Important Cockroach Facts Every Homeowner Should Know

upside down cockroach

Any South Florida native knows that cockroaches are a major pest to deal with. But there are also quite a few really interesting things about cockroaches - facts to spark your curiosity and facts that might help you eliminate the cockroaches in your home.

There are over 1,000 species of cockroaches, but the most common ones are American cockroaches, German cockroaches, brown-banded cockroaches and Australian cockroaches. 

If you’re trying to identify, get rid of, or prevent the cockroaches in your home, your golden ticket is below! Keep reading to learn the most interesting and helpful facts about cockroaches in West Palm Beach, FL.

The Origin of Cockroaches

You might know that cockroaches are old, but how old are they really? Many historians believe that cockroaches could be about 300 million years old! 

Cockroaches evolved from an ancient species called the proto-cockroach, also called the Blattoptera, which existed during the Carboniferous period of the Paleozoic era. The world was swampy and humid during this time, producing lots and lots of oxygen. 

Because of these oxygen levels, insects were way larger than they are today. In fact, the proto-cockroach was around twice the size of most cockroaches today. 

There was also a millipede species about 7.5 feet long, but that’s beside the point. 

Keep in mind, most cockroaches are about 1.4-1.6 inches in length. The largest proto-cockroach ever recorded from fossils was 3.5 inches long. 

So if you’re spooked by cockroaches today, just be glad you’re living in the twenty-first century earth and not the bug palooza that was Carboniferous earth. 

Fast Facts About Cockroaches

  • A cockroach can hold its breath for up to 40 minutes! The longest recorded time a human has held their breath is 11 minutes and 34 seconds.
  • A cockroach can live a week without its head. 
  • They have blood, but you won’t see any if you crush it. They can’t bleed out and their blood is also usually colorless, or sometimes yellow or orange.
  • Cockroaches might be first to show up to your next big tailgate. They’re attracted to alcohol, especially beer, because of the sugar and hops.
  • Cockroaches can survive for weeks without food, but only one without water.
  • They don’t have noses or mouths, so they actually breathe through pores on their body called spiracles.
  • Cockroaches can technically bite if there’s a big enough infestation to cause a food shortage, but they probably won’t.
  • Most cockroaches have wings and can fly, but not very well - their flying is more of a glide. 

American Cockroach Facts You Should Know

  • The American cockroach was most likely first brought to the United States from Africa around 1625, and has been spread through commerce.
  • Have you ever heard someone call a big cockroach a palmetto bug? That’s another name for the American cockroach.
  • They can be identified by their color and unique marks. They have reddish-brown bodies and unique yellow figure-eight marks on their heads.
  • Because of their tiny legs compared to their bodies, they have to cling for dear life to every surface they walk across. This explains why they are usually found on their backs after they die - they don’t have the strength to grab onto anything.
  • Their speed enhances their scary reputation. American cockroaches can move as fast as 5 feet per second!

Important Facts About German Cockroaches

  • You might have roommates you’ve never met. German cockroaches would much rather live inside houses and apartments than in the wild.
  • German cockroaches are quite a bit smaller than their American counterparts. They grow just between 1/2 and 5/8 of an inch.
  • They’re either tan or light brown. Most have two dark stripes behind their heads.
  • They’re anything but claustrophobic. You can even find them in weird spots like refrigerator motors and cabinet hinges.
  • German cockroaches run fast, but it’s not their speed that keeps them out of sight. They typically emerge from their hiding places when it’s dark.
  • These roaches breed so fast that some infestations have seen their numbers reach the hundreds.

A Few Facts about Brown-Banded Cockroaches

  • Their name says it all. You can tell a brown-banded cockroach by the light-brown circle on the top of its head.
  • Identifying brown-banded roaches can still be challenging. Often mistaken for German cockroaches, brown-banded cockroaches also grow to ½ an inch.
  • Size is not the only thing German roaches and brown-banded roaches have in common. Brown-banded cockroaches prefer to stay inside as much as possible.
  • They prefer warm locations. This means your AC can be a weapon for brown-banded cockroaches.
  • Brown-banded cockroaches are sometimes known as furniture roaches. Unlike German roaches, these pests tend to stay in living rooms and bedrooms, not kitchens and bathrooms.

What You Should Know About Australian Cockroaches

  • Ironically, scientists believe Australian cockroaches come from Africa, not Australia. 
    Australian cockroaches can live up to 18 months.
  • There’s a chance you see one and think it’s an American Cockroach, but here’s the difference: They’re a little smaller and have different yellow marks.
  • Australian cockroaches are about 1 ¼ inch long.
  • They have light yellow stripes along the front edges of their wings.
  • Unlike German cockroaches, Australian cockroaches like living outside under tree bark, in firewood piles and other moist areas like by your pool or hot tub.
  • Their preferred snacks are dead plants.
  • But that doesn’t mean they won’t take up the chance to check out your home. They like dark and moist areas, so you could run into one looking in your cupboards, sinks or checking water pipes.
  • They’re the best fliers of the four. Their wings are fully developed, so they’ll fly if they find themselves in danger, or to find food. 

