How Did Cockroaches Get Into My Home?

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Cockroaches are a very common pest, and they are found in most regions of the United States. Arizona is no exception! We have five common types of cockroaches here in Arizona, and they are all a little different, but they have one thing in common: you probably don’t want to see them around your house! If you’ve spotted some cockroaches shacking up in your space, you may be wondering how they arrived in your home. After all, you keep things clean and dry, and do your best to make sure they don’t have a comfortable place to live. The truth is, every species has different ways of infiltrating your living spaces, and there are some simple things you can do to prevent them. In this post, we’ll explain how different species of cockroaches invade your property, and what you can do about it.

Brown-Banded Cockroaches

This species of cockroach is distinguished by the two lighter brown bands of color they have across their darker-colored bodies. The brown-banded cockroach tends to be a bit smaller than other species (the males are about half an inch long) so they can hide in smaller spaces where some cockroaches can’t fit. Male brown-banded cockroaches have fully developed wings, and can fly if disturbed. It’s hard to prevent brown-banded cockroaches from entering your home because they are what we like to call “hitchhiker” insects – they often make their way inside hidden in grocery bags, moving boxes and unused furniture. Once inside, they prefer warm, dry spaces (over 80 degrees) and tend to inhabit higher areas like tall kitchen or bathroom cabinets. While it can be difficult to keep them from getting into your house, you can keep them from turning into a serious problem by practicing good sanitation, not leaving dirty dishes or food sources out, and emptying your trash regularly. Be sure to check moving boxes and used furniture for cockroaches and their egg cases before bringing them indoors.

German Cockroaches

The German cockroach is one of the most common species of cockroach, and can quickly develop into a problem for homeowners – they can breed up to six generations a year! They are small cockroaches (half an inch to five-eighths of an inch long_ and can fit through very small spaces and cracks. They will eat almost anything – even soap and toothpaste! Similarly to the brown-banded cockroach, the German cockroach is most often brought into the home while hiding in other items, like used appliances and electronics – they like to live near the warm motors of electric appliances, so they are often stowed away inside. Unlike the brown-banded cockroach, they prefer warm, humid places near food and water sources, and are a common problem in commercial kitchens and bathrooms. To prevent German cockroaches from infesting your home, be sure to practice good sanitation and seal up any leaky pipes. Keep bathroom and kitchen areas clean and dry, and be sure to set up sticky traps around any used appliances you bring into your home. This will alert you to the German cockroach’s presence before they have time to breed and cause a major infestation.

Oriental Cockroaches

Otherwise known as “waterbugs” or “black beetle cockroaches,” the Oriental cockroach is larger than the brown-banded and German species, at about one inch long. They are shiny, with smooth black bodies and have a distinct odor. Unlike the brown-banded and German cockroaches, Oriental cockroaches prefer cool, wet climates and are capable of surviving freezing temperatures. They move slowly and are unable to fly, so they are usually found at ground-level in homes or outdoors. Their need for a wet environment means they are often found in damp basements or crawl spaces, under sinks, in sewers, under rocks, or even inside pipes and ventilation systems. They enter the home through gaps in windows or doors, cracks in foundations, and through utility pipes and floor drains. Because Oriental cockroaches can enter your home from the outdoors through pipes, structural cracks or gaps in doors and windows, it’s essential that you caulk up any spaces they could fit through. Installing screens on drains and pipes that lead indoors can also help keep them from infesting your home.

American Cockroaches

This largest common species of cockroach is what most people envision when they think of a cockroach. They can be up to two inches long, with a signature “figure eight” marking on the back of their heads. They are often found in large commercial buildings, or, more commonly, outdoors. The American cockroach prefers warmer climates, but can endure lower temperatures if necessary. These cockroaches prefer the outdoors, so you may see them in moist, shady areas in your yard, or near garbage cans. During extreme weather conditions, they may wander indoors to find food or water, and usually enter through cracks in a home’s foundation, or through utility pipes. They can also enter your home by climbing up trees or shrubs with branches that touch your home’s walls or roof. If you have American cockroaches indoors, you’re most likely to find them in damp basements, crawl spaces, under sink cabinets, or near toilets or bath tubs. As with Oriental cockroaches, take care to seal up any cracks in your foundation, or around windows and doors. Be sure to keep landscaping trimmed well away from your home to avoid creating a “pest highway” to doors, windows and your rooftop.

Turkestan Cockroaches

Turkestan cockroaches can be quite large, and can grow to over an inch in length. They are a rusted red color, and the males have fully developed wings and can fly. They are a relatively new invasive species in America, and are native to Africa and Central Asia, and have been replacing the Oriental cockroach in urban areas and the Southwest. While these cockroaches are typically an outdoor pest, they can sometimes find their way indoors. Males are strongly attracted to light, and their ability to fly enables them to enter your home through open windows and doors. They can be found in sewers or near outdoor water meters, or in compost piles and lawn debris. To prevent Turkestan cockroaches form accidentally entering your home, be sure to have screens on your doors or windows if you keep them open at night. To manage them outside of your home, be sure to keep your property neat and clean, and dispose of any yard waste properly.

If you fear preventative measures haven’t been enough and you have a cockroach infestation, we would be happy to help! We tailor our cockroach treatments to each type of cockroach so they will be most effective.