Several cockroach species that are known pests of homes can be found throughout the United States, the most common of which include German, American, Oriental, brown-banded, and smokybrown cockroaches. Although cockroaches require moist living conditions in order to thrive, multiple roach pest species are abundant in the arid Sonoran Desert including the recently introduced Turkestan and Surinam cockroach species. According to Jeff Schalau of the Arizona Cooperative Extension, the American cockroach is the most commonly encountered, and the most commonly managed cockroach pest species in homes and buildings in Arizona. While all cockroach pest species are excessively filthy and are known for carrying numerous disease-causing microorganisms, American cockroaches are particularly foul due to their habit of populating sewers and septic tanks. Amazingly, sewer-dwelling American cockroaches sometimes travel up pipes and emerge from indoor drains.
The American cockroach is the largest roach pest species in the United States, as their average body length slightly exceeds 1 ½ inches, and specimens longer than 2 inches are frequently collected by researchers and pest control professionals. This makes American cockroaches significantly larger than German, field and brown-banded cockroaches, all three of which are between ½ and ⅝ of an inch in body length. American cockroaches are also noticeably larger than Oriental, Surinam and Turkestan cockroaches, all of which normally grow to lengths between 1 and 1 ¼ of an inch in length. American cockroaches are brown in color like most roach pests, but in addition to their large size, American cockroaches can be readily identified by the yellow band located at the top of their back immediately below the head. Although the species has a hefty frame, American cockroaches can easily invade homes by squeezing beneath door gaps, and even narrow cracks and crevices on the external walls of homes. Using caulk to seal these potential entry points, and installing barriers like door sweeps and mesh screens on crawl space openings, will greatly reduce the probability of infestation. Pest control professionals may apply a perimeter insecticide treatment around homes that see repeat American cockroach invasions, and pellet baits are considered by many professionals to be the most effective method treating heavy American cockroach infestations.
Have you ever encountered an American cockroach in your home?