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These cockroaches are usually found in pet stores, bars, breweries, bakeries, supermarkets, restaurants and similar places that contain, store or prepare food.  Usually, they dwell in basements, damp sewers, heating ducts, apartment base floors and underneath hospitals.  Sometimes they find their way into homes from unclean shipping facilities.

American cockroaches have an incredibly unpleasant odour and can damage wallpaper, clothing, books and taint food.  Everyone dislikes cockroaches, but some people have an allergic reaction to them. When these people eat foods which are tainted by cockroaches they get very sick which can result in diarrhoea, dysentery or food poisoning and even induce asthma in children.


Some American cockroaches may look a little different but most them have a similar body type. To the untrained eye is hard to distinguish females and males apart because they are approximately the same length.  American cockroaches develop wings and that is how if closely examined gender can be determined because male’s wings are longer and reach their stomach. The body of American cockroaches is oval and flat, have antennae and their legs are long and spiny.  Roaches in Australia can get up to 5cm in length and the colour varies from dark brown to reddish-brown, with a lighter band near their head.


American cockroaches eat decaying matter and usually live in moist and dark areas such as plumbing, sewers, hampers for clothes, bathrooms, boiler rooms and steam tunnels.  Many like food that is fermenting and decaying but any starch will do, for example, book bindings.  During the daylight hours cockroaches hide in dark hidden places and during the night they look for food.  If they are seen by humans or other animals they will try to run away.


Insecticides need to reach where cockroaches live and hide.  To do this, go into a room with no lights on at night without making noise and use a flashlight to see where the cockroaches scurry off to.  Immediately spot treating the hiding spots which are also called pathways.  Specifically, around pipes, loose mouldings or baseboards and along walls.  Do not spray the entire surface of the room which can be dangerous for you, your family and your pets. Also, don’t treat where meals are prepared.

Sticky Traps

These are favoured by some and works by having openings at two ends and the inside being extremely sticky and attracts the roach with food.  If the traps are placed in the correct locations where they hide it is extremely easy to catch a few adult and immature cockroaches daily.  Traps are usually used in accordance with an overall roach eradication strategy along with applications of insecticide.  Along with getting rid of a few cockroaches a day, it also tells you if there are American cockroaches present in the building.  If a few dozen cockroaches a day are caught by the sticky traps then you know there is an infestation which must immediately be addressed.

Cockroach Baits

Many people prefer baits because they are less invasive and do not usually smell.  Baits are often used in office building, hospitals and schools.  Baits may include bait stations, particle baits, gels and pastes.  The major advantages of using baits are it is it usually works well; IPM oriented, the best solution for people who are sensitive to sprays and is a very low risk.  On the other hand, the disadvantages include the cost is higher, will not work if there is an infestation of cockroaches and the bait must be placed in specific areas where cockroaches hide.


Although there are home treatments, it is highly recommended if fumigation is necessary to stop an infestation that it is done by a certified and licensed pest control expert.


Cockroaches are extremely mobile and can go from home to home especially during the scorching summer months when houses settle and there are small cracks in gas lines, water lines, windows, doors and the foundation.  These cracks must be sealed with silicone, caulk, plastic wood or putty. Closed boxes should be reinforced with additional tape if they will not be open soon.  Being clean is crucial to prevent a roach infestation.  Whenever someone drops food or spills a soda it needs to be cleaned up immediately and thoroughly to prevent food particles to remain. Dirty dishes on the countertop or in the sink should also be cleaned as quickly as possible.  Also make sure food containers have a tight seal and make sure cockroaches can’t get into your trash.


One way to see if there are American cockroaches present is by closely examining the house or office during the night using a flashlight.  Because they usually only come out at night it is the easiest way to see if they are around.  Detecting cockroaches in the daytime can be extremely difficult because they often hide in places humans can never get to or see.  But one approach to do so is using a thin wire or stick and simply probing small cracks with it.

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September 2018