With flat, oval-shaped bodies that can grow up to three inches long (depending on species), cockroaches have smaller heads protected by a shield-like pronotum and long, straight antennae. These bugs are often oily to the touch, and almost every species shares the same spiny legs that make them quick on their feet.
Although cockroaches may be easy to recognize once you've spotted them, most homeowners don't realize they've got an infestation until it's spiraled out of control. Not only are cockroaches most active at night, but they prefer to hide in dark, secluded areas of your home – and it could be months before you spot a live roach.
Here's what West Chester homeowners should know about the type of cockroaches they may find, how dangerous they are, how to prevent cockroaches, and how pest control in West Chester can help.
Types Of Roaches That Commonly Invade West Chester Homes
Some of the most common types of cockroaches in West Chester include:
- American cockroaches: Sometimes called waterbugs or palmetto bugs, American cockroaches can grow more than two inches in length and have infinity-shaped marks behind their heads.
- German cockroaches: German cockroaches are some of the most common roaches in the country, and you can recognize them by the two dark stripes on their back.
- Turkestan cockroaches: While they may prefer to live outdoors than indoors, Turkestan cockroaches are small, dark roaches that may sometimes infest buildings.
- Oriental cockroaches: Known for their oily sheen, oriental cockroaches have glossy, dark bodies and love moisture.
- Smokybrown cockroaches: Another roach that prefers outdoor living, smokybrown roaches can still end up in homes accidentally.
Out of this list, American, German, and Oriental cockroaches are the most common invaders of West Chester homes.
Is a cockroach a beetle, and how can you tell them apart? Cockroaches aren't always easy to identify, and many homeowners may mistake roaches for beetles – which are far less harmful and much easier to eliminate. So, how can you tell these two pests apart?
There are several different types of beetles, and ground beetles can look similar to American or Oriental cockroaches. Junebug beetles can also sometimes get mistaken for baby or nymph cockroaches.
While they may have similar coloring and sizes, cockroaches have flat, oval-shaped bodies, and beetles have segmented bodies. Ground beetles also have hard exoskeletons and large pincer jaws that you won't find on roaches.
However, these differences can be difficult to spot from a distance, so another way to tell these two pests apart is by their speed. Both roaches and beetles use their legs to crawl, but beetles move at a much slower pace than roaches do. Cockroaches can scurry across floors or walls extremely quickly, so if you see a fast-moving bug, it's probably a roach.
Besides physical differences, there are a few other ways to differentiate cockroaches and beetles. For one, beetles usually don't infest homes the same way that cockroaches do.
You might see the occasional beetle enter your home, but it's rare for beetles to infest and reproduce in large numbers the way roaches do. There are some exceptions to this, such as the carpet beetle, but seeing a ground beetle or Junebug beetle doesn't often indicate a full-blown infestation.
Cockroaches Trigger Allergies And Spread Diseases
Unfortunately, whether the infestation is small or large, cockroaches are far from harmless. These pests can be dangerous to you or your family in a couple of different ways:
- Cockroaches may carry harmful pathogens and bacteria, like streptococcus, salmonellosis, or staphylococcus, that can contaminate your home.
- An enzyme in a roach's discarded skin, droppings, and saliva can worsen asthmatic symptoms or trigger allergic reactions in many people.
- Severe infestations may even cause property damage, as roaches chew through food packaging, books, and even leather.
Besides the health risks, cockroaches are one of the trickiest pests to eliminate. Because they reproduce quickly and hide well, it's often difficult for homeowners to get rid of the entire infestation. Not to mention, these critters are more resilient than they might seem – cockroaches can become resistant to pesticides and survive a week after decapitation, so they're not always easy to kill with DIY techniques or home remedies.
Because of the hazards they bring into your home, it's important to be able to recognize a cockroach infestation. Some of the signs of a cockroach problem include:
- Roach Droppings: Cockroach droppings are one of the most obvious signs that you've got a roach problem. From book bindings to your favorite cereal, cockroaches will eat just about anything they can get their spiny hands on. As a result, they tend to leave droppings behind, which may resemble coffee grounds or pepper. You may find droppings around baseboards or areas where there's a lot of roach activity – but they can be difficult to spot if you're not sure what you're looking for.
- Smear Marks: Along with actual droppings, roaches tend to leave smear marks behind. You'll often find these dark stains smeared across baseboards and walls in areas where cockroaches are spending a lot of time.
- Egg Capsules: When they reproduce, cockroaches lay and hold their eggs in egg capsules, also called oothecae, which can hold up to thirty roach eggs at a time. Once the eggs have hatched, cockroaches don't need the egg capsules anymore, and these oothecae get discarded. Most capsules are only around ⅓-inch long, and can be tan, brown, or even black in color.
- Discarded Skin: As cockroach nymphs grow into mature adult roaches, they'll discard their skin up to eight times in the process. If you've got a cockroach infestation, it's not unusual to find piles of discarded and shed skin lying in places where there's high cockroach activity.
- Musty Odor: You may not notice it in minor or early cockroach infestations, but as your roach infestation becomes more severe, many homeowners report smelling a musty odor that seems to linger around their house. This odor may smell damp and unpleasant. It comes from the pheromones left behind in cockroach droppings.
If you're noticing these or other signs of a cockroach infestation, you'll want to take action right away to address the problem.
Five No-Sweat Tips To Keep Cockroaches Out Of Your House
Cockroach prevention is key for any homeowner, so here are some quick tips that West Chester residents can use to keep roaches away from their homes:
- Use foam or caulk to seal off any cracks or crevices surrounding your home so that cockroaches aren't able to get inside as easily.
- Store your food in closed containers or packages, and don't leave them sitting out in the open. Make sure you're not leaving dirty dishes in the sink for long periods of time either.
- Use trash bags that are durable enough not to leak or tear, and always keep a lid on your garbage can. This includes both indoor and outdoor garbage cans.
- Don't let clutter pile up around your home, including clothes piles, storage boxes, or other disorganization. Try to keep a regular schedule of when you'll clean (and deep clean) your home. Get rid of potential cockroach shelters and hiding places, like cardboard or stacks of newspapers.
- Try to limit where you prepare and eat food to only one or two rooms in your home.
Besides the tips listed above, working with a professional pest control company on a regular basis can help you actively prevent cockroaches in your West Chester home too.
What attracts cockroaches, and why are cockroaches in my house? Cockroaches are attracted to a lot of the same things that many pests are – warmth, shelter, food, and water. While some species, like the Turkestan or smokybrown roach, may only infest homes accidentally or if they have nowhere else to go, many roaches do seek out homes to live inside.
Homes that provide easy access to food and water are more likely to attract cockroaches, but these critters are capable of surviving almost anywhere. Even if your home is spotless, cockroaches are still usually able to find a food source.
As for how they get in, cockroaches can enter homes in a couple of different ways. They can crawl through tiny cracks and crevices around your home or sometimes crawl up through pipes or sewer systems.
The Most Effective Cockroach Control Solution For Your Home
When it comes to the best way to get rid of cockroaches, you're always better off using a professional pest control company like Masters Touch Pest Solutions than trying to fend them off on your own. Cockroaches are dangerous, reproduce quickly, and may already be resistant to over-the-counter pesticides.
An extreme pest like a cockroach often requires a more serious solution, and that's exactly what our experts at Masters Touch Pest Solutions can provide. If you've got roaches in your West Chester home that you'd like to get out, there's only one thing to do – contact us today at Masters Touch Pest Solutions to learn more about our cockroach control treatments or to schedule your inspection.