Manatee County Homeowners' Complete Guide To American Cockroaches 


The American cockroach, Periplaneta americana (Linnaeus), also called a palmetto bug, is actually from Asia. It may have come to North America as early as 1625. American cockroaches are present throughout Manatee County and are often found in homes or commercial buildings. These pests prefer to live outside but will wander inside to seek food, water, and shelter from adverse weather. 

an american cockroach crawling on food

The Lifecycle of American Cockroaches

American cockroaches produce a purse-shaped egg case about a week after mating. During the prime of her life, a cockroach may produce two of these egg cases a week, with sixteen eggs per case. On average, however, the female only lays one case per month. The hard egg case is brown when first laid and turns to black within two or three days. It is usually found in moist places near food. 
American cockroaches are born as instars, or nymphs, and go through six to fourteen molts. The first nymph emerges from the egg case as a white pest turning to grayish brown. Each molt sees the cockroach turning more reddish-brown. At maturity, the cockroach is reddish-brown with a pale brown or yellow band around the head. It is one to two inches long. The nymphs do not have wings, but adults do. Adults rarely fly, however. From egg to adult may take as long as 600 days. The adults may live another 400 days after they reach maturity. Each female cockroach can produce about 150 young during her life. 
American cockroaches are omnivores. They prefer decaying organic matter but will eat almost anything available. Cockroaches love sweets.  

Why American Cockroaches Are Dangerous

Cockroaches spend a lot of time in sewage tunnels, latrines, and other unsanitary areas. They bring diseases from those places into your home or building. In fact, at least 22 different types of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoans have been found in wild cockroaches. Scientists have also found at least five types of worms in wild cockroaches. 
In addition to these health problems, cockroaches can cause asthma attacks. Cockroaches also leave behind feces and regurgitation of food.  

DIY American Cockroach Relief

It is much easier to prevent a cockroach infestation than to exterminate one. To prevent an infestation, you need to do these things:

  • Exclude cockroaches 
  • Eliminate food sources 
  • Eliminate water sources 
  • Eliminate places to live

Exclusion is necessary to keep cockroaches out. Seal as many cracks and crevices as you can with gel bait. Seal around pipes and electrical outlets. Make sure your doors, windows, and screens are tight. Attic vents and chimneys need to have screening small enough to keep cockroaches out.

To eliminate food for cockroaches, seal it in cockroach proof containers. Make sure the garbage can has a good lid and keep it clean. Wash dishes immediately after use. Vacuum crumbs up regularly. Pick up pet food each night to remove it as a food source. Keep the pet food in a roach proof container.

Pick up water bowls nightly. Wipe up spills immediately. Make sure pipes do not drip or provide a puddle for cockroaches to drink from. As much as possible, eliminate moist, dark areas for cockroaches to live in.  
Pick up clutter and remove mulch and compost from around the foundation of your home to make it harder for cockroaches to live there. Vacuum frequently to remove food particles from the home. Cockroaches love papers, magazines, and books so make sure these are secured away from their reach.

Professional Help for Cockroaches

Getting rid of cockroaches once they are in your house is difficult. Keller’s Pest Control can help you. When you call, a technician will come to do a free inspection and estimate. They will inspect the inside and outside of your home. At that visit, they will use sprays and baits to control the cockroaches inside and out. The technicians at Keller’s Pest Control have access to chemicals that are more successful at killing cockroaches. We will come out quarterly to renew the baits and sprays to keep cockroaches from coming back. Call us at (941) 260-2077 today to schedule an inspection. 

Tags: home pest control | pest prevention | cockroaches |


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