Despite popular myth, cockroaches cannot survive a nuclear strike. However, they can survive up to a month without food.This means that if you try to treat cockroaches without physically eliminating every single one of them, you run the risk of re-infestation. Considering one cockroach can produce hundreds of babies in a year, failure to eliminate a cockroach problem can quickly get out of hand.To prepare yourself for a cockroach infestation, it pays to learn as much about cockroaches as possible, including their habits, how they look, and where they dwell. This guide will give you everything you need to know to identify, treat, and prevent cockroaches in your home. 

Identifying Cockroaches

Cockroaches have distinct flat and oval-shaped bodies with six legs, making them easy to identify. 

However, cockroaches can also be confused with many other common bugs, such as Beetles. Here are a few identifying features of cockroaches:

  • Size: Cockroaches typically range in size from about 0.5 to 2 inches (1.3 to 5 cm) in length, although some species can be larger.
  • Color: Cockroaches can be brown, black, or tan. The color might vary depending on the species and whether they’re adults or nymphs (young cockroaches).
  • Body Shape: In addition to their oval-shaped body, cockroaches have a small head and long, flexible antennae.

Wings: Most cockroach species have wings, but not all of them can fly. Some species have well-developed wings that allow them to fly short distances, while others have short wings or are wingless.

Learn about cockroaches in Maryland.

Types of Cockroaches in Maryland

The most common species of cockroaches found invading homes and businesses in Maryland include the American cockroach, German cockroach, and Oriental cockroach.

German Cockroaches

German cockroaches have two distinct black stripes running horizontally down behind their heads, which helps to identify this species. They like living indoors and commonly invade restaurants and homes.

American Cockroaches

American cockroaches are large in size and are considered to be the largest house-invading cockroach. They have a distinct, yellowish-colored figure-eight pattern located behind their heads. These cockroaches prefer to live outside.

Oriental Cockroaches

Oriental cockroaches, or “water bugs,” have smooth, shiny bodies and are black or dark brown. Adults grow to about 1 inch in length. This species of cockroach emits a powerfully unpleasant, musty smell and mostly lives in basements and wet areas of the home. 

Signs of Cockroaches in Your House

Cockroaches live and nest in a variety of places. They prefer to live and feed in the dark, which makes spotting them much more difficult. 

However, spotting a cockroach in your house during the day could indicate a sizable infestation, as cockroaches are forced to travel elsewhere as they out-reproduce their habitats. 

Some other signs of cockroaches might include:

  • Droppings: Cockroach droppings look like small, dark, and cylindrical pellets. The size and appearance can vary depending on the species of cockroach. You might find these droppings in areas where cockroaches are active, such as near food sources, in cabinets, or along baseboards.
  • Smear Marks: Cockroaches often leave oily or greasy smear marks on surfaces as they crawl. These marks can appear as dark streaks or smudges along walls, floors, or other surfaces.
  • Egg Cases: Cockroach egg cases, also known as ootheca, are usually brown or tan and can be found in hidden areas. These cases contain multiple eggs and are often indicative of an active infestation.
  • Shed Skin: As cockroaches grow, they shed their exoskeletons. Finding these discarded skins around your home can be a sign that cockroaches are present.
  • Unpleasant Odor: Some species of cockroaches emit a distinct, musty odor. If you notice an unusual and unpleasant smell in areas of your home, it could be a sign of a cockroach infestation.

Where Do Cockroaches Dwell In Your Home?

Outside, cockroaches nest in flower beds, underneath mulch, inside sewer systems, underneath rocks, in potted plants, behind tree bark, and in piles of firewood. 

Cockroaches that find their way inside nest in warm, dark, humid places, such as underneath bathroom or kitchen sinks, in basements, in crawl spaces, behind large appliances, in cabinets or drawers, and in laundry rooms.

Are Cockroaches Dangerous?

Cockroaches are dangerous pests to have in any home or business. Here are a few reasons why:

  • They spread a wide variety of diseases and infections, including dysentery, salmonellosis, gastroenteritis, and E. coli.
  • Cockroach feces, saliva, and sheddings can trigger allergies and asthma attacks, especially in young children.
  • Inside homes and businesses, roaches contaminate food sources, food prep areas, utensils, and many other areas of your home with their saliva and excrement.
  • Cockroaches rarely bite people. However, in the case of a large infestation, cockroach bites can occur.

Why Do I Have a Cockroach Problem?

Part of prevention is understanding what attracts cockroaches in the first place. There are many reasons you have cockroaches, most likely due to cleanliness, but not always. 

