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Cockroach Extermination and Control


If there’s one thing most people agree on, it’s that roaches are disgusting. All around the world, across nations and cultures, and without regard to politics, pretty much everyone hates cockroaches — and for good reasons.


Cockroaches and Human Health

Cockroaches infesting cardboard

Cockroaches are known vectors of many serious diseases, and are suspected of transmitting many more.

Roaches are scavengers and will eat almost anything. To a cockroach, a pail full of spoiled garbage is as delicious as filet mignon. While walking through garbage and other filth, cockroaches pick up all sorts of disease-causing germs on their feet and legs, which they carry to other areas — such as your silverware drawer, your counter tops, your cupboards, and other areas where food is stored, prepared, or eaten.

Cockroaches also spread germs through their feces (droppings). Many microorganisms can grow and multiple in a cockroach’s digestive system, and then contaminate food, food preparation surfaces, and utensils when the roach defecates on or near these items.

Some of the more serious diseases capable of being borne by cockroaches include Salmonella, E. Coli, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus. In addition, the droppings, shed skins, and secretions of cockroaches can cause asthmatic reactions in sensitive individuals.


Cockroach Species Common in Texas

There are four species of cockroaches that are commonly found in Texas: The German Cockroach, the Brown-Banded Cockroach, the Oriental Cockroach, and the American Cockroach. Their different habits and biology requires proper identification and specialized treatment for effective control.


German Cockroaches

Close up of a German Cockroach

The German cockroach (Blattella germanica) is the most common cockroach encountered by exterminators in Texas. It is found in homes, apartments, supermarkets, food service facilities, hotels and motels, and pretty much anywhere else food, moisture, and warmth can be found.

Adult German cockroaches are about 5/8 of an inch in length, have full wings (but rarely fly, although they appear to have the musculature and nerve connections necessary to do so), and have two dark bands running lengthwise down their pronotum.

German cockroaches are vectors of many serious diseases. They are known to be involved in the transmission of food poisoning, salmonella, dysentery, and typhoid. They also are known to trigger asthmatic reactions, and some people are highly allergic to their secretions and shed skins. Their significance as health vectors, their prolific reproductive potential, and their knack for becoming resistant to insecticides, make German cockroach extermination a job for a professional.


Brown-Banded Cockroaches

Close up of a Brown-Banded Cockroach

Brown-banded cockroaches (Supella longipalpa) are a little smaller than their German cousins, usually reaching a half inch in length as adults.

The adult male brown-banded cockroach is slender in appearance with wings extending beyond the tip of the abdomen. Adult females have shorter wings that expose a considerable portion of their broad abdomens. Both sexes have two light yellow or cream-colored bands across their backs, but the bands tend to be hidden by the wings in the adults. Adult males can fly short distances; females do not fly at all.

Brown-banded cockroaches prefer drier environments than do German roaches. They can often be found in furniture, closets, cabinets, behind wallpaper, in trash storage areas, in electrical or electronic devices, or infesting corrugated cardboard boxes. They are omnivorous and can survive on almost any type of food, so proper sanitation is essential for long-lasting control.


American Cockroaches

Close up of an American Cockroach

Commonly (and incorrectly) called “waterbugs” or “palmetto bugs,” American Cockroaches (Periplaneta americanus) are large roaches whose lengths can reach one and a half inches as adults. They are mainly brown in color, with a yellowish or brownish margin around the edge of their bodies.

American cockroaches prefer warm, dark, moist areas. They’re frequently found in basements, crawl spaces, utility areas, under bathtubs and sinks, in sewers and utility chaseways, and sometimes in outdoor areas (especially around garbage cans or dumpsters) during warm weather.

Like most roaches, American cockroaches are photophobic, and usually will scurry away when the lights are turned on. They are omnivorous and will readily eat things that humans don’t consider food, such as decaying organic matter. Control methods vary depending on the situation, but usually include cleaning up the infested areas, correcting moisture problems, using traps to rapidly reduce the population, and applying insecticides to control those roaches that remain.


Oriental Cockroaches

Many Oriental Cockroaches

Oriental cockroaches (Blatta orientalis) are rather large, stocky roaches, with adults usually reaching about one inch in length. They are dark-brown to black in color. Adult males have fully-developed wings, but do not fly. Females have only little wing stubs, and also do not fly.

Oriental cockroaches are most commonly found in dark, damp basements, but they have been known to climb water pipes to the upper floors of apartment houses. They also commonly travel outside in warmer weather, often nesting in garbage storage areas or other places where food and moisture can be found.

One interesting piece of insect trivia is that despite their name, Oriental cockroaches actually seem to be native to Africa, not the Orient. But the name has stuck, nonetheless.

Oriental cockroach control methods vary depending upon location, severity, and environmental factors. Sanitation, exclusion, trapping, baits, dusts, or insecticide sprays may be used, depending on the particular situation.


Cockroach Extermination

More so than most pest problems, permanent, effective cockroach control requires a measure of cooperation on the part of the customer. Permanent cockroach control requires the correction of conducive conditions (such as moisture problems, sanitation issues, clutter, and harborage areas). If you expect the exterminator to come and magically make the roaches go away overnight, you will be disappointed.

Sanitation and the elimination of clutter are the most important factors in cockroach elimination. Roaches have a behavioral characteristic known as thigmotaxis, which basically means that they feel more secure when they are touching some surface on all sides of their bodies. So all those paper bags, cardboard boxes, and other clutter under your sink has to go. They make a perfect place for roaches to live and breed.

Please download and read our printable Cockroach Control Checklist for more advice about cockroach prevention and control, as well as instructions on how to prepare for your cockroach control treatment.

Feel free to call us at 817-589-1632 for more information about cockroach control or any of our high-quality pest control services.