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What Does Finding a Baby Cockroach Mean? Don’t Panic, but…

What’s scarier than 13 cockroaches scurrying across the wall?  Answer: Finding a single baby cockroach.  If you are ever unlucky enough to set your eyes on a white cockroach nymph (often confused with albino cockroaches) then you can safely assume that the presence of this one immature roach baby means a hundred more hidden roaches you cannot see are creeping around somewhere. You quickly realize cockroaches have become comfortable enough to breed freely in your home. Baby cockroaches are really bad news for home owners!

Why?  Keep reading to find out all the details, but it basically, finding baby roaches in your home or apartment means several cockroaches (likely 10 or possibly much more!) are planning on staying and spreading in your house or apartment unless you do something about it quickly!

How do cockroaches reproduce so fast?

It all starts with an adult female cockroach releasing pheromones to attract males. They mate and the female stores the sperm for egg production. About a week after initially mating, she will produce her first ootheca or egg pouch. These pouches can hold about 16 eggs each and a female in her prime will produce one or two per week, averaging one per month throughout her life cycle. American cockroaches have a life expectancy of a year up to a year and a half. You can see how this is a very efficient way of bringing hundreds of roaches into the world with minimal effort on the mother’s part. One adult female is responsible for adding a couple of hundred baby roaches to the population of which roughly half again will be female and thus the cycle continues.

American cockroach females deposit the egg pouches rather quickly, while female German cockroaches carry the pouch around attached to their abdomen for a few days before finding a suitable hiding place to deposit it. The numbers of offspring they can produce also varies largely. Where a German cockroach and her line can produce a staggering 300,000 new roaches, the American cockroach only brings up about 800 in one year. It is, therefore, no surprise the German cockroach is one of the most prolific pests in the world today.

What happens after the babies hatch?

The baby roaches, or nymphs remain in the egg pouch for about three weeks but can take up to two months to hatch, depending on species and environmental conditions. They emerge as white nymphs, and it takes a few minutes for them to gain use of their limbs. They darken into the brown roach color after a few hours.

Freshly hatched cockroaches and each molting stage thereafter are called instar nymphs until they reach adulthood. The nymphs move around soon after hatching looking for their first meal. Since cockroaches are insects, they cannot grow without shedding their skin. A cockroach nymph has to molt several times during the growth process and it takes about a year for a cockroach to be fully grown into adulthood.

 

Each molt means the cockroach has to grow a new skin underneath the old one, which then splits open and the newly formed roach in its next growth stage emerges. Cockroaches are white and soft immediately upon molting, just like the babies that just hatched from their egg pouch. It’s not uncommon to find a white roach in a home that’s heavily infested but due to the fact that nymphs are most vulnerable right after molting, they usually tend to molt deep within their harborage area.

Adult cockroaches have wings and depending on the species; they will sometimes fly or glide. Nymphs don’t have this luxury. Cockroaches don’t develop their wings until the final molting stage into adulthood.

What to do if you see a baby cockroach

Spotting a cockroach nymph is a good indicator that you have a well established colony inhabiting your home.

The nymphs are comfortable enough, and the population is prolific enough for the juveniles to not feel threatened by leaving the safety of the nest.  This is obviously not a good sign for your home. The best way to deal with a prolific roach infestation like this is to kill them right at the heart of their harborage. The simple act of trapping and killing roaches that may wander through your home is not enough to stem the flow of newborn babies and eggs that are still hatching at the nesting area.

 

Different types of bait are designed to not instantly kill the roaches on contact but to be carried back into their hiding places where they are intended to be ingested by other individuals in the colony.

The simple act of killing roaches that may wander through your home is not enough to stem the flow of new baby roaches that come from their harborage.

It’s important to take advantage of the roaches propensity to eat dead or dying individuals in an attempt to keep the safe haven clear of carcasses and debris. This just results in the pesticide getting spread further around the colony. If left alone at this stage, a mature colony may quickly rebound because eggs may hatch on a delayed schedule after bait is distributed and dissipates through the colony.

The types of roach bait available over the counter are often times not strong enough to eliminate a full blown infestation and more aggressive pest control is necessary. A trained professional has access to a much larger arsenal and can combine different methods, such as fumigation, bait and trap, to eliminate an overwhelming roach problem once and for all. A multi-prong attack strategy is usually the only way to ensure success.

Baby Cockroach Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Do cockroach mothers take care of their cockroach babies?

