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Published on: 2/17/2015 10:04 AM

Left to right: German, Oriental, and American cockroaches plus the (
enlarged) egg cases

Cockroaches are broad, flattened insects with long antennae and a prominent, shield-shaped section behind the head called a pronotum. They are black, brown or reddish in color, come in a variety of sizes, and can be found indoors or outdoors.

Cockroaches find their way into homes through tiny cracks in the foundation, or through doors and windowsills. They can also hitch a ride in a grocery bag, on newly delivered furniture, used home appliances, or even a sack of farm produce. Visitors can bring in the cockroach hiding in their coat pockets, purse, or packages.

Cockroaches are not often encountered by people unless their populations become very large. They prefer to hide in dark, warm areas and have a tendency to scatter when disturbed. Cockroaches are usually gathered in clusters, near food and water sources. In large numbers, they cause stains on wall surfaces. They usually spread their saliva, feces, and cast skins all over the infestation site. In addition, cockroach infestations can be indicative of poor sanitation and faulty/deteriorating construction.

Many people get frightened and/or disgusted by the simple presence of cockroaches. They secrete disagreeable odors and cause food poisoning and diarrhea to people by contaminating food and eating utensils. In addition, some indoor cockroaches are known to carry pathogens that cause human diseases. They can destroy clothing, fabrics, books and old papers.

Immature cockroaches (nymphs) look like adults, but they are smaller and do not have wings before reaching adult stage of their life cycle. Cockroaches are usually active at night. These scavengers can eat almost anything and create multiple problems to man.

Effective cockroach control essentially requires the elimination of food, water sources and hiding places. Sprays or baits alone will not eliminate cockroaches completely. When using pesticides, always follow the pesticide label ).

As of July 31, 2003, the District no longer provides spraying services for roach-infested water-meter boxes, storm drains and manholes.

However, the District will continue to provide educational materials concerning the various species of cockroaches commonly found in the county: the German cockroach, the Oriental cockroach, and the American cockroach.

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