The Risk of Cockroaches

Just like humans can spread the flu, cockroaches spread illnesses too. If they’re hanging out around a kitchen they can actually contaminate the food in reach.

This is because there’s a good chance they came to your house through the sewers, and as they travel, their bodies pick up the bacteria. When they scurry across your kitchen counters and any exposed food, they’ll spread this bacteria around. 

That’s why if you suspect there might be a cockroach infestation in your home, you should definitely address it as soon as you can, so you don’t have to worry about what cockroaches might be carrying around.

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches in West Palm Beach, FL 

The two big things that cockroaches are attracted to in your home are food and moisture, so the areas that you’ll want to target are kitchens, bathrooms and attics. 

If you have humidity issues in your home, you want to address them. Humidity creates moisture and moisture makes your home into the perfect meeting spot for all your roach buddies.

Here are some signs you might have a humidity problem in your house:

  • Foggy windows
  • Mildew smell
  • Visible mold
  • Rotting wood
  • Worsening allergies 

To get rid of cockroaches, you’ll want to fix these humidity flare-ups. Consider buying a dehumidifier, turning the AC up, fixing faulty plumbing or taking colder showers. 

You might find that your roach problem goes away! 

The other big cockroach attractor is food: Crumbs, spills, or food left out overnight could be giving the roaches the green light that they should stay in your home. 

So, to keep your home from becoming a lighthouse for cockroaches, the best thing you can do is thoroughly clean your home often. 

Have you ever heard that essential oils and citrus repel roaches? While that would be great news, this is a myth that has been debunked. 

So before you put lavender sprigs, eucalyptus leaves or lemon peels around your house, the only tried and true methods of killing roaches are baits. 

Boric acid is one of the most common cockroach baits, but if you have pets, this isn’t the best solution. Boric acid is toxic and potentially fatal for your fur babies, as well as humans. 

You can also use a substance called diatomaceous Earth. This is a powder made from diatoms, which are basically ground up algae fossils. 

When cockroaches find Diatomaceous Earth, it essentially dries them out and dehydrates them. The powder is sharp and crystal-like which scrapes away the exoskeleton that maintains their moisture. 

You just have to make sure to use a lot, and get them to walk directly in it, and have patience as it’s not an immediate killer. 

And only buy the “Food Grade” version, don’t buy “Pool Grade” Diatomaceous Earth. This version can be hurtful if you inhale it. 

The only downside to these is they may not work as fast as you think. If you want to protect your home from cockroaches in West Palm Beach quickly and effectively, consider hiring a pest control service. 

Native Pest Management knows exactly how to handle the roaches in your home so you don’t have to worry about it. Call us today for more information and to receive a free quote! 

How to Prevent Roach Infestations in West Palm Beach

The two essentials of preventing cockroaches from taking over your home are to keep your property dry and clean. However, your best efforts can be in vain if the roaches are determined and desperate enough to find shelter within the walls of your house.

Especially for cockroaches that mostly live outside like American cockroaches and Australian cockroaches, sealing entry points is essential for prevention. Common ways cockroaches will find themselves in your home are through faulty pipes, cracks and crevices. 

You can fix these by sealing them with caulk and eliminating excess moisture. 

To sum it up, if you suspect cockroaches are dulling your paradise, you should:

  • Fix any faulty plumbing.
  • Immediately wipe up food and drink spills.
  • Keep your crawl spaces ventilated and cooler.
  • Regularly clean your home.
  • Try natural baits like baking soda, or baits like Diatomaceous Earth or boric acid with *extreme* caution.
  • Call Native Pest Management for a free quote.

Cockroach Control in West Palm Beach

What can you do if you can’t get rid of the roaches in your house? What if you have tried every do-it-yourself method and nothing works? Do you have the time and patience to keep trying?

The good news is that you don’t have to cockroach-proof your house all by yourself, there’s another solution. 

This solution, which is the fastest and easiest solution, is looking into professional cockroach control in West Palm Beach, FL. 

Native Pest Management is committed to pet friendly and eco-friendly pest control practices to give you, your family, and your pets the peace of mind that the cockroaches in your home will be gone for good.  

No matter the roach species, we know the action to take so your home feels your perfect paradise again. 

Our track record speaks for itself. Since 2015, we’ve helped homeowners like you manage all of the pests that love South Florida. Our comprehensive pest control has been commended in over 2,000 customer reviews. We’ve won several awards for our customer service and expertise. 

In 2021, we earned the Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Ethics. We’ve also been presented in local media, receiving attention from The Palm Beach Daily News, The Palm Beach Post, and CBS News Channel 12.

Request your free quote below or call us today to learn more about our cockroach control services in West Palm Beach Florida! 

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