Cockroaches are a high-risk pest to have as they carry diseases, emit odours and cause respiratory illnesses. In Southern Africa, there are four main types of cockroaches:
The American cockroach is the largest of the common species of cockroaches. Reddish brown in colour, the American cockroach is
It has well-developed wings, but only flies if the temperature is above 29 degrees Celsius, it can cover long distances, especially if it takes off from rooftops or trees. It often migrates to other buildings during the summer months.
The American cockroach loves dark damp places such as drain pipes and sewers, it also lives outdoors in hollows of trees, in palm trees, and in the damp shady areas of ground covers such as ivy.
German cockroaches are by far the most common, as well as the most important of all the cockroach species in Southern Africa
The female German cockroach carries a very large number of eggs in her capsule, and, unlike other cockroaches, she carries the capsule until the nymphs are ready to hatch, therefore their chances of survival are greater. During this stage, she does not forage much, so she is less likely to succumb to any poison. This is one of the reasons why some populations of cockroaches are immune to certain insecticides. The German cockroach has the shortest developing period, and when the nymphs hatch, they are smaller than other species and able to hide in the smallest cracks and crevices.
The adult German cockroaches are pale to medium brown and have two dark stripes running lengthwise from the front of the thorax. They are approximately between 1.3cm to 1.6cm long. Even though the adults have well-developed wings, they never fly, instead, with their long spiny legs and specialized pads, they are able to scale glass windows and run rapidly across ceilings.
Cockroaches are usually found in food preparation areas, or near garbage bins. They love anything fermented, such as a bit of beer
This species is very dark in colour, shiny and cannot fly. They are found in sewers and similar wet and decaying environments.
The female produces a total of about 8 egg capsules, each containing 16 eggs. She carries her egg capsule for about 30 hours before dropping it near a food source. The nymphs can molt up to 10 times, and can take a year to become fully developed.
These cockroaches have a short lifespan - the winter months find very few adults among the population. Unlike other cockroaches, these small and shiny, almost black and greasy looking cockroaches are also sluggish, that is why they do not scurry away when discovered in the bathtub.
These cockroaches derive their name from the two light brown bands appearing across their dark brown bodies.
Getting rid of cockroaches
DIY products that are designed to exterminate cockroaches are available, but because of they are constantly hiding, infestations are likely to reoccur when surviving cockroach eggs hatch after a couple of months. The only way to get rid of cockroaches for good is to get a professional pest control company to eradicate your infestation from the source.
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