Cockroach Identification In South Florida

What Do Cockroaches Look Like?

Most cockroaches range in size between 1/2 to 3 inches in length. Additionally, most cockroaches are a reddish-brown or black color - with roaches that have recently molted (grown) appearing to be slightly white. The most identifiable feature of a cockroach is its shape. All cockroaches have oval-shaped bodies that appear to be flattened out, allowing them to squeeze through small, hard-to-reach places.

Cockroaches are thigmotropic which means they like the feeling of something solid on all sides of their bodies. Their flexible exoskeleton allows them to squeeze into tight places.

cockroaches on wall in south florida

What Types Of Cockroaches Are In West Palm Beach, FL?

South Florida's West Palm Beach region features four types of cockroaches that are most common - the American roach, the German roach, the Australian roach, and the brown-banded roach. Whether it is a German cockroach, American cockroach, brown-banded cockroach, or Oriental cockroach, we can help you identify cockroaches and eliminate them.

American cockroaches, more commonly known as Palmetto Bugs, are the most common cockroach that we see in South Florida. They are prevalent here due to their affinity for hot and humid places that resemble their tropical habitats of origin.

Many of the calls we receive for new service mention seeing a palmetto bug in their kitchen, bathrooms, garage, and even bedrooms. American cockroaches can grow to between 1/2 to 2 inches in length.

If you see an occasional American cockroach every month or two, they are likely entering from the exterior and are possibly hiding within the insulation in your attic. For our new West Palm Beach, FL pest control clients, we often recommend a pet safe attic dusting application to prevent American cockroaches from using their attic as harborage. This treatment also helps prevent silverfish, spiders, and ants and is a great way to obtain long lasting control of various pests.

If you see American roaches multiple times a week, there is most likely a plumbing entry point within your house allowing them access from the sewer or septic system.

There may be a plumbing entry point in your home if you recently had a remodel done, especially if the plumbing in the kitchen or bathroom was worked on. Plumbing entry points are also common in older homes, especially if cast iron pipes are present. Over many years of use, cast iron pipes deteriorate and holes in these pipes will often become entry points used by palmetto bugs and roof rats.

When an ongoing rodent or roach problem is present in a structure with cast iron pipes, we recommend a smoke test be performed by a plumbing company. This process involves a trained professional running smoke through your plumbing pipes in a way that exposes any holes that need to be repaired. We have seen smoke tests time and again find plumbing entry points.

German cockroaches are very different from American cockroaches, with the main differences being their coloration and size. Featuring the same iconic body shape, the German cockroach is smaller, growing to between 1/2 and 5/8 of an inch.

German roaches prefer to live inside and have become a major pest inside of homes, apartment buildings, and restaurants. German roaches will most likely be seen in the kitchen and bathrooms of your home, with most of them concentrated near the dishwasher, sink, and refrigerator.

German cockroaches breed rapidly and as a result, you will likely see multiple German roaches every day if they are inside your home. When infestations are really bad, we’ve seen them in the hundreds - behind picture frames and on ceilings.

A common way to identify the presence or the past presence of German roaches in a structure is to look for their fecal matter. It will often appear scattered in small dots in areas they spend most of their time. Since German roaches consume their fecal matter, we recommend a deep cleaning be performed to remove this potential food source that will continue to attract roaches.

German roaches prefer cracks and crevices, so a knowledgeable inspector will often most likely find them underneath countertops in your kitchen and bathrooms, in your refrigerator motor where condensation is present, underneath or behind your microwave, and on the hinges of your cabinets.

Often mistaken for a smaller American cockroach, the Australian cockroach is dark brown in color, growing to between 9/10 to 1-1/4 inches in length. The Australian cockroach is also distinguishable by a yellow band around the edge of the top of their head.

Fortunately, the Australian cockroach is typically found outdoors. They are often found in harborage areas like under the bark of trees, in firewood piles (make sure to keep firewood away from your home's foundation for this reason!) and in other locations with moisture. When they are found indoors, Australian cockroaches are usually also close to moisture, in areas including water pipes, sinks, toilets, and other dark and warm areas.

Since Australian cockroaches mainly live outside, the best method of cockroach control in the West Palm Beach, FL area is prevention. This includes sealing exterior entry points and eliminating areas of moisture around your house. It also includes preventative pest control applications on the exterior of the home at least quarterly, including both liquid and granular products.

The brown-banded cockroach is a small, brown cockroach that is often confused with German cockroaches because of their small size and light-brown color. At around 1/2 an inch in length, brown-banded cockroaches are most distinguishable by the light brown circle that can be found on the top of their heads.

Similar to German cockroaches, brown-banded roaches also spend their entire life indoors, making them both small domestic cockroaches. While both types of roaches are small and have similar body shapes, brown-banded cockroaches are distinguishable by the absence of two dark pronotal stripes.

