They've been around since the dinosaurs, but what do you really know about cockroaches in Massachusetts?
It’s rare to meet a person that doesn’t know what a cockroach is. After all, they’ve been around for hundreds of millions of years, gaining them a reputation of indestructibility. Because of their longevity, roaches have infiltrated human pop culture for centuries – think the song “La Cucaracha”, or the film Men in Black, among a number of video games, music references, and written works going as far back as ancient scrolls. But just because they were here first, doesn’t mean you have to share your space with roaches in Massachusetts.
What kind of roach is it?
We’re willing to bet that if you flick on your light and see cockroaches scatter to their hiding spots, you don’t particularly care what kind of roaches they are. We get it. The thing with cockroaches is, identification determines treatment methods.
There are about 4,000 species of cockroach in the world, about 70 species in the United States, and of these, 4 that are most likely to invade homes in our neck of the woods. These are the German, Oriental, American, and wood roach.
German cockroaches are oval-shaped, 1/2”-5/8” in length, ranging from light to dark brown in color with two dark stripes behind the head. This roach species has two sets of wings, although they rarely fly.
Oriental cockroaches are about 1” in length, dark brown- or black-bodied and glossy in appearance, often causing them to be confused with a beetle. This cockroach is unable to fly and moves much more slowly than other species.
The American cockroach is the largest species found in homes, coming in at an intimidating 2” in length. They are reddish-brown in color with a yellowish figure-8-shaped marking behind the head. These roaches have wings but are also adept at scaling walls and ceilings.
Wood roaches measure in at about 3/4”-1.25”, with flat brown bodies and long antennae. This roach is commonly referred to as an “occasional invader”, preferring unlike other types of roach to live outdoors. While they may look similar to the German cockroach, they are not as skittish and, if found indoors, are likely to simply wander until they find a way out.
Are they dangerous?
Although cockroaches by nature are extremely wary of humans and even daylight, they can be a threat in the form of a health hazard. Roaches generally enjoy unsanitary, damp conditions, and they really enjoy food. Because of their preferred accommodations, cockroaches carry viral and bacterial pathogens and are known to spread them via contact with food items, food preparation spaces, and utensils or dishes. Roach infestation can cause food poisoning, dysentery, gastroenteritis, and allergic reactions such as sneezing, congestion, runny nose, asthma, among other unpleasantries.
How do I get rid of them?
Cockroaches didn’t get their formidable reputation by being taken out easily. Keeping food and water sources at a minimum will help to prevent an infestation, but if they’ve already made themselves at home, it’ll be tough to convince them to leave. While you may be highly motivated to just get them out of here, a roach problem is best handled by a professional. Call Burgess Pest for a free inspection and consultation—we’ll find the best approach for you.