We’ve all seen “Joe’s Apartment” and while those cockroaches could talk and ended up being kinda cool, the ones in the real world are pretty nasty. They are one of the most resilient creatures on the planet with the earliest signs of their ancestry dating back more than 300 million years. They have adapted to living in nearly any environment as long as there is a food and water source somewhere nearby. Although there a many different species, the ones we’ll be addressing today are the 2 most common roaches in Texas.
German Cockroaches (pictured above)
Of the two different cockroach species I’ll be talking about, these guys are probably the most daunting. They grow to about half an inch in their adult stage and can be easily identified by the two dark stripes running down the back below the head. They do have the ability to fly, however it is uncommon to see it. They can glide a bit when disturbed but for the most part, they run. The reason these are the most daunting from a pest control standpoint is that they can infest your house and multiply very quickly. The female carries an egg sac in her abdomen (called an ootheca) that can hold up to 50 eggs (32 on average). They will eat nearly anything, and when their food supply runs low, they will start to eat their own feces and even each other.
What we do:
The severity of the infestation or where the infestation is occurring will determine which control method we will use. On the first treatment, we will come in and determine the extent of the issue. The most effective option is to begin a baiting program that will reduce the population significantly over time. Sprays can be used in conjunction to help with more severe infestations.
What you can do:
The biggest thing you can do to help with a German roach infestation is to clean. Places to check for unsanitary conditions include underneath/behind your stove and underneath/behind your refrigerator. The less food particles, other dead bugs, and standing water you have, the slower the colony will grow as you are taking away their food source.
These are the “giant” roaches that scare your wife. People have many names for them (wood roaches, tree roaches, waterbugs, etc.) and although not all of those names are accurate, when a customer tells me any of those, I know this is what they’re referring to. These guys grow to about and inch and a half the females can produce upwards of 150 offspring in their life. They carry the ootheca in their abdomen (much like the germans) and have a lifespan of up to two years. As strange as it may sound considering their intimidating size, american cockroaches are much easier to control than the german roaches. They tend to remain outdoors, coming in only when the temperatures reach extremes or when looking for a food/water source. Entry points in houses include door jams, unused drains, and and anywhere else there is a crack or opening.
What we do:
Typically a simple barrier spray around the outside and entry points will be able to keep them under control. Don’t be surprised if you see a few dead ones after a treatment though as this is normal. Heavier infestations can occur when there are piles of wood stacked up outside or in an area where they will remain undisturbed for a long period. I once found an indoor infestion of these roaches in an unused bathroom at a healthcare facility. The room and its bathroom were being used for storage and the toilet had been removed leaving a huge exposed plumbing hole for them to enter. They were storing wood there, there was a water source (the sink), they had an entry point (the toilet hole), and they were left undisturbed for a long period. These conditions created a situation that was conducive to an infestation. These types of infestations are uncommon but they do occur.
What you can do:
Keeping your grass cut short will help to reduce their habitat and stem some of the breeding happening in your yard. Removing any standing water and old unusable wood will also help to take away more of what they need to survive. Always remember, a well groomed, organized yard and outdoor area will make for a more bug-free zone for your family.
Although there are certainly more species of cockroaches in Texas, these are the two that we deal with the most. Most other cockroach species are treated in the same manner as the American Roach.