Cockroaches are the most adaptable and hardiest insects on the planet. Fossils have placed the earliest evidence of cockroaches back to the cretaceous period, 300 million years ago. There are 3500 species of roaches around the world but only 4 species are considered pest species in Ontario. These are the German, American, Oriental and Brown-banded cockroaches. Cockroaches have three life stages: eggs, nymphs and adults. Their life span and cycle vary depending on their species.
German cockroaches are the most widely distributed pest in the world and the most common cockroach in houses, apartments, hotels, restaurants and other institutions. This is not only true in our area, but around the world. They are called German cockroaches everywhere in the world except in Germany where they are known as French cockroaches.
German cockroaches live up to a year. Females produce an egg case known as an ootheca that contains 40 eggs. They produce 8 of these cases in their lives and can lay 300-400 eggs in good conditions. They will feed on almost anything, can go up to a month without feeding and can sustain themselves on the glue from the back of a postage stamp.
They produce odorous secretions that affect the flavour of some foods and create the characteristic smell when there is a population of cockroaches present. They carry disease producing organisms on their legs that contaminate food as they crawl around on food and food preparation surfaces. In this way they spread different forms of gastroenteritis such as food poisoning, dysentery and diarrhea. They have also been linked to allergens and asthma.
Brown Banded Cockraoch
Brown Banded Cockraoch
Brown-banded cockroaches are distinguished by the two brown bands across their wings that give them their name. They are excellent flyers when disturbed. Brown-banded prefer warm, dry locations, preferring to hide in higher areas , closer to the ceiling and away from water. They like to feed on glue and paste made from animal sources and can damage items such as books, stamps, envelopes, drapes and wallpaper.
American cockroaches are the largest of the pest species at 4 cm long. They have the ability to fly, are the fastest running roaches and contaminate a lot more food than they actually consume by just moving around. They are the roaches most often used in the movies because of their comparably large size.