When you head to the kitchen for a late-night snack and see cockroaches scurrying across your floor or counters, your first thought is probably not about what type of cockroach it is. There are, however, more than 70 species in the U.S., and as fall’s cooler temperatures approach with winter not far behind, there are several common types in Florida that may make their way into your home.
It’s important to remember that roaches aren’t just disgusting pests: They can also aggravate allergies and asthma attacks, spread bacteria that causes E. coli and Salmonella, and contaminate food. Some people may even develop allergies to roaches after coming into contact with their droppings or shed body parts.
In general, there are species that prefer to live outdoors and others that prefer to be indoors. Here are ways to recognize Florida’s most common cockroaches and what you need to know about them.
Although it’s sometimes known by the slightly more pleasant-sounding name of “palmetto bug,” the American Cockroach (pictured above) inhabits many more places than palmettos. When you see a very large cockroach, it’s likely an American cockroach: According to PestWorld.org, this roach is the largest of the house-infesting cockroaches. Both males and females have wings, and they can fly (or glide, more accurately) over short distances.
Their preferred habitat is outdoors—in places such as mulch piles and leaf litter—but they’ll easily come into your home through garages or under loose weatherstripping on your doors in search of food or water. That search leads them to food in pet bowls, crumbs in your kitchen, and even small amounts of water left standing in bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens.
This is the most common type of cockroach in the country, and the one you’re likely seeing when you discover several at a time. The University of Florida’s entomologists put it this way; “The German cockroach is the cockroach of concern, the species that gives all other cockroaches a bad name.”
Unlike the American cockroach, German roaches are right at home inside your house. They will take over your home if left unaddressed. If they move from one room to another, they will lay eggs all along the way. One female—that only needs to mate one time to reproduce all their lives—is able to produce a generation that can have tens of thousands more offspring in one year.
German cockroaches are opportunistic travelers, with several ways to come into your home, including in paper bags and cardboard boxes, used furniture, and used appliances.
Although Asian cockroaches are easily mistaken for German cockroaches, they are much stronger fliers and would rather live outdoors than indoors. These pests have only been in Florida since the 1980s, but they can now be found throughout the Southeast. Like American cockroaches, you may find them in shaded areas, mulch and gardens. Asian cockroaches are unusually attracted to light, so you may find them heading for the glow of TVs, computers and light bulbs.
These strong fliers look for protection from the elements in warm, moist spots. Prone to dehydration, they’re always on the lookout for water. You may see them around your eaves, under the mulch around your garden, and in holes in trees, where they seek the decaying matter they prefer to eat.
If you have a roach problem—particularly a sizeable infestation of German roaches inside your home—solving it using do-it-yourself methods isn’t advised, because household chemical control won’t be effective. Instead, it’s best to leave roach control to the professionals, who use integrated pest management (IPM) techniques and a multi-pronged approach to getting rid of existing infestations and keep them from coming back.
Don’t live with these dirty and dangerous pests! Turner Pest Control has affordable pest control plans that include treating the entry points cockroaches use to get indoors, protecting your home outdoors, and maintaining a barrier that keeps these pests away. Call us at (800)225-5305 or schedule a free inspection.