January 15, 2014

imageCockroaches are one of the most recognized insects in the world, it is generally accepted that they can survive a nuclear blast. There are over 5000 species of Cockroaches worldwide and the earliest fossilized Cockroach dates back 280 million years – 80 million years older than the first dinosaurs. Below are some interesting tidbits about some of the different species:

They vary in size from the largest which is 6 inches long and has a 12 inch wingspan to the smallest which actually reside in ant nests. The fastest cockroach can move 50 body lengths per second which is the equivalent of a person running about 200 mph and they can change direction 25 times per second. Some cockroaches – when they break a leg – can grow another. Most cockroaches can live 2 weeks with no water and 4 weeks with no food. Some can live up to 9 days without a head. They can hold their breath for up to 40 minutes and they can and do regularly swim up sewer and drain lines. Some females will mate once and remain pregnant for life. Females can lay up to 2 million offspring in a year. Cockroaches spend about 75% of their time resting. Some cultures eat cockroaches fried in oil and garlic as a cure for indigestion and they have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. One such use is for the treatment of stingray stings. Cultures have changed – They were once considered a guest of honor in homes and it was customary to actually release them in new dwellings.

Typically, cockroach control is divided into two groups: the large roaches that come in from the outdoors and the smaller pantry infesting type.

Pantry infesting cockroaches most often refer to German Roaches and sometimes Asian Roaches. Their control is difficult in that they harbor in the cracks and crevices of the kitchen area and often spread out throughout the house. These harborage can include multitudes of areas like: dishwasher and refrigerator motor housings, electrical sockets, toasters, the spines of cook books, plumbing voids, under shelving paper, in boxes etc. In order to gain control it is usually necessary to perform a systematic approach. First it is necessary to kill as many foraging and breeding adults as possible. This is done by way of a thorough crack and crevice pesticide injection program. This insecticide should also contain a sterilizing agent to inhibit future roaches that come into contact with that area from reproducing. It is not possible to treat every single crevice; as a result, insecticide laden bait is placed in multiple strategic locations so that when the young and newly hatched roaches forage for food they will ingest this bait. In addition it is advisable to continue to apply sterilizing agents throughout the area in the event that some roaches find the bait unpalatable. In general German Roach control is very difficult and usually unattainable except by a trained exterminator.

Large roaches that come in from the outdoors are a little simpler. It is important to establish a barrier in order to attempt to repel these insects from coming inside. This is accomplished by treating the mulch in the flower beds, the soil and substructure in the crawl space and around plumbing penetrations, and around the eves in the attic. It is recommended to read the labels of various insecticides and follow their directions during these applications. It is important to keep the shrubs trimmed off of the house, keep mulch to a minimum and store items such as firewood well away from the home. In addition, keeping the gutters clean and straw from building up on the roof is of great benefit too. If the large roaches have established a colony inside the living area, then a crack and crevice treatment will be needed in order to kill this infestation. Otherwise they will breed and continue to thrive.

Please know that the technicians at Horne’s have received multiple hours of both classroom and field training by various organizations including major Universities. The extermination of cockroaches can be a very difficult challenge. We often say that a person can go to Home Depot or Lowes and buy everything he needs to build a house – but does that mean that he can actually do it? We invite you to call our office if you have any specific questions or would like some additional advice or wish to discuss scheduling an appointment.

Click here for WRDW story on winter weather’s affect on summer bug infestations.

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