There's plenty to appreciate about Charlotte, but its population of cockroaches isn't one of them. These pests aren't shy about invading your home, so what should you know about cockroach control?
Here's the Charlotte homeowners' guide to what a cockroach is, how long they live, simple tips to get rid of cockroaches, and how pest control in Charlotte can help.
What Is A Cockroach?
What is a cockroach? Cockroaches are a type of social insect that congregates and lives in groups. If you find one cockroach in your home, there's probably more lurking nearby. Their name "cockroach" comes from a Latin word meaning "shines in the light." Considering their oily and greasy exoskeletons, it's a fitting description. They also belong to the same class of insects as termites, although these pests don't look or act very similar.
A cockroach's appearance can vary from species to species, but cockroaches have six-legged bodies separated into three parts: a head, thorax, and abdomen. Many species also have wings, but most cockroaches aren't great fliers.
What do cockroaches do? Most cockroaches spend their time looking for food and water, which is why they may invade your home. Not all cockroaches want to live indoors, but the most common species in Charlotte do. These pests thrive in dark, damp environments and are "opportunistic eaters." They like eating human leftovers, but they'll chew on just about anything – including dust or human hair.
Some cockroaches need more moisture than others, but many species will hang out in moist environments – like near water heaters or in humid rooms of your house.
What kinds of cockroaches invade Charlotte homes? The most common cockroach species in North Carolina include:
Also known as water bugs, flying water bugs, and palmetto bugs, American cockroaches have many names. They're also the largest house-infesting roach in the country. American roaches easily grow over an inch long, with many growing close to three inches in length.
Along with their large size, you can usually recognize these roaches by the unique, yellow figure-eight marking on the back of their heads. Once they become adults, they're also one of the few cockroaches capable of flight. American roaches have wings and may fly or glide short distances.
While this species doesn't mind living outside, they're likely to venture inside homes for food and water, and they have a preference for areas with high humidity like bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.
While German cockroaches usually don't grow more than half an inch long, they make up for their smaller size in sheer numbers. Not only do German roaches reproduce more quickly than most other types of cockroaches, but they're also the most common type of cockroach in the country.
Most people can spot German roaches by the dark stripes on their thorax. While they may have wings, these roaches aren't capable of actually flying. Although they don't mind spending time in sewers or drains, they prefer to live in the warmer, humid areas of your home, like your bathroom or kitchen.
While they may get mistaken for beetles, oriental cockroaches are a lot more dangerous than your average beetle. Most oriental cockroaches have darker coloring with a glossy or greasy-looking sheen that separates them from other cockroach types. They can grow a little over an inch in length, but they're unable to fly like American roaches are.
Many people consider oriental cockroaches to be one of the most unsanitary types of cockroaches. They may live outdoors during the summer, but once the temperature drops, they have no trouble invading homes – especially rooms that are warm, dark, and humid.
Brown-banded cockroaches usually only grow up to half an inch long, and they get their name from the dark brown bands that encircle their bodies. Both female and male brown-banded cockroaches have wings, but only male roaches are able to fly.
Brown-banded cockroaches don't mind living outside, but if they manage to get inside your home, they're not likely to leave. This species is more active at night and prefers wandering around appliances, attics, or even ceilings.
Wood cockroaches can sometimes get confused with American or German cockroaches, but there's a translucent stripe on the outside of their wings that sets them apart. The good news for homeowners is that wood roaches prefer living outside, but they can sometimes still accidentally invade your home – especially male wood cockroaches looking for a mate in the springtime.
How Long Do Cockroaches Live?
Most common cockroaches live anywhere from four to six months, especially if they have easy access to food and water. Even though they live less than a year, an adult female cockroach can produce nearly 400 new roaches before she dies.
Once they've become adults, cockroaches are much harder to eliminate – these pests are more resilient than you might think. Not only can cockroaches survive up to a month without food, but even if you decapitate them, a headless cockroach can still live up to a week.
Submerging cockroaches in water or flushing them down the toilet isn't usually enough to eliminate them either. Cockroaches can hold their breath for close to forty minutes, so they've got plenty of time to escape.
Even common pesticides and insecticides don't always stand up to the resilient cockroach. Many cockroaches are resistant to these chemicals, and they give birth to new roaches that are also resistant. Before you know it, you can have an entire infestation immune to over-the-counter insecticides.
As short as a cockroach's lifespan may be, they've still got plenty of time to wreak havoc. Since they reproduce so quickly, a cockroach infestation can spiral out of control within a few months. This is why many homeowners end up relying on professional pest control to help them get rid of an infestation.
Six Simple Cockroach Prevention Tips
Because cockroaches are motivated by food and water, there are ways you can prevent these pests – or make the risk of a cockroach infestation less likely. Here are six simple prevention tips that don't require any heavy-duty materials:
- Keep any food products and items tightly sealed: Any food products, including pet food, can serve as an attraction for roaches, so you'll want to make sure you keep them tightly sealed and properly stored.
- Don't leave dirty dishes sitting in the sink too long: Dirty dishes contain food particles, and leaving them in the sink too long can draw roaches in just like any other food item. Try to wash dirty dishes as soon as possible, preferably before the end of the night.
- Vacuum and sweep regularly: While you may think you've gotten every crumb and scrap, some may still end on the floor (and in a cockroach's mouth). Regularly vacuuming and sweeping your home, especially areas where you eat, can help reduce food particles even further.
- Keep a tight lid on any garbage cans: Just like open leftovers can bring roaches in, so can an unsealed garbage can. Make sure you're keeping both indoor and outdoor cans tightly sealed as well as regularly emptied.
- Address drainage and moisture issues once you find them: Since moisture is a huge attraction for roaches, it's important to make sure you're addressing and dealing with leaky faucets, pipes, and other plumbing problems as soon as you notice them. If there's an area of your house that's too humid, installing a dehumidifier can reduce the risk of cockroaches coming in.
- Get rid of excess clutter: Cardboard, paper, and other storage boxes can not only serve as a food source for roaches but also a hiding spot. Regularly clearing out excess clutter can prevent roaches from using these items in your home.
These prevention tips aren't completely foolproof, so if you still end up with roaches, you should contact a professional pest control company like Go-Forth Pest Control. We'll be able to help you permanently get rid of an American or German cockroach nest.
Professional Cockroach Control For Charlotte Residents
The tips above are a great place to start for house cockroach prevention, but they won't do much if you've got an existing cockroach problem on your hands. As quickly as cockroaches reproduce and as dangerous as they can be for your health, there's only one foolproof way to get rid of them: professional help from Go-Forth Pest Control.
Serving Charlotte and surrounding areas in North Carolina, we've been protecting local families for years. Keeping your home safe is always our number one priority. If you're finding signs of cockroaches around your Charlotte home or you're already aware of an existing infestation, there's no time to waste. Call us today at Go-Forth Pest Control to learn how our industry-leading experts can help solve the cockroach infestation in your home.