Cockroach Identification

August 11, 2020

Did you know that cockroach fossils as old as 350 million years have been found, predating dinosaurs? Even with all that history, cockroaches still get a bad rap. With more than 4,500 species of cockroaches in the world, only four are known pests in Maine.

If you see a cockroach, don't panic Not all cockroaches are bad. The most commonly misidentified cockroaches in Maine are the German Cockroach and the Pennsylvania Wood Roach. Both species have almond shaped bodies, wings, antennae and six legs but they lead very different lives.

The Pennsylvania Wood Roach is generally harmless and unlikely to make you sick. In fact, they’re beneficial to the environment as they eat decaying plant materials, turning it into fertilizer. The German Cockroach, however, can make you sick by carrying and spreading disease, bacteria, and causing allergic reactions from their excrement and molted skeletons—these are the home invaders.

Here’s a cheat sheet to tell the difference between harmless or pest:

Pennsylvania Wood Roach 

  • Eats decaying plant materials
  • Dark brown in color and approximately 1" in length 
  • Prefers the outdoors and lives in woodpiles, hollow trees, and stumps
  • Enters your home “accidentally” by flying towards light sources or being carried in with firewood, for example


German Cockroach

  • They are not loners—if you see one, there are more
  • Prefers to eat garbage, starches, sweets, grease, meat products but will eat anything
  • Prefers to live in dark, humid places such as cupboards, under sinks and in basements
  • Light brown to tan in color and approximately 1/2" in length with two dark parallel stripes behind their heads
  • Looks for easy entry into your home, primarily through structural cracks or holes

Think you have cockroaches?

Here are some tell-tale signs that you have uninvited guests:

  • Scurrying noises, mostly at night
  • Seeing excrement around the house
  • A distinct pungent, musty smell
  • Physical symptoms such as skin rashes, sneezing or congestion

 

How to avoid cockroaches in your home

Make sure to always store food tightly, clean dishes often and take out the trash regularly. Seal any holes or cracks in your foundation, walls or other structural areas of your home.

It is important to correctly identify any insects inside your home. Cockroaches are highly adaptable and prolific reproducers and it is likely you will need professional help to eliminate them.

Pine State Pest Solutions provides free estimates and customized treatment plans for cockroaches and other pests so that you can take back your home. Interested? Contact us today.

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