Common name: Cockroach

Scientific name: Blatteria



Cockroaches, sometimes known as water bugs or palmetto bugs, originally come from the tropics of Africa. About thirty species out of a total of 4,500 live in human habitats. Cockroaches and their eggs are often carried into homes in paper bags and cardboard boxes. These insects can end up being delivered with food packages and boxes of equipment from suppliers and warehouses.

Health Concerns
The cockroach can spread six different kinds of parasitic worms, approximately 33 kinds of bacteria and seven other human pathogens. Cockroach cockroaches are not picky about what they walk through and will traverse areas such as rodent nesting places, garbage receptacles and public bathroom floors. The insect will eat anything from decaying matter to sewage. They have been reporting as feeding on the eyebrows, eyelashes and toenails of sleepers. They have been known to carry diseases such as dysentery, gastroenteritis, and typhoid fever. Not only can humans become sick from the diseases the pests can carry, but they can also be affected by the droppings of the insect. “Roach dust”, the shed body parts of cockroaches and their droppings, has been identified as a major contributor to asthma, breathing problems and allergies.

Cockroaches generally hate the light and hide in dark areas during the day. Because they prefer darkness to light, cockroach infestations are often not noticed until several new sets of branches have been added to the cockroach family tree. Cockroaches need very little to thrive. All that is necessary is a climate with a temperature over 65 degrees and accessible water. Cockroaches will eat anything in a home, from food to book bindings to wallpaper paste to dead animals. They can survive for weeks on a single meal.

Gestational Information
Cockroaches lay their eggs in an egg case called a ootheca. Depending on the species, the ootheca contains from 12 to 40 eggs and is laid by the female every few days to every few weeks. The oothecas are usually laid in out-of-the-way places such as under shelves and in the bottom of drawers. The nymphs mature within two to 18 months after hatching.

Common Species Found in Michigan
American Cockroach
This is the largest cockroach found in Michigan. It can grow up to 1 ½ inches in length and matures in approximately seven months. These cockroaches like damp areas and are often found around drainage systems and in greenhouses.

Oriental Cockroach
This insect grows to 1 ¼ inches long and enters homes through sewage systems. The Oriental cockroach has been described as a sluggish insect and may take up to 22 months to mature.

German Cockroach
The German cockroach is small, usually growing slightly over ½ inch. These cockroaches breed all year long and mature faster than other species. They are serious problems in hospitals, restaurants and retail stores.

Cool Cockroach Fact
Cockroaches can live for weeks with no head. As long as the wound clots normally, they can survive without eating, but they will eventually succumb to dehydration or mold.