How Do The Three Primary Cockroach Pests In New York State Enter Homes, And How Do They Contaminate Human Foods And Indoor Surfaces?

Along with flies and ants, cockroaches are the most common indoor insect pests in the world, and they are probably the most hated as well. In addition to being aesthetically unappealing, it is now understood that living within cockroach infested conditions presents multiple medical hazards. More than 4,500 cockroach species have been documented worldwide, but only three species are commonly found within homes and buildings in all areas of the contiguous US. These three species are commonly known as American, German and Oriental cockroaches, and they are known for congregating within wall voids and other hard-to-access indoor areas where they rapidly proliferate. Another cockroach species, the brown-banded cockroach, is an indoor dwelling roach pest found in most US states, but they have become relatively scarce in the country for reasons that are not well understood by experts.

The brown-colored American cockroach is the largest roach pest species in the country, as male and female adults both measure between 1 ¼ to 2 or more inches in body length. Although all three of the above mentioned cockroach pest species derive benefits from living in close association with humans, American and Oriental cockroaches prefer to dwell outdoors in urban and suburban areas. American cockroaches are prevalent within sewer systems, and it is not unheard of for these pests to travel into homes from sewers or septic tanks. In most infestation cases, both American and Oriental cockroaches invade homes through gaps beneath doors, crawl spaces, and cracks, crevices and other entry points on the exterior foundation-walls of homes. The German cockroach, on the other hand, dwell primarily indoors, and infestations start after adults, nymphs, or eggs are inadvertently transported into homes within infested items, such as firewood, old books, boxes, and grocery bags.

Cockroach pests will eat virtually anything that they can fit into their mouthparts, but they have a particular liking for sugary and starchy items such as sweets, cardboard and book-bindings. They will also readily eat organic waste, such as feces, sputum, finger and toe nails, dead skin, ear wax, rotting leaf litter, rotting food, and much more. Due to their natural habits of feeding on waste materials, and dwelling within pathogen rich environments, cockroaches mechanically transmit numerous disease-causing organisms to human food and indoor surfaces. Cockroach pests also defecate and vomit on the food items they consume, and filth collects within their body crevices and on their leg hairs. Because of this, any object that cockroach pests make contact with should be considered contaminated, including kitchen counters and fruits that are decoratively placed in bowls on kitchen tables.

Have you ever caught cockroach pests in your pantry or cupboards?