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Everything You Need to Know About the Brownbanded Cockroaches

April 28, 2018
Brownbanded Cockroach

Cockroaches are perhaps the most common insects that people may be familiar with. They can be available all over a place, be it at one's home, garage or even many types of workplaces. However, one thing can be quite certain - no one may like their presence anywhere! But then, they have their importance in the food chain due to which they are also very much desired.

History and a lot of studies suggest that cockroaches have been there on earth for at least the last 300 million years and that can be massive time by any stretch of the imagination! There are at least around 3500 known species of cockroaches that may be available throughout the world and out of which, minimum 55 species can be found in the United States alone. Due to so much time having been spent by them, they are naturally considered to be among the most successful animal groups. The average life of Brownbanded Cockroaches can be five to six months. They are quite adaptable due to which they have successfully intermingled with humans since the last many years. They are usually found all around, right in the Midwest, northeastern and southern regions of the country. They are the recent additions to cockroaches in Ireland and Britain.

One of the important features of this cockroach is that they require less moisture than the German cockroaches due to which these can be more evenly distributed all around a home, like in the bedroom as well as in the living room. They can easily be found in an apartment or home but may not be as easily located in a restaurant. This family of cockroaches generally avoid light and therefore they may not be easily found during the daytime. Some studies have shown that these cockroaches can breed at a very fast rate at places that have a temperature between the range of 25 degrees and 33 degrees Celsius!

As more research is conducted on cockroaches, newer species are periodically reported from different parts of the world. However, within Pennsylvania, four species of cockroaches can be easily categorized as pests. These are the Brownbanded Cockroaches, German Cockroaches, American Cockroaches and the Oriental Cockroaches. A fifth species known as the Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach is more of a nuisance pest that can be found in some locations. We take a look here at the Brownbanded Cockroaches.

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Behavior and Recognition of Brownbanded Cockroaches:

Brownbanded Cockroach

The adult male of this species can be light brown in color and can be half an inch long with completely developed wings. The adult females may not have their entire abdomen covered with wings but can be shorter and more robustly built than their male counterparts. The nymphs and adults of this family can be easily differentiated through the dual brownish broad bands spread along the body at the mid- abdomen and up tothe end of the abdomen. An adult male can easily take to flight when disturbed. However, in terms of activity, both the sexes may be quite active.

People who may be wondering 'what attracts cockroaches in your home?' may be in for some answers. These cockroaches generally prefer living in dry and warmer places like a cabinet upper wall, closets, old furniture, motor housing of refrigerator, inside pantries, dressers, etc. They can also easily be located on tables and chairs, radios, door frames, at the back of picture frames, within clocks, light switch plates, dresser, etc. They can be expected to be hiding near the ceilings of houses rather than floors and also at some distance away from a source of water. Correct identification technique is very important to control this cockroach because control processes that may be effective on other cockroaches may not have much effect on them. Hence, it is very important to correctly identify them so that necessary steps can be taken.      

The Life history of Brownbanded Cockroaches:    

Brownbanded Cockroach

There are three specific developmental stages of a Brownbanded Cockroach - egg, nymph, and adult. The female of the species lay eggs within a capsule and carries them with her for around 30 hours after which they are fastened by her on coarse surfaces like ceilings, walls and in many other hidden and safe areas. Throughout the adult life of a female, it can be easily expected to lay upto 14 egg capsules with each capsule having an average of at least 13 eggs. Therefore, a minimum of around 182 nymphs can be produced by a female of this species. The ootheca can be reddish brown or yellowish colored and can be relatively very small at 5 mm size. When population density is much more, then ootheca can be found in groups. As per the ambient temperature, eggs may start hatching from anywhere between 37 to 103 days. More the temperature, faster can be the hatching process.

After hatching, nymphs may remain in that state for the next 8 to 31 weeks. The nymphs of this family can be distinctly recognizable due to the dual light colored bands being present behind the back margin of mesonotum and the front side of the first few segments of the abdomen. The life of a female Brownbanded Cockroach can be anywhere between 13 to 45 weeks. Every year, a female can produce up to 600 baby cockroaches and that can be a very big number. Also, the female has a larger abdomen compared to a male brownbanded cockroach. 

These Cockroaches can be Quite Damaging:

Brownbanded Cockroach

A Brownbanded Cockroach can eat numerous types of items and can be very much damaging in nature for humans. People who want to know 'can cockroaches bite?' can also get some answers from this section. Just like many other species of cockroaches, these may also consume paste or glue, color dyes, and starch. Therefore, products like stamps, older book bindings, wallpapers, envelopes and in some instances, draperies can display their feeding signs. They can also eat meat and any type of nonveg item.  

