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Cockroaches by their nature, relatively large size, and reputation are a source of embarrassment and can lead to a loss of business if spotted in commercial settings. This general disgust toward cockroaches is well earned. Both German and American cockroaches are potential vectors of bacterial pathogens and parasitic worms that can cause different forms of gastroenteritis (food poisoning, dysentery, diarrhea, and other illnesses). Cockroach excrement and cast skins can cause allergic responses, such as skin rashes, watery eyes and sneezing, congestion of nasal passages and asthma.

Pest Overview

Cockroaches feed on human feces and frequent garbage cans, sewers and other disease-laden locations. As a result, roaches are capable of carrying and transferring a variety of pathogens that contaminate food products and cause diseases in humans, including Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli, Streptococcus (pneumonia), hookworms, pinworms, tapeworms, and even viruses. Moreover, roaches are a common source of allergic reactions and up to 60% of asthmatic patients — especially children — are sensitive to cockroach allergens (feces, saliva, egg cases and cast skins). Thus, the management of roaches is a must wherever they are present.

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Cockroaches Treatment Options

One-time Roach Control

Adam’s licensed, Pest Management Professional (PMP) will use the most effective treatment protocol to exterminate roaches in your home, including the use of baits, insect growth regulators, and when needed, an EPA-approved residual insecticide applied directly into cracks and crevices where the roaches harbor. Your Adam’s PMP will also conduct a thorough inspection to locate the source of the roach infestation. Your assistance is necessary to eliminate roaches. Adam’s will provide instructions to prepare for the treatment that includes cleaning and sanitation to eliminate harborage and food sources. Adams one-time roach service is warranted for 3 months.

Premier Home Pest Prevention

Adam’s best value for prevention and control of common household pests, including cockroaches! Adam’s Premier Home Pest Prevention service provides year-round pest prevention of pests with a minimum of four visits throughout the year. Service visits include inspection and monitoring. And should a pest problem ever occur between scheduled visits, the plan includes additional treatments at no additional charge. This program includes common household pests like spiders, centipedes, sow bugs, and roaches; and seasonal pests like wasps, multicolored Asian lady beetles, ants, and mice.

More About Cockroaches


  • American cockroaches can be seen rushing into dark places or under appliances at night.

  • You may also find roach droppings or egg capsules in secluded areas.

  • American cockroach droppings are small, have ridges on the sides, and have blunt ends. (By contrast, mouse droppings have pointed ends.)

  • American cockroaches and cockroaches in general, have a foul scent that may be detectable near their hiding places.


  • Inspect thoroughly to locate the source of the infestation, especially in wall voids, sewer areas, or any other moist, warm and dark places.

  • An inspection by a trained, licensed Adam’s professional will also determine the best treatment method to exterminate cockroaches in your home.


  • Adult American cockroaches are 1 ½” – 1 ¾” in length.

  • They are reddish brown with a pale band in the edges of the pronotum (the upper surface of the prothorax, the first segment of the thorax).

  • American cockroaches have chewing mouthparts

  • Males and females are fully winged, and the wings of the male American cockroach extend beyond the tip of its abdomen.

  • Unlike most other cockroach species, the American cockroach adults can fly (poor to moderate flier), and are also attracted to light.

  • American cockroach nymphs are wingless.

  • Early nymphal instars are uniformly grayish brown dorsally, paler ventrally, and shiny. The cerci (singular cercus- one of a pair of dorsal appendages at the posterior end of the abdomen) are slender, and distinctly tapered from the base with length about 5 times the width

  • Later instars are reddish brown with lateral and posterior margins of the thorax and lateral areas (sides) of abdominal segments somewhat darker. The cerci are about the same as in the early instars. The widest segments are 2.5 times as wide as long. The antennae are uniformly brown.

  • Ater molting, American cockroach nymphs are white and then become a uniformly reddish-brown.

  • American cockroaches’ egg capsules (ootheca) are 3/8” in length and purse shaped.

