The mere mention of cockroaches can make a strong person shudder. Rightly so, too. They spread infectious disease as they sup on our food scraps and stored produce. And because cockroaches can eat almost anything, they cause millions of dollars of irreparable damage each year to manufacturing stock. Not to mention what the sight of a cockroach in a restaurant or other food outlet can do to your reputation and your revenue. They can also cause strong allergic reactions in some people.
Know your enemy
Cockroaches come from the same family of insects as termites and have remained largely unchanged for hundreds of millions of years. Worldwide there are around 4,000 species, with 450 found in Australia. However, only six species are considered pests and these are found in every major Australian city and town, with these two the most common.
The German cockroach is the hardest to get rid of and the most troublesome in Sydney. That’s because it’s one of the most destructive due to its prolific breeding and feeding habits. One female can produce up to 20,000 young annually, with development from egg to adult occurring in just 45 days. Because of this, a small infestation can become a major problem in just a few months.
About 12 mm long and beige to light-brown in colour, with two dark stripes on the back of its head, the German cockroach is the most widespread of its species, commonly turning up in homes, restaurants, food-processing plants, supermarkets and warehouses.
It thrives in moist, warm conditions with access to food and water, which is why they’re drawn to domestic kitchens and commercial food-handling areas, where they’re active at night and hide away during the day in dark, secure places.
You’ll find them near sinks, dishwashers, in cracks and crevices in the pantry, kitchen and bathroom cupboards, under electrical, heating and cooking appliances, and inside wall cavities or behind skirting boards. They also like the undersides of drawers or benchtops.
How they get there is mainly through individuals or egg cases attached to food containers, cartons, fridges, stoves and other appliances or materials brought into a building. (They do have wings but they rarely fly.) Here, they’ll eat almost anything but prefer starchy foods like potatoes, rice and cereal.
If you identify German cockroaches within your household or business, you should immediately call Marks Pest Management Services before a major infestation breaks out (if it already hasn’t).
The American cockroach is the largest of the species and the second most-common found in Australian households and businesses after the German. Adults are 30 to 50 mm in length and reddish-brown with a yellowish band behind the head. They’re competent flyers and are attracted to lights, especially on warm summer nights.
Like the German, the American cockroach favours warm, moist conditions but prefers to shy away in dark recesses. In colder regions, it lives indoors, whereas in warmer regions, it’s happy to stay mainly outdoors. Favourite daytime haunts are around sewers, and in wall, roof and subfloor voids, as well as congregating around hot water pipes, fridge motors, boilers and other heating appliances.
Whilst it will feed on a wide variety of plant and animal material, it prefers decaying, organic matter. Mind you, an adult can survive for two to three months without either food or water. Given that the eggs normally take over five to eight weeks to incubate, under ideal conditions, they can quickly reach plague proportions.
Is one cockroach too many?
Given their prodigious breeding, if you even just spot one cockroach in your household or business, you should call Marks Pest Management Services immediately, as an infestation can occur in a relatively short period.
How we’ll protect you
Due to their nature, managing cockroaches is an ongoing process, unfortunately. The normal course of action we take at Marks Pest Management Services is pre-emptive baiting followed by scheduled inspections. If infestation does occur, it normally requires multiple treatments in quick succession, then ongoing management.