  2. Why are baby cockroaches called “nymphs”?

  3. What do roach nymphs look like?

  4. My house is very clean but I found a baby cockroach in my kitchen yesterday… how did this happen?

  5. I found a baby cockroach in my house, does this mean I have a roach infestation?

  6. How small can baby cockroaches be?

  7. What do cockroach eggs look like?  Can you see them with the naked eye?

  8. Is this a Silverfish or a baby cockroach?

  9. How many baby cockroaches does a female cockroach usually have?

  10. How long does it take cockroach nymphs to reach maturity?

  11. How can baby cockroaches get inside a human ear?

  12. Can cockroaches hurt my baby?

  13. Is this a baby cockroach on my bed?  I think I found one crawling on my mattress!

  14. Can baby cockroaches jump or hop or could this be a springtail?

  15. What does it mean if I found baby cockroaches in my bathroom?

Additional Resources About Cockroach Nymphs

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches in an Apartment Building & Appartment Units

Roaches can vary; they can be large, small, alone or in groups. They are all incredibly quick and sneaky making them difficult to get rid of. They are one of the most adaptable and efficient insects and breed very fast. One huge problem of having a roach problem in an apartment complex is that you are the mercy of the other tenants. Others living habits will affect the success of you getting rid of the ones in your apartment. There are some measures you can take to get rid of them and do your best to prevent more from coming.

Locate Where the Cockroaches are In Your Apartment

Setting traps will identify how large of a problem you have with roaches. It will also show you where they are gathering. There are inexpensive sticky roach traps you can purchase from local hardware stores to set out to capture them. You can also make your own traps with petroleum jelly and bread. By coating the jar in the jelly and placing the bread inside, the roach will go in for the bread and the jelly will prevent it from escaping.

Put the traps randomly around your apartment; in corners, under furniture, and inside cabinets. The roach normally travels along the edges of floors and furniture avoiding being out in the middle of rooms. Leave the traps out for a good day and see where the most have been trapped. Dispose of the traps you’ve purchased and if you’ve used the jar and bread, kill those roaches by filling the jar with warm soapy water.

Get rid of the Cockroaches

Now that you’ve located where most of the roaches are residing in your apartment; you can start the process of eliminating them. Begin with a natural insecticidal dust. The most effective are:

These contain a natural killer of insects but will not harm mammals and will be safe to use if you have a pet.

Pour the dust you’ve chosen lightly on surfaces where the roaches are the heaviest. The borax works well because it poisons the roach and the diatomaceous dust will actually work more quickly as it gets in the insects shell at the joints and pores. The roach cannot develop a resistance to either of these products.

Here is a boric acid recipe one frustrated roach hater came up with that worked well:

  1. Boric acid powder
  2. Karo syrup (or other sweetener such as peanut butter, honey etc.)
  3. Rice Flour (any kind will actually work)
  4. One Popsicle stick
  5. One mixing bowl

To make the recipe you put two parts of the boric acid with one part flour and enough Karo syrup or other sweetener of choice and mix until a thickish consistency. The roach will find the disguised boric acid and with the sweetener added; eat it and get poisoned. If you have pets it should be inside a trap that your pet cannot get into because just as the sweetener fools the roach; it will fool your pet too.

You can also set up more traps to begin eliminating the roaches that are sold in most hardware stores. Two brand names that have been effective are Combat and Maxforce. Change the locations of the traps often and replace them frequently as the bait will be consumed quickly if you are dealing with a lot of roaches. Traps that contain Hydramethylnon are the most effective as it will kill the roaches within three days after they eat it.

Another option is hiring a professional to come in to exterminate your apartment. A professional insect control company will have access to chemicals not available to the public.

Prevent the roaches from returning

You will not be able to completely eliminate your problem if the rest of the building is not treated. You will need to talk to the manager of the apartment complex to help in ridding the rest of the apartments of roaches.

Cockroaches love carbohydrates and sugars found in our food, plants, and even soaps. Make sure you keep all your food in plastic containers with tight seals. Do not leave any products in bags or boxes as the roach can easily get inside them. Do not use bar soaps, instead start using soap dispensers and if you have house plants, spread petroleum jelly on the plant holders so the roach cannot reach the plant.

Keep all surfaces where food is prepared wiped down so no remaining crumbs are left behind. Roaches will seek out any small particle of food or residue from spills you leave behind and consider your areas a good food source.

Keeping your floors vacuumed or swept daily will also cut down on food scraps or crumbs they will be able to find. Scrubbing often will increase your success to discourage the roaches from crawling across your kitchen.

