Roaches - Meet the Culprits



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Roaches are among the most common insects. Their sizes vary considerably; some species are up to several inches long. They are one of the most adaptable and successful insects groups. Their presence is in nearly every part of the world. Roaches produce an odorous secretion, these secretions may result in a characteristic odor in the general region of the infestation. Disease-producing organisms such as bacteria have been found on roach's bodies.


  • They are mostly active at night, during which time they search for food, water and mates
  • May be seen in daytime, particularly when a heavy population is present
  • They prefer moist environments, and many species also prefer a high degree of warmth
  • Indoor roaches are mostly scavengers and feed on a wide variety of food. They prefer starches, sweets, grease, and meat products; but will also eat cheese, beer, leather, bakery products, starch in book bindings, glue, hair, flakes of dried skin, dead animals and plant materials
  • Usually choose to live in protected cracks and crevices
  • Roaches are well known for moving to new areas via "hitchhiking". Careful inspection of furniture, clothing, or other goods coming into a home or other facility may reveal roaches hiding in these items


The German roach is the most economically important urban pest. They are by the most common and important species infesting our homes and institutions.


  • Adults are pale to medium brown and about1/2-to 5/8-inch long
  • Adults can be distinguished from other roaches by the two dark stripes on the pronotum
  • Young roaches have a single light stripe running down the middle of the back

The German roach is a general feeder, but is particularly attracted to fermented foods and beverage residues found in kitchens. Infestations are sometimes found in areas not generally suspected of German roaches; for example, dresser drawers in bedrooms. When they are found scattered through non-food areas of a home or building, it is usually caused by a very heavy infestation.


The American roach is commonly known as the water bug, flying water bug and, the palmetto bug. It is the largest of the common species.


  • They are reddish-brown in color
  • Growing to 1.5 inches or more in length
  • Both male and female are fully winged
  • They are found in dark, moist areas of basements and crawl spaces as well as in and around bathtubs, clothes hampers, floor drains, pipe chases and sewers
  • In the South, this roach is abundant in alleyways, yard, hollow trees and palm trees

American roaches feed on a variety of foods, but decaying organic matter seems to be preferred. The adults can survive two or three months without food, only about a month without water.


This is one of the smaller roaches, rarely being more than 1/2 inch long. It is light brown and can be readily distinguished from the German roach by the presence of two lighter, transverse bands running from one side to the other across the base of the wings and abdomen in adults, and in the same spot on the young.


  • Both male and female are quite active and the adult males fly when disturbed
  • Both adults and nymphs may jump when attempting to escape
  • Nymphs and adults are generally found on ceilings, high on walls, behind picture frames and light fixtures, or near motors of refrigerators and other appliances
  • They do not require as much moisture as the German roach
  • They dislike light, and are not normally seen during the day

When making an inspection for brown-banded roaches, no room should be left uninspected, nor should any piece of furniture if its construction provides shelter. They are frequently transported in furniture, and will rapidly spread throughout an entire home or building.


To exterminate roaches, Roberts Termite and Pest Control uses several methods. These include clean-out methods, baiting methods or dusting. Clean-out procedures involve using a residual pesticide. These are sprayed on baseboards, underneath and behind appliances and in other areas where roaches frequent. When dealing with a severe infestation, a residual pesticide alone will not exterminate the entire roach population. Using professional aerosols and dusts enables Roberts to inject pesticides into tiny areas where your target pests are hiding. Baiting methods enables us to apply materials into cracks and crevices, appliances, in the corner of cabinets or any place where we suspect roaches are hiding.


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