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Cockroaches belong to the Blattidae family. They are the most common species of insects.If cockroaches could talk, they could tell part of the history of the earth: they appeared about 400 million years ago, they walked between the legs of the dinosaurs, inlays in amber show that they have undergone few mutations since then, they are more resistant than the shark and survived the hydrogen bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagashaki during World War II.

Where do cockroaches live?

They develop their activity during the night and spend 75% of their life in a crack, joint, or small cavity, but they can appear during the day if they are disturbed or if there is a severe infestation. Cockroaches have an amazing ability to adapt to various environments. They prefer warm, dark and humid shelters such as the sink or drainboard; cracks around cabinets; window or door frames; skirting boards or loose molding strips; upholstered furniture, cabinets, wardrobes; bathrooms; and engine compartments of refrigerators, washing machines and other electrical appliances.

Common Types of Cockroaches.

American cockroach.

The American cockroach is the largest of the common species. Often, this species is abundant in municipal landfills and they are very common in basements and steam tunnels of restaurants, pastries, processed food facilities and shops.

The adults are approximately 1-1 / 2 inches long and are reddish brown, with developed wings covering the length of the abdomen. Both males and females have full wings. Unlike females, the wings of the males extend a little after the abdomen. The nymphs are similar in appearance but smaller and have no wings. American cockroaches are capable of flying. The American cockroach is identified by its large size and its reddish brown color with corners in the faded yellow thorax

The American cockroach has three stages of development: egg, nymph and adult. The eggs are put in dark brown capsules, symmetrically and 5/16 inches long. The female deposits a capsule after a day of forming. Sometimes it deposits them in suitable places near food sources and in protected areas. Each capsule has 14 to 16 eggs on average. A capsule is usually produced every week and they are secured, with secretions from the female’s mouth, in hidden places. The female produces 15 to 90 capsules.

The duration of the egg stage varies from 29 to 58 days. At normal temperature, the nymphs leave the egg for 50 to 55 days. The young nymphs are grayish brown and after moving their larval skin, they turn reddish brown. The nymphal stage varies from 160 to 971 days. The average number of offspring per year is 800. Under ideal conditions an adult female lives up to 15 months; males for a shorter time.

German cockroach.

Adult German cockroaches are 1/2 to 5/8 inches long and tan to light brown. Although they have developed wings, they do not fly. Nymphs are similar to adults except they are smaller and lack wings. The German cockroach is best identified by its small size and by two dark parallel lines that run from the back of the head to the wings. They are usually found in kitchens (near dishwashers, stoves and sinks) and in bathrooms.

German cockroaches have three stages of development: egg, nymph and adult. Females produce a light brown, wallet-shaped capsule, which is less than 1/4 inch long and contains two rows of eggs. Each capsule contains 48 eggs (usually 30 to 48) and adult females usually produce four to eight capsules during their lifetime. At room temperature, a capsule is produced around every 6 weeks. The capsules are loaded, protruding from the abdomen, until they are deposited in cracks and safe spaces when it is time for them to leave the eggs. It usually takes 28 days for them to develop and leave the capsule. The formation of the next capsule normally begins within a couple of weeks. The length of the egg stage varies from 14 to 35 days, with six to seven nymphal stages over a period of 6 to 31 weeks. The lifespan of an adult female varies from 20 to 30 weeks. In a year over 10,000 young can be produced, about two generations per year.

Oriental cockroach.

Adult brown-band cockroaches are about 1/2 inch long and are light brown in color, with their wings fully developed. Females are shorter and more stuffed than males and their wings do not completely cover their abdomen. Both adults and nymphs are distinguished by the two narrow brown bands that cross their body at the base of the abdomen and mid-abdomen. Both males and females are quite active; adult males fly when disturbed.

Brown-band cockroaches prefer warm and dry places, such as: near the refrigerator engine’s box, on the upper walls of the cabinets and inside the pantries, cabinets, dressers and furniture in general. In addition, they can be found behind portrait frames, under tables and chairs, inside clocks, radios, light switch plates and door frames. It is common to find them hidden near the roof and away from water sources. Accurate identification is very important for the control of this species. The strategies used in the control of other species are not effective against the brown-band cockroach.

The brown-band cockroach has three stages of development: egg, nymph and adult. The eggs are put in capsules that the females load for 30 hours before adhering them to the walls, roof and protected and hidden areas. During their adult life, females produce 14 capsules and, each capsule contains, on average, 13 eggs. The egg stage lasts between 37 to 103 days, depending on the temperature. The nymphal stage lasts from 8 to 31 weeks. An adult female has a life span of 13 to 45 weeks and each female produces about 600 offspring per year.

Diseases that transmit.

Cockroaches produce odorous secretions that can affect the taste of various foods. When cockroach populations are high, these secretions result in a characteristic odor in the region that is infested. Infectious organisms, such as bacteria, protozoa and viruses, have been found in the bodies of cockroaches.

Different forms of gastroenteritis (food poisoning, dysentery, diarrhea, and other diseases) appear to be the main diseases transmitted by German cockroaches. The organisms are loaded on the legs and bodies of cockroaches and are deposited in food and utensils when they go in search of food. The excrement and skin wasted by cockroaches contain pathogens of which people have exhibited allergic reactions such as skin rash, acute eyes, nasal congestion, asthma and sneezing.

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