dishwashers, stoves, and sinks) and in bathrooms of homes.


German cockroaches usually prefer a moist environment with a relatively high degree of warmth. The insects are mostly scavengers and will feed on a wide variety of foods. They are especially fond of starches, sweets, grease, and meat products. In many locations, garbage and filth are a principal food source.  German cockroaches are mostly active at night, when they forage for food, water, and mates.

During the day they hide in cracks and crevices and other dark sites that provide a warm and humid environment. Their relatively wide, flat bodies enable them to move in and out of cracks and narrow openings with ease. They may be seen during the daytime, particularly if a heavy population is present.

Think that you have a cockroach problem?   

We would be happy to discuss treatment options and identify the

pest issue your property faces.

Cockroach Prevention Tips & Tricks

It is difficult to keep cockroaches from entering homes via boxes, grocery bags, suitcases, and the like, but you can take steps to prevent a serious problem.


A key factor in prevention is sanitation!

  • Clean up all spilled foods (on all spilled surfaces), including crumbs on the floor

  • Do not leave dirty dishes overnight

  • Store items such as cereal, crackers, cookies, flour, sugar, and bread in airtight sealed containers

  • Empty garbage each evening into a sturdy container with a tightly fitted lid

  • Structural modifications such as caulking holes in walls where pipes pass through are necessary in the kitchen, bathroom, and other areas of the house.


Baiting is an effective method to control or eliminate German cockroaches. Baits can provide a high level of control when applied to those areas where cockroaches harbor. 


The use of repellent insecticidal sprays or aerosol foggers within a structure is of little value in controlling German cockroaches. In fact, these applications may disperse the cockroaches making control difficult and lengthy.

Facts About Cockroaches

Latin Name: American cockroach, Periplaneta americana; the German cockroach, Blattella germanica; the Asian cockroach, Blattella asahinai; and the Oriental cockroach, Blatta orientalis


Description: Cockroaches are insects. 30 species out of 4,600 total are associated with human habitats. About four species are well known as pests. 


Infestation: German cockroaches produce a larger number of eggs per capsule and they undergo a very short time from hatching until sexual maturity, resulting in a rapid population growth. German cockroaches are smaller than most other cockroaches and can conceal themselves in many places inaccessible to individuals of the larger species.

Cockroaches live in a wide range of environments around the world. Pest species adapt readily to a variety of environments, but prefer warm conditions found within buildings. Many tropical species prefer even warmer environments and do not fare well in the average household.


Information adapted from University of Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

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