  • The ootheca is brown when deposited and turns black in a day or two.


  • Yes, because American cockroaches are attracted to feces, travel via sewers, and contact unclean surfaces, they are capable of carrying and mechanically transmitting a variety of pathogenic agents that may contaminate food products and cause diseases to the humans.

  • Disease-causing organisms are carried on the legs and bodies of cockroaches, and are deposited on food supplies, food preparation surfaces, dishes, utensils, and other surfaces as the cockroaches forage.

  • Different forms of gastroenteritis (food poisoning, dysentery, diarrhea, etc.) appear to be the principal diseases transmitted by cockroaches.

  • Moreover, cockroaches in general are among common sources of allergic reactions. Recently, it has been documented that from 23 – 60% of asthmatic patients, especially children are sensitive to cockroach allergens found in roach feces, saliva, egg cases and cast skins.

  • Like other pests, American cockroaches by their nature and relatively large size are unpleasant to most people and can inspire “entomophobia” (a fear of insects or other arthropods) and cause negative consequences and possibly a loss of business in commercial sectors.


  • During the summer months, American cockroaches can be found outdoors in yards and alleys; in cracks and crevices of porches and foundations, under mulching materials, under decks and walkways adjacent to buildings.
  • During certain times of the year, especially during extremes in weather conditions, American cockroaches may enter a house or building from outside, seeking warmer temperatures, food, water, or shelter.
  • American cockroaches have flexible and elastic bodies that enable them to squeeze through tiny entry points.
  • Generally, ways American cockroaches find their way into the structure include, but are not limited to: via sewer systems, by trees and shrubs touching the building, and under doors, especially if the weather stripping is damaged or missing
  • Around utility pipes, air ducts, or other openings in the foundation
  • American cockroaches prefer very warm, dark and moist areas; still, they can infest dry areas if they have access to water.


  • American cockroaches are omnivorous, meaning they will eat anything.

  • Outdoors, American cockroaches eat organic materials, bark, leaves, plant materials, tiny wood particles, fungi and algae. They also eat small bugs.

  • Indoors, American cockroaches eat what you and your pets would eat. Including, crumbs, leftover and spilled food..

  • If food sources are scarce, America cockroaches may survive on hair, flakes of dried skin, wool clothes, sugar, cheese, beer, bread, bakery products, oil, lemons, soap, fish, dead animals, leather, paper, ink, manuscripts, starch in book bindings, glue, other cockroaches (dead or alive), or their own feces, shed skins, and egg-capsules.

  • American cockroaches have a cooperative relationship, called “symbiotic” with bacteria that allows them to digest cellulose.

  • The bacteria manufacture all the vitamins and amino acids the cockroach needs to live.

  • Interestingly, American cockroaches down these bacteria to new generations of cockroaches by their mothers.

  • When food and water sources are rare, the adults can survive two or three months without food, but only about a month without water.

  • American cockroaches are cautious and are usually active at night, but when they are hungry, they may come out searching for food during the day.


  • American cockroaches have a high reproduction rate.

  • They develop through gradual metamorphosis, consisting of three life stages: egg, nymph and adult.

  • For mating purposes, females produce a pheromone that attracts males from as far away as 98 feet.

  • A mated American cockroach female produces an egg capsule called an “oothecae” once every week.

  • Each ootheca contains from 14 to 16 eggs.

  • Depending on food availability, an American cockroach female produces from 15-70 oothecals during her life span.

  • Unlike German cockroaches, American cockroach females only carry their oothecals for about one or two days before they glue them to a suitable protected surface using secretions from their mouths.

  • At room temperature, American cockroach eggs hatch in 50-55 days.

  • American cockroach nymphs molt 9-13 times before reaching the adulthood. This takes approximately 160-971 days.


  • An adult American cockroach female can live up to two years, while American cockroach males live for a shorter period (up to one year).

