Autumn, the Ideal Time to Fight the Processionary Plague

It is not far-fetched, taking into account the place where our home is located and its climatic conditions, to suffer from a plague of cockroaches. And it is that this insect, can reproduce and cause serious inconvenience to the habitability of a house, being necessary its extermination.

But how is it that less and less the term “extermination company” appears? The semantics seem silly, but it is not. No company is defined, or at least none of those considered serious, as extermination companies, but as pest control or vector control companies.

Ensuring the extermination of cockroaches is, at least, risky, considering that fossils of more than 300 million years have been found. Our job will, therefore, be to keep the cockroach pest controlled within the tolerance thresholds.

These thresholds are different in each case. A sewer, a lift pit, a restaurant or an operating room is not the same. Each one of them will require a different approach, but in all cases,  the success of the treatment will depend very much on the good work of the applicator technician and the involvement of the users of the treated facility.

It is always preferable, in addition to legally binding, to prevent the indiscriminate use of chemical products. For this, the fixation of structural defects and the adoption of certain habits of order and cleanliness, are fundamental to achieve the objective of controlling a pest of cockroaches.

Species that can be found in a cockroach pest

Let’s review at this point what we are going to find when we control a cockroach pest. Although more than 4,500 species are known, only 30 of them share habitat with humans and, of these,  only four are considered to be cockroach pests. There are two species, so to speak, associated with sewage, and two others associated with the heat and humidity of our homes and businesses.

Next, we will see the most common when facing a pest of cockroaches:

The eastern cockroach, an expert in humid areas

The eastern cockroach,  Blatta orientalis, has a size that varies between 20 and 25 mm. It is dark brown, almost black. Females get rid of the ootheca, which can contain up to 16 eggs, without waiting for them to mature. Adult specimens (imagos) live for four to six months. Its ideal habitat is humid areas, such as basements, arches or sewers. They can withstand low temperatures and access homes or businesses through downspouts, air chambers or drains.

The American cockroach, high-flying

The  American cockroach,  Periplaneta americana,  is the largest of the four. Its length ranges between 35 and 40 mm. It is bright reddish and, at high temperatures, males can fly. The female carries the library to find a safe place to deposit it. This can contain up to 28 eggs that will take between 1 and 2 months to hatch. Adult specimens can live up to 15 months. It is very prolific and in our country, it has displaced the eastern cockroach in the warmest areas, such as Andalusia, the Canary Islands, and the Mediterranean coast. Look for warm, humid and dark areas to nest. They access high areas and from there, planning, they reach other places.

The German cockroach, a coffee lover

The  German cockroach,  Blattella germanica, is known as the coffee cockroach. It measures from 12 to 15 mm. It is brown and has 2 dark bands on the thorax. Their legs have pads that, like a suction cup, allow them to move easily through smooth walls. The females carry the ootheca with them until the moment the eggs hatch. Each of these ootheques can contain up to 40 eggs and their incubation period is approximately 1 month. The longevity of Blattella germanica ranges from 3 to 6 months. Nighttime insect,  look for warm and humid areas to nest. For example, coffee machines, dishwashers, etc.

The brown band cockroach, the smallest

The brown-band cockroach,  Supella longipalpa, is the smallest of the four. Its length ranges between 10 and 14 mm. It is yellowish-brown and has two lighter bands on the abdomen.  The females deposit the ootheca the day after their formation and this one can contain up to 16 eggs. Adult specimens can live up to 10 months. They need a warm temperature to develop, although it survives with less humidity than the German cockroach, the other considered “indoor.”

Recommendations for dealing with a cockroach pest

As with other annoying insects, such as lice or bedbugs,  there is a false belief that cockroaches only enter dirty premises or homes. It is true that lack of hygiene greatly facilitates its development. But a pest of cockroaches can occur anywhere.

Several indications warn us of the presence of cockroaches. Being an insect of nocturnal habits,  we will only see live specimens in case of high infestation, so it is very important to observe remains of molts or ootheques, droppings or spots in the passage areas.

Cockroaches look for foods high in starch, fats, and sugars, such as meat, cheese or pastries, but they can eat almost anything, from dead animals to books, through decaying hair or vegetables and rotting wood. Let’s not forget that they are the first sisters of termites.

In humans, a pest of cockroaches can cause allergies and other diseases, as they usually carry pathogenic microbes on their body surface. It is therefore very important to  follow some recommendations to avoid their proliferation:

  • Extreme cleanliness, especially with food scraps and, in particular, under and behind appliances.
  • Keep food stored in airtight containers.
  • Do not leave water or food for our pets at night on the ground.
  • Empty and clean trash bins frequently. Food and humidity are its main attractions.
  • Avoid sources of moisture such as leaks, condensations or rinsed glasses and dishes.
  • Seal cracks and crevices that could serve as access.