With more than 300 million years of existence, the cockroach is one of the insects with the best ability to adapt to climate change and environmental changes. Although they prefer meat and plants, cockroaches will feed on just about anything that has the slightest nutritional value, including paper. For this reason, the cockroach pest is one of the most difficult to control.
The size of cockroaches varies according to the species, but they all share some traits: oval and flattened body, dark color and a variable length between 3 and 10 cm. The most common species is the German cockroach due to its high reproductive potential and resistance to certain types of insecticide.
🪳 Life cycle of the cockroach
Cockroaches go through incomplete metamorphosis with only three stages of reproduction: egg, nymph, and adult. In most species, the eggs are contained in an egg cell that can have between 2 and 50 eggs. The duration of the egg stage varies according to the conditions where it is housed. The more humid and warm, the faster it develops and reaches the nymph stage.
They are mainly nocturnal insects — at night they look for food, find a partner for mating and disperse — but it is possible to find them during the day when the infestation is considerable.
types of cockroaches
In Portugal, the most common cockroach species are the German cockroach, the American cockroach and the oriental cockroach.
➡️ German Cockroach
The German cockroach is the most common species worldwide, as it produces about four egg deposits in a lifetime, each consisting of 35 to 40 eggs. Hatching takes only 1 month and this reproduction process takes place at any time of the year. The German cockroach is considered the hardest to kill, as it has built up immunity to various types of repellents and pesticides over the years.
➡️ American Cockroach
The reproduction time of these cockroaches is longer, but what distinguishes them are the wings that allow them to glide. In addition, the American cockroach is known for its ability to regenerate cells.
➡️ Oriental Cockroach
The oriental cockroach's ability to adapt is slower than that of other species. This type of cockroach inhabits dark places and can be found in decaying organic remains.
🤔 What causes cockroaches to appear?
Cockroaches seek out warm, humid shelters, many of which live in sewers. Cockroach infestation is very common, as this pest needs humans to survive. Omnivores, cockroaches eat both meat and plants, which leads them to look for food in restaurants, factories and residential areas. The ideal environment for the cockroach are kitchens that combine humidity with heat.
😷 Health risks
The digestive system of cockroaches involves the ingestion of bacteria. This insect accumulates all kinds of bacteria and pathogens, which results in contamination of food and all surfaces it touches. Salmonella is one of the main agents transmitted by cockroaches and can result, among many other problems, in food poisoning.
In addition to directly contaminating food and utensils, cockroaches can trigger allergies that can be serious for people with asthma or other respiratory conditions.
Cockroaches are also known to leave a trail of odor wherever they go, thus marking their territory. This odor results from the secretion of fluids in the abdomen of the cockroach, which, in large amounts, can cause nausea and dizziness in humans. Worrisome? Find out what to do in case of cockroach infestation here .