Cockroaches are generally regarded as repulsive creatures with habits that spread disease producing organisms around the environment in which they dwell. They represent a primitive and highly successful group of animals whose origins extend back at least 300 million years! Cockroaches eat virtually everything; animal or human food or beverage plus any dead animal or vegetable material. Cockroaches contaminate food products, utensils and surface areas with their droppings, cast skins, empty egg cases and vomit. They are the number one problem in most business premises, especially food premises. The most common pest species in Australia include (but are not limited to):
American Cockroach (Periplaneta americana)
These are probably the largest cockroach found in dwellings, growing up to 40mm. Reddish to chocolate brown in colour with a pale border around the head and wings that cover the abdomen. This species is mainly found outdoors, in drains and in roof and sub-floor voids in warmer regions but tends to live indoors in colder regions. Flies in warm weather and often travels for food. Where water is available adults can survive up to 3 months without food. Females can lay up to 50 egg cases containing up to 16 eggs per case.
Australian Cockroach (Periplaneta australasiae)
Australian Cockroaches are large in size, growing to 35mm, and similar in appearance to the American Cockroach. They are dark brown in colour with a pale stripe on each wing and a distinctive yellow border around the head. Found mainly outdoors, under bark and leaf litter and in roof and sub floor voids. Prefers warm, humid environments and will fly in warm weather. Is not found as readily in cooler climates. Females can lay up to 20 egg cases containing up to 24 eggs per case.
German Cockroach (Blattella germanica)
German cockroaches are small in size growing to 25mm. Light brown in colour, they can be correctly identified by the 2 dark brown stripes on their heads. This species causes the most problems and damage. If infestation is severe it can be a long and costly process to get them under control. Generally found in kitchens and food handling areas, appliances and water heaters but may also be found in wall cavities, bathrooms, laundries and other places which provide moisture and warmth. They are the most prolific breeder of all the cockroach species. Where water is available adults can survive up to a month without food. A German Cockroach reaches maturity in just 40 days. Females can lay up to 8 egg cases containing up to 40 eggs per case.
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