Cockroaches are common in premises associated with food production or handling. Residential and Commercial buildings also suffer infestations. Cockroaches pose a serious threat to human health. They transmit pathogens and spread allergens. According to WHO studies, cockroaches are also associated with asthma in children. Some common diseases transmitted by cockroaches include:
A high standard of hygiene is important in cockroach control. It denies a cockroach access to food, water and suitable harbourages. Ensure you have a clean environment and survey incoming materials including packaging cartons.
There are different types of cockroaches and from almost 5000 species that exists, mostly 4 types of cockroaches populate India:
Species category: Cockroach Scientific name: Periplaneta americana Family: Blattidae
The largest of the common cockroach species, it can grow up to 50mm. Reddish-brown in
colour and has
a yellowish margin behind head region. When present in large numbers, they can be recognized by foul odour.
Originating from tropical Africa, the American cockroach now has a world-wide distribution. It prefers a warm, humid, dark and hidden environment and is often found in sewers. Typically, it will live in drains, ducts, in other underground structures and in boats. As it feeds on a large variety of foodstuffs, it will thrive wherever food is stored and prepared.
Cockroaches can pick up disease-causing germs like bacteria, fungus, virus on their hairy legs and body parts which may get deposited on food thereby causing food infections or poisoning. Cockroach feces and body parts can trigger allergic reactions and asthma in certain individuals.
Gregarious and nocturnal, they spend the day hiding in cracks and crevices. They travel fast and are opportunistic feeders. They are omnivorous and feed on various kinds of food stuffs like bread crumbs, cut fruits, wheat flour, starch or glue in book bindings, dead animals, etc. They are particularly fond of fermented foods and may cannibalize on other cockroaches as well.
Although the main harbourages are often outside the building, this cockroach will typically forage for food in the inhabited parts of buildings, along ducts, service pipes and crevices.
Species category: Cockroach Scientific name: Blattella germanica Family: Blatellidae
A smaller species of cockroach, it typically measures 13-16mm in length when it reaches adulthood. It is identified by two distinct dark brown strips running down the outside edge of the pronotum. This species is a light tan brown to dark brown colour. Originating from tropical Africa, the German cockroach now has a world-wide distribution. It prefers a warm, humid, dark and well hidden environment and is found more often in sewers. It is typically also found in drains, ducts, in other underground structures, and in boats. As it feeds on a large variety of foodstuffs, it is also commonly discovered wherever food is stored and prepared. Although the main harbourages are outdoors, this cockroach will forage into the inhabited parts of buildings along ducts, services and crevices.
In the course of their foraging activity, the nymphs, larvae and adults can contaminate and infect foodstuffs. They secrete an odorous discharge from their body which also taints and contaminates food. Like other cockroach species, the German Cockroach transmits bacteria as they walk, transferring pathogens such as salmonella and e.coli to every area they scurry across. Cockroaches also shed cuticles, faeces and other cockroach debris which are known asthma and allergy triggers.
It moves with speed and equally well on both horizontal and vertical surfaces. Typically, it is faster than other cockroach species.
They tend to more successfully inhabit buildings over other species. There are a number of factors which contribute to this. A shorter life cycle, coupled with an ability to constantly reproduce, accelerates population growth. German cockroaches are also faster and smaller than other species making detection even harder.
Species category: Cockroach Scientific name: Supella longipalpa Family: Blattidae
Brown-banded cockroach is a small species of cockroach which grows about 10-14 mm long and is light chestnut brown to dark brown in colour. Both adults and nymphs have two brownish, broad bands across the body at the base of the abdomen and at mid-abdomen. They have thin long antenna and body size is similar to German cockroach. Originated from Nile valley region of Africa and is now distributed worldwide.
Like other cockroaches, brown-banded cockroaches can transmit disease causing organisms. In hospitals they may feed on body fluids thereby causing infections.
Brown banded cockroaches prefer warm and dry locations and it is common to find them hiding nearer the ceiling than the floor and away from water sources. The egg capsules are glued to surfaces in dark area usually along the roof regions of cabinets or cupboards.
Brown banded cockroaches are commonly found in warm and dry locations like on the upper walls of cabinets, inside pantries, closets, dressers and furniture in general. They can also be found behind picture frames, beneath tables and chairs, inside clocks, radios, light switch plates and doorframes.
Species category: Cockroach Scientific name: Blatta orientalis Family: Blatidae
This large cockroach species typically reaches 26-32mm in length during adulthood. It has a shiny deep red – to brownish-black colouring. Males and females look different because of their wing appearance, which is larger on the males.
Originating from North Africa, the Oriental cockroach is now found throughout the world but less so in Europe.
It prefers humid, dark and concealed harbourages, such as cellars, ducting and other underground parts of buildings. Deceptively, the harbourage may be located outside an infested area, being reached by the cockroach through under-floor cavities, ducting or drains.
It is most commonly found around the ground-floor of buildings, although sometimes it can be discovered on higher levels.
It is known for its love of water and in a building, can be located in sewers, drains, basements, cellars, under sinks, baths or washing machines.
In the course of their foraging activity, the nymphs, larvae and adults can contaminate and infect foodstuffs. They secrete an odorous discharge from their body which also taints and contaminates food.
Like other cockroach species, the Oriental Cockroaches transmit bacteria as they walk, transferring pathogens such as salmonella and e.coli to every area they scurry across.
Cockroaches also shed cuticles, faeces and other cockroach debris which are known asthma and allergy triggers.
Like the German cockroach, the main period of activity is early in the evening but unlike this species it is not a similarly accomplished climber, which means it is more commonly located at ground level.
The female lays her eggs in capsules called ootheca, the life cycle can be lengthy with the nymph stage lasting from 6-12 months. This species will feed on any type of decaying organic matter, including garbage, carrying the bacteria with them on every surface that they traverse.