There are two species of cockroaches found commonly in North Carolina: the German cockroach and the American cockroach. The German cockroach is easily recognized for its small size and usually accompanied by multiple German cockroaches, while the American cockroach is known for its long, winged body and found in fewer quantities. Both species, however, are notorious for their pestlike-behavior.
The German cockroach is a very common cockroach worldwide, and is one known to spread diseases. Their short, brown and black body allows them to be easily identified. They live in moist, humid areas. According to the NPMA Field Guide to Structural Pests, “[a]ny crack or crevice located near a source of food and/or water is prime herborage, and they spend about 77% of their time in such harborage” (4.9.2). They multiply at a high rate and are usually found in areas where there are paper products close by. Like some common house pests, the cockroach feeds on the proteins of paper products, though that is not all they choose to eat. They will eat anything from small particles of food to fungi to small insects. That’s why it is important to use a power sprayer to treat the cracks and crevices on the outside of the home. This can protect the interior from an infestation.
The American cockroach is a lot longer and slimmer than most cockroaches, and one of the only species of cockroach where both the female and the male are winged. They are found mostly in buildings like “restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, food processing plants, hospitals, etc., where they usually infest food-storage and food-preparation areas, basements, and steam tunnels” (4.1.2). But in the summer, when you think they’d be searching for a home to invade, they are usually found in city sewer systems. If you think you have this cockroach in your home, be sure to check your drains. They use this to hide and find any kind of food found inside.
The American cockroach is found in just as many moist/humid areas as the German cockroach, however, they are fewer in number. This cockroach does not reproduce as quickly as the German roach. Where the female German cockroach lays her eggs 1-2 days after it is formed, the female American cockroach lays her eggs up to 4 days after it is formed. Also, the female American cockroach lays, on average, about 15 eggs, where the female German cockroach can lay up to 50!
So, if you’re finding yourself overrun by cockroaches, it’s time to call a pest control professional!
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- Smith, Eric H., and Richard C. Whitman. NPMA Field Guide to Structural Pests. Second ed., NPMA, 2007.