truck300.jpg                                                     

 
Species Minimize
  
  Minimize

German Cockroach

Introduction

The German cockroach is the cockroach of concern, the species that gives all other cockroaches a bad name. It occurs in structures throughout Florida, and is the species that typically plagues multifamily dwellings. In Florida, the German cockroach may be confused with the Asian cockroach, Blattella asahinai Mizukubo. While these cockroaches are very similar, there are some differences that a practiced eye can discern.

   gadultwoothecae.jpg   adult female with ootheca 

Distribution

The German cockroach is found throughout the world in association with humans. They are unable to survive in locations away from humans or human activity. The major factor limiting German cockroach survival appears to be cold temperatures. Studies have shown that German cockroaches were unable to colonize inactive ships during cool temperatures and could not survive in homes without central heating in northern climates. The availability of water, food, and harborage also govern the ability of German cockroaches to establish populations, and limit growth.

Description

Egg. Eggs are carried in an egg case, or ootheca, by the female until just before hatch occurs. The ootheca can be seen protruding from the posterior end (genital chamber) of the female. Nymphs will often hatch from the ootheca while the female is still carrying it. A typical egg case contains 30 to 40 eggs. The egg case is a tiny, brown, purse-shaped capsule. It is about 8 mm long, 3 mm high, and 2 mm wide.

 goothecae.jpg   oothecae

   nymphs emerging

Larva or Nymph. The nymphal stage begins with egg hatch and ends with the emergence of the adult. Nymphs are dark brown to black in color, with distinct dark parallel bands running the length of the pronotum. Nymphs do not possess wings. The number of molts required to reach the adult stage varies, but the most frequently reported number of molts is six. The stage between molts is called an instar. At room temperature nymphs complete development in about 60 days. All developmental stages actively forage for food and water.

gthirdnymph.jpg   3rd instar nymph

 gnewlymolted.jpg   newly molted adult

Adult. The adult is 10 to 15 mm long, brown to dark brown in color with two distinct parallel bands running the length of the pronotum. The sexes can be distinguished by the following characteristics: male - body thin and slender, posterior abdomen is tapered, terminal segments of abdomen visible, not covered by tegmina (leathery outer wings); female - body stout, posterior abdomen is rounded, entire abdomen just covered by tegmina.

 gadultmale.jpg   adult male

 gadultfemaleupload.jpg   adult female

Life Cycle

The German cockroach has three life stages typical of insects with incomplete metamorphosis: the egg, nymph, and adult. The entire life cycle is completed in about 100 days. However, factors such as temperature, nutritional status, and strain differences may influence the time required to complete a life cycle. German cockroaches breed continuously with many overlapping generations present at any one time. Under ideal conditions, population growth has been shown to be exponential. Actively growing field populations are comprised of 80 percent nymphs and 20 percent adults. The German cockroach is omnivorous, eating table scraps, pet food, and even book bindings.

Medical and Economic Significance

German cockroaches adulterate food or food products with their feces and defensive secretions, physically transport and often harbor pathogenic organisms, may cause severe allergic responses, and in extremely heavy infestations have been reported to bite humans and feed on food residues on the faces of sleeping humans. In addition, some scientists suggest that German cockroach infestations may cause human psychological stress and that the stigma associated with infestations alters human behavior. For example, people with infested houses do less entertaining, and avoid the kitchen at night for fear of encountering a cockroach.

Action Threshold

Since the German cockroach is considered an aesthetic pest, the action threshold for this insect depends upon the tolerance of the people living in the infested dwelling. However, most people associate cockroach infestations with poor sanitary conditions and typically go to excessive lengths to eradicate them from their houses.


Cockroach Health Threats:


Cockroaches are pests that have been known to carry lots of dangerous germs. They crawl through dirty areas and then walk around our homes tracking in lots of bacteria.

When you see one cockroach, you can be pretty sure that there are many more out of sight. When these insects shed their skins, die, or leave droppings, those remains are called cockroach allergens. Researchers recently discovered that cockroach allergens can cause asthma attacks in children.

 

Cockroaches

Cockroaches in homes are a health hazard to many children and families because of the risks cockroach antigens pose to asthma sufferers. Traditionally, cockroaches were controlled because they are offensive, leave behind an awful smell, and cause gastrointestinal and respiratory illness. However, research shows that cockroach debris (old shells, saliva, body parts, and droppings) triggers asthma attacks in people who are sensitized to cockroach antigen (proteins found in the debris). In homes where several allergens are present, including dust mites, mold, furry pets, tobacco smoke, and certain chemicals, children may experience severe and frequent asthma attacks from high airborne concentrations of these allergens.

Any home with food or moisture can have cockroaches. Kitchens and bathrooms typically have the highest number of cockroaches due to the presence of food products and moisture from plumbing fixtures. Apartment buildings often have the worst infestations. The goal is to keep cockroaches out of the home and to eliminate existing pests. Reaching this goal is not always easy, especially in multi-unit housing that is already infested. For most apartment buildings, the landlord must take a building-wide approach to controlling these pests. Moreover, a coordinated effort by the landlord and all tenants is required to eliminate cockroaches.

Integrated pest management techniques that control cockroaches through moisture control and other interventions can also help to minimize exposure to other environmental hazards, including lead and mold. Moisture from leaky roofs, plumbing fixtures, spills, damp areas in the kitchen and bathroom, and other sources should be minimized, along with access to food, accumulation of trash, and holes and cracks in the walls. Safe and effective pest management techniques must be utilized, as some chemicals used to treat pests are toxic, may exacerbate asthma symptoms, and are not successful at ridding homes of cockroaches.

Because children spend more time indoors, allergens found in homes and other buildings pose a significant health risk for asthma sufferers. With asthma rates growing at a startling rate, the hazard posed by the presence of any cockroaches must be addressed.

Sources and Additional Information:

Environmental Health Watch - www.ehw.org/Asthma/ASTH_Cockroach_Control.htm

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences - www.niehs.nih.gov/airborne/prevent/roach.html

US Environmental Protection Agency - www.epa.gov/iaq/asthma/pests.html

 

  

Residential * Commercial * Homeowner's Associations *
Property Management * Mobile Homes
Family Owned & Operated
LICENSED * INSURED


For free estimate call 407/697-0989
or e-mail to: alightningbug@yahoo.com