Creature Feature

American Cockroach

The American cockroach is the largest pest cockroach in North America, averaging 1½ inches long. Being native to Africa, it is American in name only and was probably introduced to the United States on ships in the early 1600s. As one of the most common cockroaches on ships, it eventually spread to become a worldwide pest. 

The American cockroach is a peridomestic cockroach, which means it mostly lives outdoors but moves into structures when conditions are more favorable. Because it requires high heat and humidity, it is found outdoors in tropical and subtropical areas (i.e, the southeastern US). In cooler or drier regions, it becomes more confined to sewer and drainage systems that provide both the right environment and a food source. Large populations or heavy rainfall often force American cockroaches up into structures via open pipes or dry drains.

Cockroach gel baits that are labeled for application to sewers and floor drains are available. Make sure enough bait is provided to account for the American cockroach’s large size and appetite. Basements and crawlspaces are often invaded from underground sewer systems. A liquid residual can be applied to basement and crawlspace walls where the cockroaches tend to aggregate. Keep in mind that items stored in basements can easily become infested and introduce American cockroaches to new areas when moved.

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