Cockroach Identification & Prevention Guide

What are cockroaches?

Cockroaches are very adaptable insects that live in a wide variety of indoor and outdoor environments. These primitive insects are scavengers and many species prefer to live near people. The size and color of a cockroach vary depending on its species, but most have flattened, oval-shaped bodies with six legs covered in spines, and antennae that are about the same length or longer than their bodies. Some species of cockroaches have fully-developed wings and are capable of flight.

a cockroach crawling on a branch outside of a home in pflugerville texas

Listed below are three of the most common species of cockroaches living throughout Greater Austin, Texas:

American cockroaches
American cockroaches are the largest species of cockroach to invade homes in the U.S. and grow to between 1/4 and 2-1/8 inches in length. Their bodies are reddish-brown, and they have a yellow figure-eight pattern on their backs.

Brown-banded cockroaches
Brown-banded cockroaches have dark brown bodies with lighter-colored bands. Males have fully developed wings and are capable of flight, but females have underdeveloped wings and are not able to fly.

German cockroaches
German cockroaches are a small, fast-moving species of cockroaches. They have light brown to tan-colored bodies with two horizontal black stripes behind their heads. These cockroaches do not fly, but move very quickly and scatter when disturbed.

Are cockroaches dangerous?

Cockroaches are significant pests in homes, hospitals, restaurants, warehouses, and other buildings where food is stored and handled. Cockroaches destroy fabric and paper products, and they secrete a substance that stains surfaces and produces a bad odor. The major problem cockroaches cause, however, is food contamination and the spread of disease. Cockroaches live and travel in less-than-sanitary conditions where they pick up bacteria, human pathogens, and parasites on their bodies and legs. Cockroaches spread things like E.coli and salmonella, which make people very ill. Their excrement and shed skins trigger allergies and asthma attacks, especially in young children and the elderly.

Why do I have a cockroach problem?

Cockroaches find their way inside in a variety of different ways. They often enter through openings in the exterior while out foraging for food and water, and some species are highly attracted to houses by outdoor lighting. Another common way cockroaches get into a home is by hitchhiking their way inside in bags, boxes, furniture, or used appliances.

Where will I find cockroaches?

Cockroaches live in a variety of indoor and outdoor locations. Inside, most species choose nesting locations that are humid. Areas behind appliances, in drawers, under cabinets, and around pipes and drains are common indoor nesting spots. Outdoor nesting spots include behind tree bark, in compost piles, under mulch, in garden beds, around dumpsters or trash cans, and in sewers. American cockroaches prefer to live outside, only occasionally making their way inside to nest; German cockroaches, in contrast, prefer to live indoors. The brown-banded cockroach differs from most species in that they prefer nesting spots that are in hot, dry locations.

How do I get rid of cockroaches?

At Roberts Termite & Pest Control, we have been providing high-quality pest control here in Austin, TX for over 60 years. Our technicians use environmentally friendly products and advanced techniques to get rid of cockroaches and other common pests. Through quality customer service and flexible scheduling, we work with you to meet your unique pest control needs. Learn more about our cockroach control services or schedule a free consultation by reaching out to Roberts Pest Control today!

How can I prevent cockroaches in the future?

In addition to our professional services, the following prevention tips will help you to prevent problems with cockroaches in your home or business:

  • Limit entry points by sealing any gaps or cracks in the foundation and exterior walls of your home or business.

  • Place a barrier of stone or crushed rock between any mulch or soil and your foundation.

  • Make sure gutters are clear of debris and directing water away from your property.

  • Make sure outdoor trash cans and compost bins have locking lids.

  • Install door sweeps on exterior doors.

  • Keep outdoor eating areas free of food debris.

  • Store all food, including pet food, in airtight containers or inside the refrigerator.

  • Fix leaky pipes and fixtures, and use dehumidifiers to reduce moisture levels indoors.

  • Place weatherstripping around windows and doors, and replace any torn window or door screens.

  • Replace white outdoor light bulbs with yellow or LED lights that are less attractive to cockroaches and other insects.


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