I can’t believe I’ve been writing my Loyal Termite and Pest Control “dog-blog” for over a year now; and have not once featured, in detail, America’s number #1 pest, Cockroaches. Last week I did introduce this series by talking about cockroaches in general; however, now I’ll be getting into some specifics. As you already know (I hope) this is Hunter, Loyal’s exclusive K-9 termite detective and blog writer, welcoming you back for another round of interesting pest control facts.

Earliest cockroach fossils date back as far as 300 million years ago. It is sometimes said that cockroaches will “inherit the earth” after humanity destroys itself. To say that this bug is a survivor is an understatement. They can hold their breath for up to 45 minutes, go without food for up to a month, and has the ability to slow down its heart rate. They also have a very high resistance to radiation; 6 to 15 times higher than man. Strangely, they can even live over a week without their head! Now that’s amazing.

There are approximately 4,000 different species worldwide with 50 to 60 species thriving in the United States. There are 5 species that are most common to our central Virginia region. They are the American cockroach, the German cockroach, the Oriental cockroach, the Wood cockroach, and the Brown Bandit Cockroach. As for this blog, I am concentrating on the particular characteristics and facts about the American Cockroach.

The American cockroach is the largest species of cockroach found indoors in the USA. A typical American cockroach measures between 1.5 and 2 inches long. It is reddish brown in color and its wings appear longer than their body.

American cockroaches are one of the fastest running insects and can run at over 3 miles an hour (the human equivalent of running at 210 miles an hour). They use their speed to dart out of sight when humans enter a room or switch a light on, scuttling into cracks and under doors. Although adults have wings and are able to fly; they do it awkwardly and prefer to run.

An adult American cockroach can live up to a year, during which time the female will hatch around 150 offspring.

They are scavengers that eat almost anything; decaying organic matter, such as meat, plants, pet food, beer, cosmetics, and even other insects. They have a particular fondness for fermenting fruit.

They like to be near water. If necessary they can survive for a couple of weeks without it but prefer to be at least near a water source. They are often found near drains and sewers for this reason.

These bugs generally live outside most of the time. They like dark, damp and warm places. When around human housing, they often live in basements, building foundations, under porches and walkways, and in dark cracks and crevices. During colder periods, however, they will often move inside a home, via drains, and gaps around plumbing and under doors.

They are more active in the night time than the day and shun light generally. This bug likes warm to hot conditions, a temperature somewhere between 70 and 85 degrees F is its preference. A temperature of 15 degrees F, or below, will usually kill it.

The American cockroach sees with two compound eyes with each eye consisting of 2000 separate lenses.

The best way to prevent these American roaches from establishing themselves in your home is to keep your kitchen; cooking and food storage areas as dry as possible. It is also advisable to eliminate all easy food sources for them by regularly vacuuming, sealing stored food properly, not leaving unwashed dishes and pans overnight, rinsing out cans and bottles when they are finished with, and storing any recycling items outside.

Well, there you have it. You now know more about American cockroaches than probably 95% of your family and friends. Next week comes the German cockroach; which is classified as the number #1 pest in U.S. homes.

I’ve been working on a new catchphrase. I think it has some legs to it. Tell me what you think. I’ll bark at you again next week. Ruff! Ruff!

When it comes to termite and pest control, Hunter says, “if you got ’em, we’ll get ’em!”

Cockroaches: Species Common to Our Central Virginia Region Part #1 in Virginia

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