Roaches can travel from apartment to apartment through cracks and gaps in the walls. They will also come in through doors and windows. Check all doors and windows to make sure there are no small gaps in any of them and also check that there are no cracks or gaps in any wall areas of your apartment. Silicone caulk is a good product to use for sealing any cracks or gaps you might find.

Problems that come with Cockroaches

Cockroach Bites

Besides just being creepy, the roach can cause other problems if they are not gotten rid of. They are omnivores which mean they will eat plants and meat. Does that mean they can bite? They have been recorded to have eaten human flesh both dead and alive although tend to feast mainly on fingernails, eyelashes, feet, and hands. If bitten, you will form lesions, swelling and the bite marks will itch. The cockroach is not a clean insect in its search for food, so it is possible the bite can also cause infections.

Humans are not the first choice of food for the roach. They are not entering your apartment with you as their target for the next meal. It will begin to happen more frequently though in areas where their population has not been monitored and controlled. When their food source starts to become limited, cockroaches will forage on things they don’t normally consume. Hopefully, you will have taken control of the infestation before it reaches this level.

Cockroach Feces

The roach feces or droppings are easy to identify. They are small and resemble coffee or black pepper in appearance. If the roach is large the feces will be cylindrical in shape with ridges down the side. Their feces contain proteins and allergens which have been known to cause asthma attacks. Studies have been done showing roach feces worsen asthma symptoms more than any other trigger. If you find the feces; vacuum and clean the area immediately with warm water and soap.

There is no question about it; you cannot share your apartment with a roach. Talk to your landlord to see about extermination and then follow these tips to get any remaining out of your apartment and keep them out.

7 Fast Ways to Remove Cockroaches from Cars

Cockroaches are perhaps the most resilient bugs on the planet.They run fast, hide in the tiniest of crevices and seem to be unaffected by most attempts to get rid of them.What makes them so hard to get rid of is the fact that no matter how clean you keep the area, they can survive on the smallest spec of food. Getting them in the car is not unheard of due to the fact that many people eat on the go these days. Here are a few tips on how to get rid of roaches in your car.

What Doesn’t Work

Citrus sprays or vinegar don’t get rid of these pesky bugs. Most insects do not like the smell of citrus or strong smells such as cinnamon or cloves, but that is not enough to deter them. Another substance people often use is boric acid. In the home this is fine, but in the car, it is too messy and in such a confined area it may have some adverse affects on people or pets if absorbed into the mucous membranes of the nose or throat. Foggers and bug bombs are also not a good idea to use in such a small space.

How to Effectively Get Rid of Them

1. Remove mats and rugs or anything else that is removable. The more bare, the better. It may seem like a shame to take out those decorator floor mats you just bought, but they will prove to be a hindrance when it comes to consistent cleaning.

2. Vacuum the whole car front to back every week. The easiest way to do this is to take it to a hand car wash and use their attachments to get into those tight corners.

3. Make a “No Eating in the Car” Rule.  Allowing yourself or guests to eat in your car will invariably guarantee that crumbs fall to the floor no matter how careful you are.  If you do not vacuum these up immedeately, the cockroaches will continue to have food to keep them alive and if they remain alive they will keep breeding and the their infestation in your automobile will continue to grow.  Obviously we do not want this, so it is simple to enact a “Not eating in the Car” rule.

This is a tough one because a lot of people eat in the car on the way to work, to after-school activities and school events. Busy schedules make it a necessity to eat on the run and that means a lot of empty sandwich wrappers and crumbs that are often left behind in haste. Try to eat before getting into the car, or if you have to, bring a lunch box to eat in and throw away trash immediately.

4. Bait and Traps

A safe way to use roach bait in a confined area is to set them out at night. People often think that the heat from a car being parked in the sun all day would kill them, but roaches are actually nocturnal and sleep during the day. Also by setting them out in areas such as in the trunk, under the seats and on floorboards you will have a better chance of trapping or baiting them when they are the least likely to be disturbed. Glue traps are quite effective for capturing them. For safety, simply remove the traps and bait in the morning before anyone gets in.

5. Prevent Re-infestation

Keeping roaches away is a lot easier than getting rid of them again and again. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to avoid a re-infestation is to be diligent about keeping the car clean. Remove trash immediately and vacuum frequently.

