Tampa is home to a wide variety of cockroaches. Fortunately, only a handful of species get into residential and commercial structures. Of this small group, one species is head and shoulders above the competition in terms of how badly it can pester us. It is, as we're sure you can guess, the German cockroach. If you have these roaches in your Tampa home, you have trouble on your hands. Today, we'll look at the most important German cockroach facts you need to know. We'll explain how they behave inside your home, what attracts them to local properties, how you can reduce the risks associated with these unsanitary pests, and how to interpret the evidence. You'll find this to be a helpful guide to understanding these unique insects, and it will provide you with what you need to address a problem, should one arise. If you currently have a cockroach problem and would like to speak to a pest professional, remember that the team at Haskell Termite & Pest Control is here to help. We offer advanced pest management solutions and professional cockroach control in Tampa.
German Cockroach 101: Biology, Behaviors, And Dangers
Okay. First things first. What does a German cockroach in Tampa look like? An adult grows to ½ to ⅝ of an inch long. It is tannish brown and has two black lines on its back that look like an equal sign. Also on its back are stacked wings. These wings are shiny and hang slightly past the end of the abdomen. On the abdomen, below the ends of the wings, are two appendages. These are called cerci. If you see a mass sticking out of the end of the cockroach with ridge lines and a shiny, brown-to-orange gradient, that is the ootheca of the roach. The ootheca holds the eggs. One ootheca can have as many as fifty cockroach eggs. When the eggs hatch, nymphs emerge. These baby cockroaches do not have wings and will appear dark brown to black. The nymphs are as much as 1/8 the size of the adults.
The life cycle of a German cockroach is simple. It will exist in one of three stages: Egg, nymph, or adult. The adults are either male or female. The females carry the ootheca. Of all the stages, nymphs are the most diverse. They shed their skins several times as they grow from a mere speck to around half an inch in length. You may find the shed skins in dark, secluded spaces. A newly shed skin will look like a cockroach because the nymph sheds the entire skin all at once. But it doesn't stay intact. The roaches feed on the skins for nourishment.
German cockroaches thrive in man-made structures, which sets them apart from many other cockroach species. They are so comfortable living with humans that there are no known populations of wild German cockroaches in the world. That is to say that they are all found near humans, whether indoors or just outside. There are a few reasons why this is critical to understand:
- German cockroaches can survive with the limited food resources and moisture found inside structures. It is hard to starve them out of a home or drive them out by controlling humidity.
- German cockroaches have had exposure to many control materials and developed an incredible resistance to them over time.
- German cockroaches are also resistant to bait. Researchers have found populations with offspring that are born with bait aversion. German cockroaches are the only species that have demonstrated this ability.
- Many populations of German cockroaches never live outside. For this reason, they often spread passively from one site to another. They are considered hitchhiking pests, like bed bugs.
If you discover that you have a German cockroach infestation, we strongly recommend contacting a licensed pest control service provider for treatment. They are a unique challenge to control and eliminate.
It is essential to fully eliminate these insects from your home as they are unsanitary pests. They climb in dirty places, feed on filthy things, and leave their excrement as they explore. When they get into your cabinets or explore your shelves, they can chew through cardboard and paper packaging to access the food within. When they do, they contaminate your food. In most cases, this will only lead to minor stomach ailments. But these roaches are also associated with more severe diseases, such as salmonellosis, giardia, E. coli infection, cholera, typhoid fever, dysentery, and more.
Along with presenting a disease risk, cockroach saliva and droppings are allergens. Researchers have found that hospitalizations for asthma-related symptoms climbed in homes with cockroach infestations. Children were most impacted, according to the study.
What Attracts German Cockroaches To Certain Tampa Homes?
Is one home more attractive to these cockroaches than another? Yes and no. As we pointed out, cockroaches can move from one location to another by hitching a ride. If they hitchhike into your home, they don't choose you. But, if German cockroaches enter your home from the outside, there are a few factors that will play a part. It is helpful to understand these if you don't have a cockroach problem yet.
- German cockroaches primarily enter your yard in search of moisture and food. They are attracted to the scent of decay, so it is imperative to maintain a trash receptacle that is as clean as possible. Avoid having stacked cardboard, as these roaches eat the cellulose in paper products. They are particularly fond of eating pizza boxes. Remove organic clutter in your landscaping. Clean your gutters to reduce perimeter moisture, trim your plants, and address plumbing issues.
- German cockroaches hide under objects in your yard to protect themselves from the sun. If you have an object sitting next to your exterior wall, they'll use it as a staging area before entering your home. Remove all the yard clutter you can.
- German cockroaches are drawn to tight spaces – the tighter, the better. You can deter them from entering your home by making sure your exterior doors are properly sealed, patching cracks in your foundation, covering vents, fixing screens, and sealing gaps around pipes.
- German cockroaches eat food debris. A clean home can provide some protection against an infestation. If a roach enters your home and is unable to find anything to eat, it may go right back outdoors.
You have some control over the factors that attract German cockroaches to your home. You also have the option to inspect used items before you bring them inside. It takes effort, but you can deter roaches if you stay on top of these tasks.
Effective Strategies To Reduce Your Risk For German Cockroaches
Sanitation is at the core of cockroach prevention and control. Food debris, juice spills, grease, oil, a dirty mop, a dirty drain, and leftovers in your trash all provide food sources for cockroaches. When you keep your home clean, you deprive roaches of the food they need to grow their numbers. You also reduce the risk of bacteria spreading from dirty places to clean areas, like from your trash to your cutting board.
Along with keeping your home clean, it is critical to address moisture. Fixing leaky faucets and pipes and installing dehumidifiers can go a long way toward making your home feel less inviting to cockroaches. If a German cockroach doesn't find the moisture it's looking for, it may go back outside.
The last factor that impacts whether or not German cockroaches will want to live with you is sheltered areas. Junk piles and clutter provide undisturbed hiding places and tight spaces to squeeze into.
If you alter these conditions, you will reduce the risk of a German cockroach infestation. Now that you know how to get rid of German cockroaches on your own and how to keep them away, let's discuss the nature of an infestation. Often, Tampa residents don't understand the evidence they find. Let's start with the most important fact.
Why Seeing One Roach Around Your Property Means More Are Nearby
When you see one roach, it does not mean you have one roach. In general, pest cockroaches are exceptionally good at hiding from view. Along with this, they prefer nocturnal activity. So, you're not going to see how many cockroaches you really have inside your home. What this means is you won't understand just how great the contamination risks are when you only see one roach. We want to encourage you to contact a pest control service provider for Tampa cockroach control at the first sign of roach activity. Whether you see one roach, black droppings, shed skins, or you hear skittering on your bathroom floor, let a professional take a look. You're not likely to even get a chance to see and identify German cockroaches before they impact your health and damage your belongings. They are sneaky pests.
If you're in Tampa, contact Haskell Termite & Pest Control for a pest control evaluation. We can inspect your home, look for cockroach activity, check for conducive conditions, and help you make the right choice for your home and family.
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