Some species of cockroaches are considered pests and will infest human dwellings, while other species are good for the environment and act as recyclers of decaying organic material. Cockroaches that invade homes can be the carriers of a variety of sicknesses due to the fact that they are often found close to waste deposits or where food is present, the kitchen. Restaurants commonly deal with cockroach infestations.
What do they look like?
- Cockroaches can measure over 50 cm (2 in) length
- Have tropical species tending to be larger than those found in other climates.
- Six legs
- Two antennae
- Some have wings. However, most of the cockroaches that have wings aren’t very good at flying.
Cockroaches smell bad and can create a lot of sound. The Madagascar hissing cockroach is known for the sound it produces and is the most famous of vocal cockroaches. More often however, cockroaches that produce noise will make quieter chirping and clicking noises.
Information on Cockroach Infestation
- How do they get in? Cockroaches can be tricky and enter your home in a number of ways. They can come in through cracks and crevices outside, or through vents, sewer, or drain pipes. Occasionally we can bring the cockroaches in on our groceries, boxes, purses or even on ourselves!
- What is their ideal home? Because of the plentiful warmth, food, water, and nesting sites, cockroaches can remain active all year round in their ideal environment, Our homes.
- How quickly do they reproduce? They do so quickly. For everyone cockroach that you see, there could be many, many more hiding in your home behind the walls.
- How do they hide so well? Cockroaches are usually nocturnal. Because of this, if you see one during the day, it is usually because it was forced out of its home due to overcrowding. You could have a serious infestation on your hands.
- Can cockroaches be a concern to health? Cast-off cockroach skins, dead bodies, droppings, and other debris caused by cockroaches can aggravate allergies, specifically in children and other sensitive people.
What are the eating habits of cockroaches?
- Cockroaches are omnivorous scavengers.
- They consume any organic food source available to them.
- Cockroaches prefer to eat:
- They are also known to consume:
- Decaying matter.
- Cockroaches will eat whatever is available and obtainable to them. For example a cockroach that inhabits a sewer could feed on sewage or a species that lives on a dead tree could consume decaying wood.
If a cockroach isn’t given water it can live anywhere from a few days to a week, but when given water and deprived of food, many cockroaches can live for months at a time. They will die quickly if they eat dry food but do not have water.
Where do cockroaches live?
- They prefer moist locations
- Infest basements during winter.
- Inside your home, cockroaches will conceal themselves in cracks and behind furniture, and leave to look for food at night.
- During the winter when in need of warmth and moisture, outdoor species also infest indoor structures.
Cockroaches have predators such as:
- Some parasitic wasps
- Lay eggs in the egg cases of cockroaches.
- Hatchlings feed on near cockroach eggs.
- Entomopathogenic fungi
- Spores attach to insects and kill them.
- Affected cockroaches pass the fungi to other cockroaches.
Cockroaches release pheromones on their feces and on their bodies that leave chemical odors. These pheromones are used to communicate with other cockroaches.
Not all cockroaches will try to avoid light, most species are nocturnal and prefer darkness, but some can be attracted to the light and will gather near windows or the television screen at night. Most of these insects however, will scatter when light is shone on them.
Another popular myth about cockroaches is that they cannot be killed by radiation and could potentially survive a nuclear explosion. Insects are typically more resistant to radiation than humans are to their physiological characteristics but they are still affected and susceptible. Moths are actually less susceptible than cockroaches are. Cockroaches still can survive up to ten times the lethal dose of radiation for humans.
Do Cockroaches Bite Humans?
Cockroaches do not normally bite. They are omnivores and eat plants and meat, and have been known to eat human flesh both living and dead. It is more probable that they will take a bite of fingernails, eyelashes, feet and hands. Bites can cause some irritation and swelling. Some people have suffered through some minor wound infections.
Humans are only likely to bite humans in cases where food is limited due to extreme infestation. Most of the time cockroaches do not bite when a garbage can is near or there is some exposed food close by.
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