To avoid having these little critters come back again you’ll need to keep the car in pristine condition. Besides implementing a “no eating in the car” rule, make sure everyone takes their backpacks and bags with them when leaving the car. These guys like to travel back and forth from place to place and hitch a ride in whatever they can. Now that you know how to get rid of roaches in your car, you’ll be better equipped at dealing with them in the future in other areas.

Insects Commonly Mistaken for Cockroaches

Cockroaches are often misidentified by homeowners. I think nearly everyone would agree that cockroaches are disgusting and quite a nuisance in the home. They come in many different variations, sizes, colors and quantities. They even have different appearances at different stages in their life cycle and these stages even vary from species to species amongst cockroaches. How do you know then, if the bug you just saw scurrying across the bathroom floor is a cockroach or possibly some other uninvited guest in your home?

Well, unless you take a little time to learn other bugs that look like cockroaches, you may think another species of insect in your home is actually a cockroach.  As with all types of pest control, an inaccurate prognosis of the type of pest you are dealing with will set you down the path toward an ineffective pest management strategy.  As Sun Tzu famously stated in the art of war “understand your enemy.”   Perhaps the most common insects encountered in peoples’ homes and apartments that are mistaken for cockroaches are water bugs and bed bugs.  At first glance the look similar, but keep reading and you will never make this mistake.

Water Bugs

Water bugs are actually a species related to cockroaches but there are some marked differences in appearance, habitat and behavior. Where a common cockroach likes to congregate and happily thrives on leftover food, whatever the dog or cat dropped or what falls behind the stove or fridge, the water bug is an active hunter that lives in and around water bodies such as ponds or small creeks. Water bugs will generally live on tadpoles, insect larvae, small fish and the occasional dead animal that washes up. Some species of water bug have been known to bite and in some areas, they’re known as toe biters instead. Cockroaches don’t go out of their way to take a nip at you, but water bugs do and their bite can be quite painful.

Crickets

At first glance crickets and grasshoppers can look like cockroaches. These harmless visitors can wander in from outside sometimes and disrupt a good night’s sleep with incessant chirping. Aside from the noise they are essentially harmless. Crickets eat mainly plant matter and are not in your home because of leftover food. You can tell the difference between a cricket and a cockroach by checking for the telltale cricket legs. They are very distinct hind legs designed for long distance jumps. Crickets, like cockroaches, come in ranges of browns and black, making it at times difficult to identify them correctly at a quick glance.

Beetles

There are about 2000 species of ground beetles in North America and sometimes they wander into the house. They are sometimes mistaken for oriental cockroaches due to their shiny skin. There are so many different kinds of beetles that it can be difficult to make a positive identification. Some of the most common beetles found indoors are June bugs. They range in color from reddish-brown to almost black and their carapace is more rounded. June bugs are beetles that are not interested in your leftovers and live on strictly vegetarian diets.

Asian Longhorn Beetles are newcomers to North America and a threat to our local trees. If you see one in your home, chances are good your trees outside are infested with their larva. These beetles are not generally known to dwell in houses, but they may end up there in search of trees to inhabit. You can check your trees for round exit holes in the bark, a dead give away that you have a Longhorn infestation in your garden. These beetles are mostly black in coloration with whitish grey splotches.

Bedbugs

Not to say they’re any more welcome in your home, bedbugs can sometimes be mistaken for immature roaches or nymphs. It’s important to know the difference to effectively fight either infestation. Bedbugs tend to hide during the day, but they do so in your bedding, mattresses, and any crevices near your sleeping areas. They live on blood and attack at night, resting during the day. Bedbugs are hard to find unless you search for them or you just happen to see one wander across your pillow. If you wake up covered in itchy swollen and red bite marks, you are probably dealing with bedbugs. Roaches are not largely known for attacking people in their sleep.

Earwig

Another unwelcome visitor to your home can be the earwig. Though its coloration can be similar to that of the cockroach, you can always tell an earwig from a roach by the prominent set of pincers at the tail end of its abdomen. These pincers are present on both males and females throughout most of their molting stages, becoming more pronounced as they advance in age. Earwigs live mostly on plant matter and you will usually find them hiding in dark crevices around the house.

Cicadas

Cicadas are winged blackish brown insects and responsible for the rhythmic ear shattering buzz you can hear outside during late summer. They are big, some species can be about 2 inches long. Cicadas swarm periodically and tend to remain outside in the cover of trees and bushes. Occasionally one of them can wander into your home, but don’t be alarmed, they are completely harmless. They feed on plant matter and they don’t have a bite or sting harmful to humans.

