Cockroaches are among the most important pests of households and commercial establishments. Not only is their mere presence a nuisance, but they are known to be capable of carrying many common disease pathogens as well as causing allergic reactions in many people. Of the approximately 4,000 living species of cockroaches in the world, about 70 occur in the United States.
- One of the oldest insects — fossil remains date back 200 million years.
- Crawl around on six legs, have wings and two antennae.
- Like dark, damp places with a plentiful food supply; hide during the day in warm, dark places, such as under sinks, behind dishwashers, stoves and refrigerators, and inside cupboards.
- Feed on a variety of foods, especially starchy and sugary materials, including book bindings, photographic film, linens, leather goods and numerous food items; usually forage at night.
- Can survive a month or more without food, but less than two weeks without water.
- Have an acrid odor that may permeate items with which they come in contact.
- Can transmit bacteria and organisms responsible for diseases in humans including food poisoning, cholera, dysentery, salmonellosis and strep.
- A study by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a report in the New England Journal of Medicine indicate that exposure to cockroach allergens is a major health concern for asthmatic children.
- Under optimum conditions, cockroaches can produce two million offspring in one year, with an average breeding season resulting in 350,000 offspring.
- Found around the world. Two species are prevalent in the United States, the American cockroach and the German cockroach.
- The American cockroach has reddish-brown wings and light markings on its thorax and reaches lengths of up to 1.5 inches.
- The German cockroach is between one-half and five-eighths inches long and is light brown with two dark stripes down its back.