The American cockroach has several different common names including the "waterbug" (palmetto bug) and the "Bombay Canary". Despite its most common name, the American Cockroach, this cockroach is not native to the United States or even the North or South Americas. They were brought over from Africa and introduced to the western region via ships. American cockroaches are actually found all over the world, including the United States.
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American cockroaches may be one of the larger species of cockroaches to invade homes in order to find food. Full grown adults are over an inch long growing to be about 1.3 inches to a huge 2 inches. Both sexes are fully winged. The wings of males extend beyond the end of their abdomens and the wings of females do not. Although they possess wings, most American cockroaches are poor fliers and some are just moderately good at flying. Wings are metallic gray in color when they are closed. The bodies of American cockroaches are reddish brown except for a pale yellow to a yellow brown band that goes around the edge of the shell. The last segment of the body is at least twice as long as the body is wide. So in other words, they are fairly thin or slender insects.
Less developed nymphs are all uniform in color. They are a grayish brown on their dorsal side and paler in color on the ventral side and their coats are shiny. Later instars are a brighter reddish-brown color. Nymphs are slender in shape just like fully matured adults; however, they do not possess wings and so people are able to see a distinct taper on the ends of their abdomens. The antennae of all instars are a uniform brown color and normally, the antennae are longer compared to their bodies than when they are fully mature.
The egg capsules are dark red to a blackish brown color. They are about 8 mm long and the length is double the size of the width. Each egg capsule holds 8 eggs on each side.
American roaches are attracted to moist areas; however, they can survive in dry places if they have access to an adequate water source. They cannot live in cold temperatures and that is why they will migrate indoors during the colder seasons. Although they are found in homes, they are more common in commercial areas like restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals, and etc. Inside the homes though, they can be found in the basements, crawl spaces, and other tight crack and crevice areas. They usually nest outdoors and so when they weather begins to become warm again, they will move from the house to the yard and areas adjacent to the building like alleyways or in the city sewer systems.
Because of the slow development and large size, overwhelming or large infestations of American roaches are not common inside houses and other buildings. However, because they cannot tolerate cold climates, they may enter buildings where temperatures are much warmer. They may also travel inside to forage for food when food sources outdoors are inadequate. When a homeowner finds an American cockroach inside their house, it is most likely an occasional invader. However, this will also mean that there is a potential nest outside that is close enough for the roaches to travel inside for food. Therefore, for American cockroach infestations, it is necessary to do outdoor control. Exclusion is the main type of control that will get rid of American cockroaches inside the house. If homeowners are able to locate nests, American cockroaches can be flushed out with liquid concentrate insecticides. If not, cockroach baits in the gel or granular form can be placed around the perimeter of the house. There are bait stations available that may protect the baits from breaking down. A perimeter treatment with a liquid residual spray is necessary to kill on contact. Liquid sprays are sprayed around the perimeter of the house in a barrier form. All utility pipes that may enter the home and any cracks and crevices should be sealed properly.
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