  • Environmental conditions such as temperature and relative humidity influence the life cycle of American cockroaches. It has been reported that nymphs move and feed at temperatures between 59.9 – 89.06°F, and stop moving at temperatures 38.48- 44.78°F; whereas adults are usually active at temperatures between 63.68 – 87.98°F and become inactive at 41.36°F.

  • Although they prefer moisture and warmth, temperatures above 107.6°F are lethal for American cockroaches.

  • American cockroaches also do not tolerate cold temperatures well. They die at temperatures below 15°F.


  1. A cockroach can live for a week without its head. A cockroach is not dependent on its mouth or head to breathe. The roach only dies because without a mouth, it can’t drink water and eventually dies of thirst.

  2. Cockroaches can hold their breath for 40 minutes, and can even survive being submerged under water for half an hour.

  3. Cockroaches can run up to three miles in an hour.

  4. A one-day-old baby cockroach can run almost as fast as an adult cockroach.

  5. American cockroaches are attracted to starch- and sugar based materials, thus they are attracted to beer and alcohol made with hops and sugar.

  6. The world’s largest roach (which lives in South America) is six inches long with a one-foot wingspan.

  7. Cockroaches walked the earth with the dinosaurs. Cockroaches are believed to have originated more than 280 million years ago.

  8. There are more than 4,000 species of cockroaches worldwide, including the most common species, the German cockroach.

  9. There are species of roaches on every continent except Antarctica.

  10. Contrary to popular myth, cockroaches cannot withstand a nuclear explosion. A cockroach can withstand 10 times more radiation than a person, but they would not survive a nuclear event.

  11. There are also many indigenous tribes that eat cockroaches, live or cooked.

  12. In China, cockroaches are deep fried and sold on sticks on the streets.

  13. So long as the cockroaches are on a diet of food and vegetables, they should be safe to eat, although doctors still warn against the practice.

  14. Back in 2008 and 2011, The Six Flags Great America theme park in Chicago offered park passes to the winner of a contest to eat the most live cockroaches in five minutes.

  15. In October 2012, a competitor named Edward Archbold died shortly after participating in bug-eating competition in south Florida. He suffocated after choking on bits of cockroach that got lodged in his throat.

  16. Scientists searching for an alternative to antibiotics have found that the nerve cells of cockroaches have the ability to kill 90% of MRSA and E. coli with no harmful effect on human cells.

  17. Cockroach fighting originated in China and was introduced to the US over 100 years ago. The New York Times carried a report in 1886 of a group of Chinese people traveling around major cities and staging roach fights.

  18. Entomology students from Maryland’s Loyola University raise and train Madagascar cockroaches each fall term for cockroach racing. The cockroaches compete in sprint and endurance events.


  • As with other species, German cockroaches are mostly active at night, when they forage for food, water, and mates.

  • German cockroaches hide in cracks and crevices and other dark harborages that provide a warm and humid environment.

  • German cockroaches’ relatively wide, flat bodies enable them to move in and out of cracks and narrow openings with ease.

  • German cockroach feces may appear as small, dark, “pepper-like” material in the corners of rooms, around small cracks and openings, and on counter surfaces.

  • German cockroaches secrete an odor that may cause the area they are infesting to smell “musty”.


Using a flashlight, check the following common hiding places for German cockroaches:

  • Cracks and Crevices of moist and warm areas

  • Behind and under refrigerators, stoves, microwaves, and toasters

  • Under tops of tables and in the corners, cracks and crevices of cabinets

  • Behind and under sinks

  • In the motor areas of refrigerators and soft drink dispensing machines

  • In switchboxes and electrical outlets

  • Under and behind cafeteria counters and soda fountains

  • In, beneath, and behind garbage and recycling bins

  • Anywhere else conditions are dark and moist


  • German cockroach adults are about ½” to 5/8” in length.

  • German cockroaches are light brown to tan except for pronounced parallel stripes along the pronotum (or head), sometimes extending the length of the body.

  • German cockroach nymphs go through a series of molts or “instars” in which their size and color will vary, but essentially they look like smaller versions of the adult and lack wings.