A roach by any other name…

In different parts of the country, bugs that are, in fact, cockroaches are known by other names, such as palmetto bug, croton bug or even foreign names, like cucaracha. There are many different types of cockroaches, the American cockroach being the most prolific. They range in color and size as well as behavior and life cycle, so it can be difficult to discern if you are having an infestation or just a harmless outdoor visitor that strayed into your home.

You can always use roach traps as a precaution and when in doubt, call an expert. This most definitely holds true if you see more than one bug or if the visits are recurring and increase in frequency. The longer you wait on a cockroach infestation the bigger it gets and the more difficult it becomes to eradicate.

Further Resources:

 

 

White Cockroaches or Albino Roaches? – The Difference is Crucial.

Picture this: You suspect nothing, go to the kitchen, flick the light on, get the coffee maker ready and out from under it scuttles one of nature’s many great wonders. A rare and beautiful sight. There, in all its glory, is the super elusive albino cockroach, making a break for the sink. If you’re quick enough, you might catch it under a glass to show off to the family when they wake up.

That’s a beautiful story, but the reality is a lot different. By the time you can show off your catch, that roach you trapped is as brown as any other in the colony. You’ve been robbed of you great display. What happened?

The myth of the Albino Cockroach

Albinism or achromia is a congenital condition affecting enzymes that control pigmentation in the skin, hair and eye of affected animals. Albinism is caused by an inherited recessive gene and is present in all vertebrate species, including humans. The condition can present in different levels of severity, of which the absence of skin pigments is the most noticeable, but not necessarily the most troublesome. Animals afflicted with albinism suffer from other congenital defects, such as partial to full deafness, blindness, a heightened sensitivity to light and a propensity to develop rare forms of skin cancer in advanced years.

Scientists have extensively studied cockroaches for decades and have found zero evidence for the presence of the recessive gene that causes albinism. Cockroaches are perfect replicants of their parents and the colony is quite socially aware. Any individual with a congenital defect as severe as albinism would not survive.

Why are some roaches white?

Cockroaches are insects and as such, they have an exoskeleton. The outer hull of insects is made up of chitin, a proteinaceous substance akin to keratin which makes up our hair and fingernails. The exoskeleton is extremely sturdy and rigid by necessity. Unlike the bones in fish and mammals, exoskeletons do not grow with the animal. This is why all insects have to shed their skin at some point if they are to grow larger.

From egg to adulthood cockroaches go through 4 – 5 molting stages. The number of molts depend on the species of cockroach you’re dealing with. At each stage they shed their skin and emerge as a white roach. The animals appear white because the pigment in the new skin has not developed yet. This is a chemical process that can take several hours. The skin takes a few minutes to harden enough for the roach to be able to move. This is because the outer shell is so soft that the muscles inside pull them out of shape instead of moving them as intended. If you find a white roach, you may notice it less responsive or slower to run than its buddies. That’s because they might not be able to.  For more information on a typical cockroach life cycle you can check out this article. In order to get rid of the old exoskeleton, a new one has to grow under the skin. It needs to be larger than the previous version. It also has to be soft and flexible, to allow the animal and its new skin to be crammed into the increasingly tight space. After a certain period of time, the insect goes into molt, a process where the old skin splits open and the newly formed insect emerges. The roach swallows air to inflate its new skin into the right proportions. This is when the roach is most vulnerable. The new skin is soft and the animal can’t move as well with a soft body, thus leaving it at the mercy of predators and other various dangers. Cockroaches tend to molt in their harbour areas, hidden away from danger and in the safety of numbers. It’s for this reason white cockroaches are a rare sight out in the open, not because they are actually rare. If you do see a white roach, something has disturbed their haven and these animals have been prematurely stirred from their hiding place. If you’re seeing a white roach, you already made acquaintance with many of its brown friends. Where there is one, there are usually hundreds left in the walls and chances are good that a portion of them are in molt as well.

Call an expert

Pest control specialists encounter white cockroaches much more frequently than you normally would because the job entails delivering the pesticides right to the lair of the roaches. Cockroaches are a serious infestation that’s difficult to get rid of with over the counter insecticides. If you encounter any large quantity of roaches in all life stages, your home is overrun. This is especially true if some of the bugs you see are white or a lighter tan color than their buddies. Since cockroaches like to hide within walls and other difficult to access areas around the home, it is important to opt for an extermination method that addresses them right in their hiding places.

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