Know your cockroaches
If you are seeing signs of cockroaches in your kitchen, it helps to know what species they are. Cockroaches are resistant to many of the common pest control methods, and what works for one species does not always work for another.
Baby roaches – in kitchens or bathrooms – are usually an indication of a German cockroach infestation. These roaches are commonly found in kitchen and bathroom areas because they offer a warm, humid environment with plenty of moisture and access to food. German cockroaches, like most species of roaches, eat garbage and debris, in addition to foods consumed by people such as seeds, grains, greasy foods, meats, sweet items and starches. They are also known to consume toothpaste, glue and soap.
German cockroach adults are light brown, with two parallel stripes that run lengthwise down their body, and are one-half to five-eighths inches long. They have wings, but don't fly. The nymphs (baby roaches) are initially one-eighth of an inch long. Nymphs can be almost black in color, only have one stripe for several growth stages and fade to adult coloration.
While German cockroaches are the most common kitchen invader, there is a chance that the roaches in kitchen areas of your home are American cockroaches. This type of roach is more often found in garages or storage areas, but may travel to the kitchen in search of food.
American cockroaches are bigger; the adults range in size from 1.5 to 2 inches long. Adult American roaches are a reddish-brown and are identified by the "halo" marking behind their heads. Adults are capable of flight. Nymphs are one-quarter of an inch in length, and change color from gray-brown to reddish-brown as they grow.
Why it matters
Roaches are vectors for certain diseases. The bacteria they carry can make people sick, but different species carry different strains of bacteria. For example, American cockroaches often come into contact with bacteria that cause food poisoning, including Salmonella spp. and Shigella spp. German cockroaches, research shows, carry coliform bacteria, Staphylococcus spp., Streptococcus spp. and even the hepatitis virus. Additionally, cockroaches are an allergen for some people, and may cause asthma symptoms to worsen.
Steps you can take
Anything a roach nibbles, crawls or defecates on should be thoroughly cleaned. If it is a food item, it should be discarded. Roaches are resistant to many over-the-counter insecticides, and those products should not be used near food or on food-preparing surfaces.
Sticky traps are an effective way to confirm your suspicion of roaches in kitchen areas. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has a factsheet showing proper placement for these traps. However, traps will only take care of the roaches you can see. There are likely others hiding out of your reach. Proper infestation control requires getting to all of these pests.
If you suspect, or have confirmed, that there are baby roaches in kitchens, bathrooms or other areas of your home, call for backup. Terminix® Service Technicians know where to look to find – and evict – the roaches in your home. Call today for your free pest estimate.