To the untrained eye, all cockroaches may look alike. However, there are actually five species of significance. German, Brown-banded, Oriental, American and Common Wood cockroaches are all unwelcome pests.
The most common cockroach in Canada is the German cockroach. It has a flattened oval body with long spiny legs and measures 15 mm (3/4") when fully grown. Both male and female are winged. Color is light brown with two dark brown stripes running lengthwise on the thorax (middle section).
The main attractions for a cockroach are food, water and shelter. To them, almost anything is food - any foodstuff, paper, cloth, plants and even glue used for binding books. They can be found in every part of the home, but most prefer some kind of damp environment. Since most cockroaches are active at night, many people may be completely unaware of their presence in their home.
Cockroach Life Cycle
The German female cockroach carries an egg capsule containing approximately 40 eggs which she drops prior to hatching. Development from eggs to adults takes three to four months and cockroaches live up to a year. The female may produce up to eight egg cases in her lifetime. An infestation of cockroaches can number in the thousands.
Although little can be done to prevent an infestation, the practice of good sanitation and the elimination of accessible food are ways to minimize the extent of the infestation. Careful inspection of produce or packages entering the home can help to prevent cockroaches from establishing themselves in your building.
Preparation Steps for Cockroach Treatment
There are many things that you can do to help prepare your home for a successful cockroach treatment:
1. Remove enough items to allow access to the back of cupboards and drawers.
2. Pull fridge and stove out from wall.
3. Remove boxes and clutter form closet floors.
4. Clear all floor spaces of debris and clutter
Download the Prep Sheet for Cockroach (PDF)
Cockroaches - Questions and Answers
Do cockroaches cause damage?
No. The presence of cockroaches is not normally associated with damage to buildings.
Are cockroaches hazardous to humans?
Yes. Due to their movements through various habitats, including refuse heaps and sewers, they are capable of transmitting diseases to man, including: salmonella bacteria (food poisoning) and many forms of viruses.
What attracts cockroaches?
Cockroaches are attracted to food, water, and shelter. They will eat anything and are particularly attracted to starchy foods.
When are cockroaches most common?
Cockroaches are active year-round within structures.
When am I most likely to see cockroaches?
Cockroaches are nocturnal and are most active at night. Any sudden light will cause scurry for shelter.
Are cockroaches only found under unclean conditions?
No. They can be found under the cleanest conditions, wherever food and warmth are present. For this reason they are a major problem in hospitals, hotels, restaurants, bakeries, butcher shops, multi-unit residences and homes. Their habitat is around sinks, behind stoves and refrigerators, in drains and cracks.