Nothing ruins your day like seeing a dead cockroach under your sink and wondering how long it lived in your house. Finding a living one crawling around is even worse. If you want to learn what American roaches are, and how to get rid of them, check out our guide on these unacceptable house guests.

What Are American Roaches?

American cockroaches are a prevalent species of cockroach and one of the largest. In the southeast, they are often called palmetto bugs. However, this is a mistake, and palmetto bugs are a different species called the Florida woods cockroach, which looks different, stays outdoors more often, and emits a foul odor when threatened, while American roaches do not.

Despite their name, American roaches came from Africa on ships due to the Atlantic Slave Trade, around 1625. Due to global distribution, American roaches can be found almost anywhere in the world.

What Do American Roaches Look Like?

Image via Flickr by edward_rooks

American cockroaches are a lighter brown with yellow markings on its back near the head. They have long antennae and six legs with spiky growths. They also have a distinctly thin shape, unlike palmetto bugs, which are broader and more pill-shaped. American roaches are also lighter and more consistent in color, whereas palmetto bugs are dark brown with black stripes down the body.

Where Do American Roaches Live?

American roaches are spread throughout the world and will live anywhere with reasonable humidity. They are most often seen near the equator, but they still live in dryer or colder places, especially if they can reach the warmth and water in a human home.

The vast majority of American roaches live outdoors, but they will move into any human structure that seems worthwhile. They are particularly likely to infest basements, bathrooms, and crawlspaces due to their darkness and water.

Problems With American Roaches

No one enjoys seeing a roach on the kitchen counter in the middle of the night. However, these insects aren't just unpleasant; they can be dangerous due to contaminants. American roaches carry and spread diseases, contaminating surfaces through their feces and corpses. They can contain dangerous bacteria inside and outside of their bodies that spreads to anything they touch, and their fecal matter can be a source of allergic reactions.

American Roach Control Solutions

  • Keep Your Home Sealed: To keep these pests out in the first place, seal up gaps in windows or doors with caulk or guards, and do not leave doors or windows open longer than necessary. Never leave food or beverages sitting out.
  • Clean Your Home: Cockroach feces contains a hormone that attracts more cockroaches to the area. Frequently cleaning your home's surfaces in general, and adding natural aromas to your home, will all help counter this. In particular, cockroaches hate herb smells like mint and eucalyptus, along with citrus. If it smells fresh and clean, cockroaches probably hate it.
  • Take Care of Your Lawn: Oddly enough, the disruption and noise caused by mowing your lawn and performing yard work will send a clear message that your territory is not quiet or safe, encouraging the roaches to go elsewhere. If your lawn is overgrown, by contrast, roaches will see it as just another part of the woods.
  • Bait Stations: Poisoned or trap bait stations are a common way to deal with the odd cockroach or two. Granted, in more severe cases these will probably not completely solve the problem.
  • Keep Your Home Clean: Take out garbage frequently and remove clutter, especially paper clutter such as junk mail or newspapers. Consider switching all of your cardboard storage boxes out and using airtight plastic totes instead. The outside of your home is just as important. Leave junk, garbage, firewood, and other potential roach habitats far away from your house.
  • No Standing Water: Pet dishes, cooking pans, plant pots, and anything else that holds water out in the open should not have standing water all the time, especially near the floor.

Many of these solutions work primarily for prevention, rather than curing a present infestation. In those cases, some form of chemical control will probably work best, and if you need to know how to get rid of American roaches, Bulwark team members can work with you to find what works best for your home and family.

Common American Roach Questions

How Do American Roaches Reproduce?

Females form an egg case on the tips of their abdomens. Once ready, a female uses its saliva to glue the egg case to a surface where the eggs can develop. An adult female produces a range of six to fourteen egg cases in a lifetime. Each egg case has ten capsules containing 15 eggs on average, so even a single pregnancy will lead to hundreds of new cockroach nymphs. Fortunately, the eggs take about 45 days to hatch, and each roach needs anywhere from six months to a year to reach adulthood and reproduce.

Thanks to the relatively long life cycle, thorough extermination can deal with American roaches before they populate further. If you're concerned about American roaches in your home, contact us immediately through our home assessment form or get a quote by describing your problem.

What Do American Roaches Feed On?

American roaches will eat just about anything and will go after whatever's in easy reach. They can easily feed on any discarded organic matter, like human hair or fingernails. They have no problem eating paper products such as cardboard, but they're also known to consume old building materials, plants, cosmetics, soap, and even beer.

How Old Are American Roaches?

It is unclear when exactly American roaches appeared. Cockroaches in general, however, are even older than dinosaurs, first appearing an estimated 359 million years ago. They are the very first living things to fly, and many modern pests, including termites, are descended from early cockroaches.

American roaches are a terrible pest that no one wants to see in their home. With so many effective treatment options, no one should have to suffer the stress and health risks of a roach infestation. If you need American roaches or other pests evicted for good, contact the pest control experts at Bulwark today.

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