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IS THE AUSTRALIAN COCKROACH ENDANGERING YOUR FAMILY?

04/20/2015

Think there’s just one type of roach threatening your home? Think again. The Australian cockroach isn’t just found ‟down under.” Here’s what you need to know about this heat-seeking menace.

Is the Australian cockroach found in America?

A name doesn’t always imply where an insect is found. Australian cockroaches invade the homes of the Southern United States just as frequently and aggressively as any other tropical or subtropical area.

This geographic confusion stems from the scientific name of this pest, Periplaneta Australasiae, which loosely translates to ‟the large cockroaches of Southern Asia.” It’s easy to see how someone might get ‟Australian” from ‟Australasiae”, but that doesn’t help keep your home safe from disease and infestation. What does is knowing everything about these cockroaches, including what they look like, where to find them and how to get rid of them.

What do Australian cockroaches look like?

First, positively identify the target. The Australian cockroach looks similar to the American cockroach, but is smaller and darker. It can be spotted by some very distinct features:

  • Between 1.2 and 1.5 inches long
  • Light-brown color
  • Distinct, black spot or shape on pronotum
  • Pale, banded, ivory-yellow circle around black shape on pronotum
  • Pale-yellow stripe extending one-third of the base of the forewing

Australian cockroaches around your home

It helps to know where to look for this type of cockroach. They love heat and humidity. They prefer seaports and shipping areas, but that doesn’t mean they won’t make themselves comfortable in your home, even if it isn’t near the water. Favorite spots around the house include heated fish tanks, greenhouses (which is why it’s also called the greenhouse cockroach) and other areas that are hot, humid and moist.

Once they’ve moved in with you, female Australian cockroaches form egg capsules (ootheca) and drop them close to food sources in sheltered areas around your home. These oothecae are not only difficult to reach through DIY methods, but also difficult to spot. The mother roach camouflages her eggs in tight spaces (or even underneath pliable material such as moist wood or refuse) so that you can’t find or destroy them before they hatch.

Each ootheca has between 16 and 24 eggs inside which hatch in 30 to 40 days. An Australian cockroach nymph takes between six and 12 months to become an adult, and a typical adult lifespan can last eight months after that. Female Australian cockroaches are capable of producing between 12 and 30 oothecae in a lifetime, dropping one capsule of eggs every 10 days. At this speed, it’s easy to see how an infestation could quickly spread under the right conditions.

Send the Australian cockroach down under for good

So, what can you do? Managing a cockroach infestation takes determination and a relentless battle plan. Cockroaches and their eggs are hidden very well. Treatment must penetrate their safety zone and be continued throughout the entire lifespan of the pest. A pest management professional can control Australian cockroaches to keep them out of your home, providing you and your family the peace of mind you deserve.