These cockroaches often prefer structures that are kept relatively warm, which is another reason air conditioning in South Florida is so great! These brown-banded cockroaches are often referred to as "furniture roaches" since they are often found in areas of homes like living rooms and bedrooms and don't necessarily congregate in kitchens and bathrooms like German cockroaches. 

To control brown-banded cockroaches, you must first properly identify their presence. If you see roaches all over your kitchen and bathroom, they are likely German cockroaches. You may also want to use insect monitors (we include these monitors as part of our pest control service,) to catch and properly identify the type of roach present in your home.

Since these brown-banded cockroaches prefer cracks and crevices, caulking may help in addition to long-lasting residual pet safe pest control applications such as dusts and baits applied directly into harborage areas. It is also important to use insect growth regulators to control heavy cockroach infestations, a product that is lacking in many do-it-yourself type treatments.

Are Cockroaches Dangerous?

Cockroaches pose a lot of health risks and having them living in your home creates big dangers. Their shed skins and excrement trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks in those sensitive.

Another serious consequence of having cockroaches in your home is their ability to contaminate food and surfaces with things like E.coli, salmonella, and other bacteria that can make you ill and cause things like nausea, vomiting, fever, and diarrhea.

Damage to personal property is also a concern when it comes to cockroaches. They are scavengers and will feed on non-food items as well as food items. They will chew through and damage upholstered furniture, clothing, books, curtains, and more. They also stain surfaces with their excrement.

How Do I Know If Cockroaches Are Inside My Home?

The easiest way to know that your Palm Beach or Broward County home or business has been infested with cockroaches is to actually see one. Unfortunately, cockroaches are a nocturnal pest, meaning that they usually emerge from their hiding spots at night - making it harder for these chance encounters to occur.

Another way to determine if a cockroach infestation is present is to find their fecal matter or their egg casings. Cockroach fecal matter will vary across species, but the most common shapes and sizes would be that of smaller varieties (German) leaving “coffee grounds”-shaped droppings, and larger cockroaches (American/Oriental) leaving small cylindrical droppings.

Cockroach egg casings (known as the ootheca) can hold around 15 embryos. Cockroach egg casings are around 8mm in length and appear to look like small red beans or pill capsules.

Another sign of a cockroach infestation is noticing a strong musty odor developing where the infestation is centered. German cockroaches are well-known for producing a strong pungent odor. If you see a cockroach or find droppings or egg casings in your home, contact us today at Native Pest Management, as roaches may create up to 90 egg casings in their lifetime - and that could mean that one cockroach can create up to 1,350 offspring.

How Do I Get Rid Of Cockroaches Safely?

While people may believe the presence of roaches is indicative of uncleanliness, that usually isn’t true. Most roaches can flatten themselves to fit under doors, through window cracks, and into ventilation systems. They may also be unknowingly introduced inside of packages, grocery bags, boxes, used appliances, or potted plants. All roaches want is access to food, water, and shelter - items that your home or business will provide regardless of how clean it might be.

When you notice a cockroach in your home, contact a local South Florida pest control company like ours here at Native Pest Management. Not only do cockroaches carry diseases, but also, once in your home, can establish a large population within a very short period of time. Before a cockroach population grows in size, contact Native Pest Management.

If you found a cockroach in your home, don’t panic. Our experienced team of local pest control experts is here to help. We avoid doing any quick cockroach sprays that won’t really solve the roach problem in your home. We want to find a permanent pest control solution that will allow you to live peacefully in a home that is free of roaches. Native Pest Management utilizes pet-safe products and application methods that work. Let us help you reclaim your home from pests. Give us a call now, or contact us online to schedule your free cockroach inspection today.

We also service cities including Miami, FL, Miami Beach, FL, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Boca Raton, FL, Wellington, FL, Jupiter, FL, Port St. Lucie, FL, and Vero Beach, FL.

How Can I Prevent Cockroaches In The Future?

Implementing the following prevention tips will help to keep dangerous and destructive cockroaches out of your home or business:

  • Excellent sanitation is the best way to protect your home and property from cockroaches.
  • Wash dishes daily.
  • Regularly vacuum floors and never keep food out in the open on counters or tables.
  • Pull out and clean behind kitchen stoves and other large appliances.
  • Limit the consumption of food in your home to the kitchen and dining areas.
  • Eliminate water sources by making sure all leaking pipes, faucets, and hoses are in good working order.
  • Keep gutters and downspouts free of debris so that water doesn’t pool around your home’s foundation.
  • Seal openings in your home’s exterior walls and foundation.
  • Place covers on vents and drains.
  • Remove garbage from your home daily and place it outside in containers with locking lids until it is trash pick-up day.
  • Ensure that your garage door seal is secure and has no obvious gaps.
  • Schedule a licensed pest control company to apply quarterly preventative pest control treatments to your home's exterior foundation.

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