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This species of cockroach has also been found to consume nonfood items like nylon stockings, maybe due to the fact that these may have leftovers from skin flakes or body oils. Due to their feeding issues and staying deep inside storage areas and pantries, they can be quite damaging. They can also carry human disease-causing protozoa and bacteria on their bodies and legs and thereby deposit them over utensils, food, etc. making them contaminated. Many forms of lethal diarrhea and gastroenteritis are traced to them and therefore, these can be quite dangerous regarding people's health. By periodically shedding their skins, they can contaminate food. The waste products and cast-off skin can trigger asthma, allergic reactions or many other illnesses in children.  

Some of the Most Important Management Strategies:

 People who may want to know 'does water attract roaches?' can be assured to know that this cockroach may not be much attracted to a water source and in fact can stay away from it. However, there are some important management strategies that can easily be followed for their effective reduction in a property. These are discussed in the following sections.

1) Correct Surveying and Information Mapping can be the Key-

Thorough inspection of an area is very much needed for controlling Brownbanded Cockroaches. There are commercially available sticky traps that can be used during a survey to find out all about them. These traps can be placed at strategic places inside a building. While placing them, it can be very useful to place traps at the corner of floors, drawer, against a wall or a shelf. There are many types of available traps that come with baits and these can be useful for a cockroach to enter inside it and get trapped. At least a week of trapping with enough trap site numbers can be helpful to have sufficient information for proceeding with the correct control method. More emphasis on treatment should be given to those places from where cockroaches have been caught earlier in traps.

2) Repairs, Sanitation and Structural Changes can be Useful-

Brownbanded Cockroach

Blocking the entry of cockroaches within a home can be very tough because they can practically sneak in from anywhere around the place. They can easily make their way in through items like suitcases, grocery bags, boxes, etc. but a person can surely take some steps to ensure that they do not become a major threat. To keep them at bay, sanitation, cleanliness and personal hygiene can be an important tool to fight with. Food that may be spilled on to the floor should always be cleaned up so that there is no deposition of leftover food. Every day at night, always try to clean up the dishes so that they are not left unattended in the sink. Always try storing food items like cookies, crackers, and cereals in airtight containers. The trash of a house should not be left open. It should always be ensured that there is a proper lid on it and that it stays airtight inside the waste box. It should also be disposed off every day as per local regulations.

These cockroaches can be masters of camouflaging themselves so that they can be completely inaccessible from us. In case of structural limitations, it can be very important to complete caulking in crevices and cracks and around molding and ducts, etc. so that there may not be any place for them to live and breed easily. All such places in bedrooms, dining rooms, bathrooms and any other place inside the house should be properly attended that cannot leave them with any room for survival.

Needed repairs should also be done as and when warranted and care must be taken to ensure that there is no fissure or cavity left behind within the house.

3) Chemical Control techniques can Also Be Used for Managing Them-

Brownbanded Cockroach

Brownbanded Cockroaches can be effectively controlled using the process of Baiting. Baits can be placed at places within a house that is much frequented by them. These baits have fipronil, boric acid, hydramethylnon, sulfuramid or abamectin and can help in providing sufficient control. There are also feeding stations of plastic available as bait formulations that can be used. Pest control professionals may also offer cockroach baits that can offer gel formulations or flowable granular. However, before using any bait, it is very important to go through all the directions that may be correctly mentioned on the label.

Control from brown banded cockroaches can also be achieved by the use of insecticidal dust like diatomaceous earth, silica aerogel, and boric acid. It is also important to mention here that any dust should be applied lightly as a thick deposition may repel them away. Dust can be used in clothes shelve, valances on top of windows, floor and wall crevices or cracks, bureau crevices, hollow table and chair legs and light fixtures all around the house.

Do ensure not to place any dust near a place that can be frequented by a kid or pet in the house. Specifically, places that have been worked with boric acid should be kept out of the purview of kids and children. Access to such places should be limited. Boric acid may not be much damaging for adults but for children and kids, it can be quite toxic. Finally, do ensure that food does not get contaminated due to the dust accumulation.

These days there is also a prevalence of aerosol foggers and insecticidal sprays. But for keeping Brown-banded cockroaches in check, they may not be of much help. As a matter of fact, spraying them all around can disperse them and that can make the control lengthy and much tougher. Hence, these are not recommended for getting control of these cockroaches.       

A Word of Caution-

Pesticides of all types are always poisonous. It is very important to read all safety directions and instructions that may be mentioned on the label. It is also very important to handle them carefully in a very responsible way. They should only be stored in labeled containers completely out of reach of pets or children. Also, when such pesticide containers get empty, it is very important to dispose them off in a suitable way and place. Avoid contaminating ponds, streams or forage.   

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