  • Although German cockroaches have fully developed wings, they do not fly.

The German cockroaches’ antennae are a little longer than the length of their body, and serve as powerful sensory devices for evaluating their environment, finding food and receiving messages from other roaches.


  • German cockroaches are known for their ability to transmit a number of pathogens, including E. coli, Salmonella spp. and Typhus. In fact, vomiting, fever, and diarrhea can often be traced to a roach problem.

  • German cockroaches feed and live in areas that harbor dangerous bacteria, such as sewers, garbage disposals, and dumpsters.

  • Food contamination can occur when German cockroaches carry bacteria on their bodies into food preparation areas.

  • Recent studies indicate that the allergens from the excrement and shed skin of cockroaches can trigger asthma attacks in children and individuals.

  • German cockroaches are capable of biting but rarely if ever do. Roach bites should not present a problem unless the bite gets infected.


  • German cockroaches are excellent “hitchhikers.”

  • Typically, German cockroaches are brought into a new environment on paper products, cardboard boxes, grocery bags, used or 2nd hand appliances, and in rare cases in people’s clothes.

  • Rarely will German cockroaches migrate from building to building or be seen outdoors.

  • In apartments and other multi-housing buildings, German cockroaches may spread along utility lines, rubbish rooms, trash chutes, laundry rooms, storage areas, and other shared facilities.

  • German cockroaches are usually found in kitchens and bathrooms where they find heat and higher relative humidity. But they are not limited to these areas.

  • German cockroaches are also found in appliances such as radios, clocks, TV’s, phones, stoves, and refrigerators.

  • German cockroaches need food, water or moisture, heat and humidity, and shelter to survive.


  • German cockroaches are mostly scavengers and will feed on any food source available, including crumbs missed during cleaning and dirty dishes left in the sink overnight, as well as starches, sweets, grease, meat products, almost any other human or pet food, garbage, toothpaste, soap and the bindings of books.

  • German cockroaches can survive without food for up to 30 days, but they will dehydrate if they are denied moisture for more than two weeks.


  • German cockroaches reach sexual maturity in a very short time and produce a large number of eggs, resulting in rapid population growth.

  • The German cockroach has three developmental stages: egg, nymph (several stages), and adult.

  • Female German cockroaches only need to mate once for the production of young.

  • Females produce a light brown, purse-shaped egg capsule (ootheca) that is less than ¼” in length and contains two rows of eggs.

  • Each capsule contains up to 30 to 48 eggs (average of 35), and an adult German cockroach female usually produces from four to eight egg capsules during her lifetime.

  • A significant number of German cockroach nymphs hatch successfully because the female carries the egg capsule on her back during the entire time the embryos are developing within the eggs.

  • When the time for the eggs to hatch is close, the female German cockroach deposits the egg capsule in a protected area, close to food, moisture, and suitable shelter.

  • It usually takes 28 days for the capsule to hatch from the time it begins to form.

  • German cockroaches produce an egg capsule about every 6 weeks.

  • German cockroaches mature through six to seven nymphal stages (instars) occurring over a period of 6 to 31 weeks.

  • There can be 3 to 4 generations of German cockroaches per year, depending on environmental conditions (heat/humidity, food, moisture, shelter, etc.).

  • The life span of the adult female German cockroach ranges from 20 to 30 weeks.

  • In one year over 10,000 descendants can be produced, assuming two generations per year.


  1. Despite their name, German cockroaches are found all over the world.

  2. German cockroaches are not even originally from Germany. Many researchers believe they originated in Africa or Southeast Asia.

American cockroaches

In the Northern United Sates, American cockroaches are more commonly found in commercial buildings, food processing facilities, and food storage areas than in single family houses. American cockroaches are usually found in city sewer systems or on the ground floor or lower levels of a building, particularly around pipes and drains. Common key hiding areas of American cockroaches include the following places.

German cockroach

The German cockroach is the most common species of cockroaches infesting homes and businesses in our area and in most parts of the world