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Problems Cockroaches Cause In Rhode Island Homes

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Problems Cockroaches Cause In Rhode Island Homes

In Rhode Island, the two cockroach species that give us the most problems are American cockroaches and German cockroaches. They share many of the same traits and cause many of the same problems but there are some differences. Let's take a close look at them, and see what we can learn that will protect our Rhode Island Homes from cockroach invasion.

The American Cockroach Periplaneta americana (L.)

Of all the cockroaches that infest homes, the American cockroach is the largest. These roaches range in size from 1 ¼" to 2 ⅛". Fortunately, we don't see a lot of 2-inch cockroaches here in Rhode Island. They are typically a sickly chestnut color with a yellowish or tan pattern on their backs that look like the number 8--or an infinity symbol, if you prefer. An infinity symbol is certainly more appropriate. There are a lot of American cockroaches in the world! Like all insects, the American cockroach has six legs, two antennae, and three body parts. And this cockroach species, when it reaches its adult stage, is capable of short flights.

You're most likely to find the American cockroach outside because they prefer moisture, but it is not uncommon to find them inside, in great numbers. They are usually driven into a home when food sources outside are scarce, or when there is an unfavorable change in climate. When they get in, they will gravitate to locations that are moist, dark, and between 70°F and 80°F.


  • Their large size makes this species of cockroach more of a vehicle for harmful bacteria. When they get into your trash and then walk all over your dishes, it is easier for illness to spread.
  • Their large size makes them much more startling when they appear on a wall of your home.

The German Cockroach Blattella germanica

This cockroach species is considered to be the most successful of all cockroaches. This is because German cockroaches don't require as much moisture as other roaches, and are able to cohabitate easily with humans. So, it is not surprising that they can be found in all 50 states, and in every country in the world. This roach ranges in size from ½" to ⅝", is tan colored with two dark lines on the back of its head, and has a shiny appearance. Like the American cockroach, it has six legs, two antennae, and three body parts. And, while German cockroaches have wings, the rarely take flight.

When German cockroaches get into a home, they find the happiest place on Earth. They love everything about your home. But they will be particularly drawn to your kitchen, pantry, and areas where food is stored or organic food matter can be found.


  • Their tiny size makes these cockroaches hard to keep out. A German cockroach nymph can fit through the hole in your outlet. This tiny size also gives them easier access once they get into a home.
  • German roaches reproduce quickly. A single female can produce as many 320 offspring in her lifetime. When compared to the 224 offspring of an American cockroach, you can see why it is best to keep this roach out.
  • Female roaches of this species keep their eggs on their backs. If you step on a German cockroach, it is possible to carry her eggs to another location, and these eggs don't need the mother to hatch.
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General Cockroach Problems

  • Cockroaches are known to carry parasitic worms and over 33 human pathogens.
  • Cockroaches are directly linked to an increase in asthma in urban centers.
  • Cockroaches are dirty insects that prefer dirty, bacteria-laden areas. They can be found in the grease on the side of your oven, in the stickiness under your refrigerator, on your toilet rim, in your dirty drains, and inside your trash can. They go from these places to your food storage, dish storage, and perch on your toothbrush.
  • When populations increase, cockroaches may begin to bite. Bites from cockroaches can become immediately infected because of harmful bacteria on the roach that is doing the biting. These bites are usually on eyelids. Cockroaches love to nibble on eyelashes.
  • Cockroaches stink. Literally. If you have roaches, you're likely to notice the pungent aroma.
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