The American cockroach, in its professional name, or giant cockroach, in its popular name, is the largest cockroach that can be found in Israel. Its average size is 4 cm long (there are particulars that reach 5 cm long) and it can usually found in sewage pits or in places with similar conditions (high humidity, heat, darkness, and the presence of organic material).
The American cockroach is the most common cockroach in Israel and can be found all over the country, from Kiryat Shmona in the north to Eilat in the south. It has a more massive presence in warmer areas, mostly in the center of Israel, this is mainly because of the higher population density combined with humidity conditions and faulty sewage systems.
In Tel Aviv sewage pits for instance, I have more than once come across a pit containing thousands of particulars. According to studies done at universities around the world, the numbers can reach up to 5,000 roaches in one sewage pit.
Where Will I Find the American Cockroach?
The American cockroach is usually found in sewage pits, but can also be found in planters, attics, basements, gardens, under decks, and in garbage cans. Usually, the cockroach will reproduce outside and will enter homes in search for food and water or due to extreme weather conditions such as snow or prolonged heat wave. They enter homes through the drainage / sewer system or just fly through open windows, the latter usually happens after dark because the American cockroach does not respond well to light and during the day it remains in dark places such as sewage pits, kitchen cabinets or near drain and water pipes.
Description of the American Cockroach
The American cockroach’s life cycle includes three stages: egg (develops in egg sack) – nymph stages (five nymph phases) – adult.
The female American cockroach lays the eggs in an egg sack that looks like a capsule. The egg sack is created about a week after the female mates with the male.
The in its prime, the female American cockroach can produce two egg sacks in one week, but average is one egg sack a month over 10 months. Each egg sack contains about 16 eggs (16 x 10 = 160 new cockroaches months produced by one couple of cockroaches within ten).
Once the egg sack is ready, the female drops it or glues it near a source of food. The egg sack contains enough water so the eggs can continue to evolve until it is time to hatch.
The color of the egg sack starts brown when the female abandons it to black after a few days and its size is 0.8 cm long and 0.5 cm wide. After a month – month and a half, the young cockroaches emerge from the sack and it takes them another six to ten months until they reach adulthood.
* The lifecycle of insects is divided into two types – complete lifecycle (egg-larva-pupa-adult) and partial lifecycle (egg-several nymph phases-adult).
The American cockroach has a partial lifecycle, thus between the egg and adult stages, there are several nymph phases. In general, the different nymph phases are very similar in appearance to the adult cockroach, while the main differences are size and the wings that are found only in the final nymph phases and in adults.
The color of the cockroach between nymph phases is white and it turns into a reddish brown.
The transition from egg to adult lasts about 600 days. The adult lives for another 400 days. Duration of the development period is affected by the temperature, humidity and amount of food available.
The color of the American cockroach’s body is reddish brown, and the color of its head is light brown to yellowish, while the male is about 4-8 mm longer than the female.
The American cockroach eats everything from sugars to proteins, fats and anything else that comes to mind. There have even been instances where the American cockroach consumed human hair.
Damage and Disease:
Cockroaches contribute to the distribution of disease and they can pass on to humans a wide range of disease transmitting pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, worms and Protista.
In addition, they are aesthetically disturbing and can damage property such as books, clothes and food.
American Cockroach Pest Control
The best pest control methods to treat all types of pests combines different pesticides to treat the environment, reducing the different pests’ food sources and places of shelter. In case of the American cockroach, it is recommended to reduce (and avoid creating new locations) that contain organic matter (for instance, fallen leaves that are slowly rotting in the garden), high humidity and darkness (for example, under decks), as well as spray pesticides in sewage pits and / or anywhere else with similar characteristics.
Elad Uri, Agronomist and Certified Exterminator
Exterminator License Num. 1803
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