Cockroaches are some of the world’s oldest insects, and their success relates to their ability to adapt to changing environments. Because they are scavengers, these insects eat whatever is available, although they prefer starch, grease, sweets, meats, and meat byproducts. They will even live on decaying organic matter, book bindings, and glue!
The bad news is that cockroaches can carry diseases that infect people and pets. In fact, dogs and cats can contract a particular stomach worm if they eat an infected roach. Humans, gerbils, and pet mice can contract the dwarf tapeworm from an infected cockroach.
Of the 3,000 species of cockroaches worldwide, 3 are most common in the United States
- German cockroach: The cockroach most people see in their kitchen is the German cockroach. This species is ½ to ⅝ inches long and lives in moist, cool areas. A female German cockroach will produce 4 to 8 egg capsules during her lifetime; each capsule contains up to 40 eggs that hatch in about 28 days. A flea fogger that kills eggs works best to rid your home of these pests.
- American cockroach: The largest cockroach is the American cockroach, also known as a Palmetto bug. This roach grows up to 1½ inch long. It prefers dark, moist sites like bathrooms, kitchens, and the interior of plumbing and drains but will thrive outside in mulch, trees, and shrubs. The female produces 6 to 14 egg capsules; each contains about 16 eggs that hatch in 50 days.
- Brown-banded cockroach: The brown-banded cockroach needs less moisture to survive than the other common roaches. This insect, which measures about ⅝ inches, will live behind pictures hanging on a wall, in the upper kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and inside small electrical appliances like radios. A brown-banded egg capsule contains about 18 eggs that hatch in 50 to 74 days.
Indoors, manage a cockroach infestation by eliminating food and water sources. Keep your kitchen clean, wipe up crumbs and grease splatters, and place leftovers in the refrigerator. Store pet food in airtight containers—do not free-feed your pet (allow him to eat from his bowl all day long). Roaches are attracted to pet food, especially at night when these insects are most active.
Outside, keep mulch and dead leaves away from your home foundation, and seal cracks and holes where pipes enter the home.
You can treat cockroaches with pet-safe Adams™ products, including a flea and tick fogger and a flea spray for house and home. The Adams™ Flea & Tick Indoor Fogger reaches adult roaches that hide in cabinets, electronics, and pet bedding. Using a carpet spray such as the Adams™ Flea & Tick Home & Carpet Spray kills cockroaches on contact. To protect your flower gardens, lawns, trees and shrubs, use a yard spray such as the AdamsTM or Adams™ Plus Yard Sprays.