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American Cockroach Prevention Tips

cockroach found on a plate of food

What exactly is an American cockroach? Well, we know one thing, they really are "American" cockroaches, and we Americans own this fact. Unlike those Germans who refer to German cockroaches as "Russian" cockroaches. These American cockroaches, which are also known as "water bugs" or "palmetto bugs" are a reddish-brown color, about 1.5 inches long or longer, and have wings, though they seldom fly. In fact, they will only fly when the temperature goes above 85 degrees, and then they are known as "flying water bugs." Young cockroaches, called nymphs, are grayish-brown and as they mature they become more reddish-brown.

The diet of an American cockroach includes many things since they are scavengers, but they prefer decaying matter. They are attracted to sweet foods, but will also feed on starchy items such as the back of wallpaper or book bindings. These cockroaches prefer temperatures around 84 degrees Fahrenheit, and as temperatures outside begin to cool down, they begin to move indoors. A female American cockroach will produce many egg capsules, each having 14-16 eggs, which will hatch in 50-55 days. They usually deposit these eggs in damp protected areas. A nymph will molt 9-13 times before reaching maturity. Typically these bugs are found in dark basements, floor drains, and crawl spaces but also can be found in high corners on walls.

How can you try to get rid of these roaches?

There are several things a homeowner can do to try to exclude American cockroaches from their home:

  • Inspect your foundation walls and use a caulking gun to seal any gaps and cracks you find.
  • Clean out all gutters and window wells, removing rotting leaves and other debris.
  • Inspect all window screens and door sweeps; make sure they are in good repair and in good working order.
  • Fix all water leaks.
  • Place screens over all overflow drains.
  • Don't allow water to collect anywhere in your yard.
  • Make sure any firewood is stored far away from your home and up off the ground.
  • Clear your yard of clutter where roaches can hide.
  • Make sure all garbage has tight fitting lids.
  • Clean your kitchen thoroughly. Pay special attention to areas between the stove and counter and under the fridge.
  • Only put pet food down at mealtimes.
  • Store food in the refrigerator or in tightly sealed containers.
  • Remove moisture in your cellar by using a dehumidifier or fans.

When you need a little more help:

American cockroaches can be very difficult to eliminate using do-it-yourself methods, since they tend to remain hidden within wall voids and other places. A trained pest control professional will inspect and find all their hiding spots, and have the specialized knowledge to completely eliminate them from your home. For over 75 years, Big Blue Bug has been providing effective residential pest control and commercial pest management solutions in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, no matter how severe the infestation.

If you need help with American cockroaches, or any other common household pest, give Big Blue Bug a call today. It is far better to live bug-free.