It is a surprising fact for most of us that there are thousands of cockroach species – there are in the region of 4 600 of these creatures. However, only about 30 of these species are viewed as being common pests. The most common cockroaches are between 15 mm and 300 mm in length. Some unusual and less common cockroaches can grow as much as 97 mm in length but thankfully these are native to remote parts of South America!
The colours typically range from light brown to a dark, red-brown and some are grey or white with characteristic markings.
Having evolved over thousands of years, these nocturnal creatures are highly adaptable and resourceful and can prove to be a nightmare to get rid of once they start breeding in your home or place of work.
In South Africa, alone, there are over 3 000 different cockroach species although the most common are the German Cockroach, the Oriental Cockroach, the Brown Banded Cockroach and the American Cockroach.
Cockroaches are carriers of several diseases including poliomyelitis, salmonella, diarrhoea, typhoid, gastroenteritis and dysentery, to name a few of the many.
The German Cockroach (Blatella Germanica)
- This roach is between 12 to 15 mm in length
- The German Cockroach is yellowish and brownish and has two distinct longitudinal black streaks on the pronotum.
- They have wings, although they don’t fly
- The female carries the ootheca which is attached to her abdomen until her nymphs reaching hatching stage and live from 100 to 200 days. The females produce between 4 to 8 ootheca (egg cases) throughout their lives
- They are nocturnal creatures
The Brown Banded Cockroach (Supella Longipalpa)
- These cockroaches are between 10 to 15 mm in length (adults)
- The Brown Banded roach is reddish/brown and has a yellow halo around the pronotum edge; furthermore, they have two light yellow/brown bands across their bodies, have a flat shape with prickly legs and longish antennae
- The males can fly
- The females glue their egg cases in closets and furniture and produce between 10 to 14 eggs cases with each case containing between 10 to 18 eggs
The Oriental Cockroach (Blatta Orientalis)
- Between 17 to 30 mm in length (adult)
- The Oriental Cockroach is very dark – almost black
- They have wings and do not fly
- They can live up to 500 days
The American Cockroach (Periplaneta Americana)
- The American Cockroach reaches 25 to 40 mm in length
- The American Cockroach has wings that are reddish which cover the abdomen – they have a yellow band around the pronotum
- They can fly
- They live for 450 days
- The females produce between 9 and 10 cases during their lifetime with each containing between 12 to 16 eggs
It is advisable to call in pest control experts regardless of what species infiltrates your premises, whether it is your home or place of work.