Cockroaches are attracted to properties with easy access to food, water, and shelter. Leaky pipes and fixtures, open trash containers, compost piles, pet food, crumbs and spills, and dirty dishes are all things that make homes and businesses attractive to roaches.

Cockroaches enter homes through open drains, gaps around windows, torn screens, or spaces between your foundation and exterior walls. In rare cases, they can accidentally be brought inside in deliveries and packages, on potted plants, or even on the bottoms of people’s shoes.

Therefore, whenever you treat a cockroach infestation, it’s also essential to plug up or treat the source of the problem. 

How Can I Prevent Cockroaches in the Future?

Treating cockroaches once they infest your home can be nearly impossible on your own. While preventing cockroaches can be a difficult task, there are several things you can do in and around your home or business to keep them out:

  • Put into place a professional residential or commercial cockroach control program (more below).
  • Perform regular annual inspections using a pest control company. 
  • Seal gaps or cracks in the foundation and exterior walls of your structure.
  • Place weather stripping around all exterior windows and doors.
  • Remove sources of water around your property.
  • Make sure that outdoor trash cans have locking lids placed on them.
  • Inside your home or business, keep all food (including pet food) in airtight containers or in the refrigerator.
  • Wash dirty dishes often.
  • Remove trash daily.
  • Vacuum regularly.
  • Use dehumidifiers to reduce moisture levels.
  • Fix any leaks leading to excess moisture.
  • Keep yards trimmed and free of clutter. 

Read More: Cockroach Prevention.

How Do I Get Rid of Cockroaches?

There are some DIY products, including cockroach baits and traps, designed to get rid of cockroaches, though they work to varying degrees. Examples include:

  • Bait Stations: Use cockroach bait stations containing poison to attract and kill cockroaches. Place them in areas of high activity.
  • Gel Baits: Apply gel bait in cracks and crevices. Cockroaches consume it and carry the poison back to their nests, affecting the entire population.
  • Diatomaceous Earth: Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth in infested areas. Its abrasive particles damage cockroach exoskeletons, leading to dehydration.
  • Sticky Traps: Set up sticky traps to capture cockroaches. Place them near hiding spots to monitor activity.
  • Soap and Water Spray: Mix soap and water to create a spray that suffocates cockroaches upon contact.
  • Essential Oils: Some essential oils like peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus can repel cockroaches. Mix them with water and spray around infested areas.
  • Sealing Entry Points: Seal cracks, crevices, and gaps in walls, floors, and pipes to prevent cockroaches from entering.

However, to get rid of cockroaches entirely from your home or business and prevent a re-infestation, you should partner with a knowledgeable professional. 

At Pest Czar, our local and experienced professionals can provide comprehensive pest control services that find and eliminate all the cockroaches living in your home or business. 

We prevent reentry by implementing one of our GreenPro-certified pest protection plans. For exceptional, eco-friendly cockroach control services in the Baltimore Metro area of Maryland, call Pest Czar!

FAQs: Cockroach Guide

What are the common types of cockroaches found in homes?

Several common types of cockroaches are found in homes, including the German cockroach, American cockroach, and Oriental cockroach. Each species has distinct characteristics and habits that influence where they are found and how they behave.

How do I get rid of cockroaches if I already have an infestation?

If you have a cockroach infestation, consider the following steps:

  • Use cockroach baits and traps to reduce their population.
  • Apply insecticide to areas where cockroaches are active, but use them safely and according to instructions.
  • Keep your home clean and dry, as cockroaches thrive in moist environments.
  • Seek professional pest control services for severe infestations.

Can cockroaches fly, and are they nocturnal insects?

While many cockroach species have wings, not all of them can fly well. Some species, like the American cockroach, can fly short distances, while others are primarily ground-dwellers. 

Cockroaches are indeed nocturnal insects, meaning they are most active at night and prefer dark environments. Seeing them during the day could indicate a larger infestation.

Remember that effective cockroach control involves a combination of prevention, sanitation, and sometimes professional assistance. 

If you’re dealing with a persistent infestation, it’s recommended to consult with a pest control expert for the best approach.

What health risks are associated with cockroach infestations?

Cockroach infestations can pose health risks as they can carry disease-causing pathogens. Their droppings, shed skins, and saliva can trigger allergies and asthma in some individuals. 

Cockroaches are known to spread bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli, which can lead to food poisoning and other illnesses.

Helpful Articles

7 Reasons You Have Cockroaches In Your House

What to Do When Creepy Cockroaches Breach Your Home

A Useful Guide To Effective Cockroach Control For Your Home

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