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The American Cockroach: Not Your Average Insect

Mikkie Mills
Disgusting, germ-carriers, nasty, embarrassing- these are a few of the words people often use to refer to and describe cockroaches. Read more about the American Cockroaches to get an in-depth information about them.
Cockroaches are one of the most despised creatures on Earth. They’re not only pests but also carry harmful bacteria and spread diseases. When you see one roach there are probably hundreds or even thousands that you don’t see. They’re attracted to the smallest of crumbs on your kitchen counter and have no problem snatching it.
They’ll even invite their friends. Cockroaches might be gross, but you have to admit, they’re also pretty interesting. After all, they’re one of the most prolific species to have ever roamed this planet. Think about this.


Cockroaches have been on Earth for about 300 million years. This means they were around even before dinosaurs existed. Cockroaches are one of the oldest insect groups on Earth, native to Middle East and Africa.
As humans began conducting international travel and trade, cockroaches hitched rides on ships and proceeded to travel the world. Currently, there are about 4,500 living species. They arrived in what is now the United States in early 1600s. Now, about 70 species of cockroach live in U.S., one of which is American Cockroach.

The American Cockroach

The American Cockroach is the largest of all the common cockroach species. On average, they’re approximately one-and-a-half inches long. This species has the longest lifecycle of all common cockroaches; some can live for almost two years.
Cockroaches, in general, are extremely adaptable, hardy little creatures (keep in mind, a cockroach can hold its breath for 40 minutes and live a week without its head). They reproduce quickly and in large numbers; female roaches, on average, produce about 150 offsprings. So, once your property is infested, it’s difficult to completely get rid of them.

Daily Life

The American Cockroach has been known to run over three miles an hour. They can skitter through surprisingly small crevices for their size. American Cockroaches will eat virtually anything, even other living cockroaches. Fermenting foods is a delicacy to them.
They also eat dead animals, leather, starch from book bindings and glue. American Cockroaches love warm, dark areas, but can withstand temperatures as low as 32 degrees. They prefer an environment where food and water are readily available, but can live a week without water and a month without food.
They’re most likely to be found in homes, and in commercial buildings such as grocery stores and restaurants. Basements and sewers are inviting, as well.

Problems Caused

Since cockroaches often reside in unsanitary conditions, they can spread 33 different kinds of bacteria. They can also carry disease pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella. American Cockroaches usually penetrate buildings via pipes and drains.
So, considering that they can navigate through the tiniest of crevices as well, it’s difficult to keep them out. The shedding skin, feces and saliva from cockroaches will contaminate both food and air. People, especially children, commonly have allergic reactions to cockroach waste.
It can even trigger asthma in some people. Studies carried out by the National Pest Management Association have shown that approximately 63% of homes in the U.S. contain cockroach allergens. In urban areas, the number goes above 78%.

Cockroach Prevention

It’s well worth the effort to be proactive when it comes to American Cockroach. The key to a roach-free environment is to make sure there are no roaches present to begin with. Prevention is much easier than eviction, for sure.
Take care to keep your kitchen and other eating areas clean and dry, including all food storage areas (they’ve been known to take up residence in refrigerators). If you do see a roach, don’t procrastinate. Kill it, if possible, and create a prevention plan to take out any other lurkers.
Due to their adaptability, American Cockroaches have become immune to a lot of store-bought products. You can call a pest control technician or purchase professional-grade insecticides, roach traps or roach bait to get them under control.