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Adult German cockroaches are light brown except
for the shield behind the head marked with
two dark stripes, which run lengthwise on
the body, and about 5/8 inch long. Young
roaches are wingless and nearly black with
a single light stripe running down the middle
of the back. Egg capsules(known as Oothecare) are light tan and typically measure less than a half inch long. Each egg capsule can contain up to 40 eggs. The female Roach drops the egg capsule prior to haching. Development from eggs to adults takes 3 to 4 months. Roaches live up to a year. The female Roach may produce up to eight egg capsules in a lifetime ( 300 to 400 offspring). In most cases the female Roach needs to be impregnated only once to be able to lay eggs the rest of her life.
German cockroaches, are the most common
roaches found in houses and restaurants.
Most cockroaches have a flattened, oval
shape, spiny legs, and long, filamentous
antennae. Immature stages are smaller, have
undeveloped wings and resemble the adults.
They eat food of all kinds and may hitchhike
into the house on egg cartons, soft drink
cartons, sacks of potatoes or onions, used
furniture, beer cases, etc.
They can develop into large populations
and live throughout the house, especially
in the kitchen and bathroom. During the
day, these roaches may be found hiding clustered
behind baseboard molding, in cracks around
cabinets, closets or pantries, and in and
under stoves, refrigerators and dishwashers.
When seen during the day in clusters, the
population is large.
Roaches can foul food, damage wallpaper
and books, eat glue from furniture, and
produce an unpleasant odor. Some homeowners
are allergic to roaches. The pests can contaminate
food with certain bacterial diseases that
result in food poisoning, dysentery, or
American cockroaches are reddish brown and have a
yellowish margin on the body region behind
the head. They are usually around 1 and
1/2 inches long. When disturbed, may run
rapidly and adults may fly. Immature cockroaches
resemble adults except that they are wingless.
American cockroaches generally live in
moist areas, but can survive in dry areas
if they have access to water. They prefer
warm temperatures around 84 degrees Fahrenheit
and do not tolerate cold temperatures. In
residential areas, these cockroaches live
in basements and sewers, and may move outdoors
into yards during warm weather. These cockroaches
are common in basements, crawl spaces, cracks
and crevices of porches, foundations, and
walkways adjacent to buildings. They feed
on a wide variety of plant and animal material.
The Oriental cockroach known as the "water bug,"
is more closely associated with damp areas
than the other common roaches. These insects
feed on garbage and decaying organic matter
and are often considered the filthiest of
the house-infesting roaches. They are found
in damp basements, cellars, crawl spaces,
near drains, leaky water pipes and beneath
refrigerators, sinks and washing machines,
under floors, and inside walls. They forage
mostly on first floors of buildings.
Outdoors, they are found beneath decomposing
leaves or stones in mulching materials,
in trash and at municipal sewer plants.
During the autumn, there can be a mass movement
into buildings, but because of their preference
for cooler temperatures, can be found outdoors
and in unheated buildings during the winter.
Adult Oriental cockroaches are shiny, dark
brown or black, about 1 to 1-1/4-inch long
and have nonfunctional wings incapable of
flight. Females are about 1-1/4-inch long,
broad and have only little pads for wings.
Males are about one inch long, more slender
and have wings not reaching the tip of the
abdomen. Immature roaches (nymphs) are darker
in color than adults, similarly shaped and
wingless. Egg cases are dark reddish-brown,
one inch long (largest of the common roaches),
and appear slightly inflated.
The adults are rather small cockroaches
about 5/8 inch long. The adult male is slender
in appearance with its wings extending beyond
the tip of the abdomen. Adult females have
shorter wings that expose a considerable
portion of their broad abdomens. They have
two light yellow or cream-colored bands
across their backs. These bands tend to
be hidden by the wings in the adults. The
markings of the brown-banded cockroach are
roughly crosswise while those of the German
cockroach are lengthwise.
Brown-banded cockroaches are generally
found on ceilings, high on walls, behind
picture frames, and near motors of refrigerators
and other appliances. They are also found
in light switches, closets and furniture.
They do not require as much moisture as
the German cockroach which explains why
they normally are found in rooms other than
the kitchen or bathroom. These cockroaches
dislike light and are not normally seen
during the day.
Wood Roach (Pennsylvania)
Wood cockroaches, also known as wood roaches,
are common outdoor dwelling insects native
to North America and found throughout Iowa.
Their normal habitat is moist woodland areas
but they frequently become a household nuisance
because they wander into or are carried
into houses as "accidental invaders."
Wood roaches are very similar in appearance
to the common household cockroach called
the American roach; flat, oval body, long
antennae, spiny legs, chestnut brown color.
However, wood roaches are slightly smaller,
about 3/4 to 1 1/4 inch long, and the adults,
especially the males, appear tan because
of the color of their wings. Adults and
large nymphs of the wood roach can be recognized
by a pale, creamy white or transparent stripe
on the outer edge on the thorax. The pale
edge extends onto the first 1/3 of the front
wings of the adults. Positive identification
of small nymphs is more difficult and usually
requires microscopic examination.
Wood roaches that have wandered into the
house usually behave differently than the
household roaches. Wood roaches are not
secretive; they are active both during the
day and at night and they are less likely
to scamper out of sight when approached.
Also, they will wander about the house without
congregating in any particular location.