COCKROACHES are associated with the spread disease and may cause allergies if you have an infestation in the house.
Some are associated with poor hygiene measures and indirectly cause disease through their habit of living in filth.
The most common cockroaches identified, in residential properties include the American cockroach, the Australian cockroach, the wood runner, the German cockroach and the brown banded cockroach.
The American cockroach lives outdoors in sewers, grease traps, drains and leaf litter.
They enter a house via drains or fly in by ‘mistake’, thriving in warm, dark, moist areas in intrusions that may number in the hundreds.
They can spread disease causing organisms from their bodies and in their excrement.
Females lay between 10 and 50 egg capsules and can live for 12 months.
This cockroach is the biggest of the cockroaches that commonly infests a house, at 40mm length.
Similar looking to the American cockroach, the Australian cockroach is dark brown in colour with yellow markings around the head and the top of the edges of the fore-wings – it grows to 35mm in length.
It lives mainly outdoors but does find its way inside from sub-floors, wall cavities and roof voids.
Again these cockroaches may spread disease causing organisms from their bodies and in their excrement.
The wood runner predominantly found outside living under bark or mulch is a native of Perth.
They are dark brown with a distinct white band around the head and each side of the body. They are wingless and not known for infesting food or transmitting disease.
The German cockroach is the most widespread cockroach, throughout the world.
It is about 16mm in length and is light tan to dark brown in colour.
It enters houses via ducting and drains and lives in food preparation areas in warm, humid, dark areas such as a dishwasher, fridge or a microwave oven motor.
It spreads disease as it walks while sourcing foodstuffs to consume and its body debris is known to be an asthma and allergy trigger.
The brown banded cockroach is similar in size to the German cockroach.
It is distinguishable by two light coloured bands across the wings and abdomen.
It infests drier areas of the house, such as bedrooms, furniture and behind pictures and because of its habitat, it may cause allergies.
There are measures that can be taken to prevent cockroach infestation in and around the home including clearing away dirty dishes and pet food at night, cleaning food spills and keeping benches clean, storing food in airtight containers and emptying kitchen bins daily.
Other measures include vacuuming regularly, ensuring entrance points such as under the kitchen sink and bathroom cabinet are sealed, keeping garden mulch away from the house perimeter, ensuring bin lids seal the bins and making sure flyscreens and doors and windows fit properly.
By Amanda Cope from Quinns Districts Pest Management
The advice given here is general in nature – and your specific situation should be discussed with your pest controller.