No one wants to deal with a cockroach infestation, but if these pests have invaded your home, you have to take steps to get rid of them right away. The longer you wait, the worse the problem will get.
But before you run out and buy the first roach trap or bait product you can find, it’s important to figure out which species of roach you’re dealing with. Different roaches have different behaviors, food preferences and dangers. Identifying the roach will give you important information that you can use to get rid of them.
The brown banded roach is one of the most common roaches in the southern U.S., and they’re often confused with other species of roaches, such as the German roach.
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How to Identify the Brown Banded Cockroach
The brown banded roach gets its name from the two light brown bands they have around their bodies. These pests can live for quite a while – up to 206 days.
Brown banded cockroaches have a pretty distinct appearance, so they’re not easily confused with the waterbug (oriental cockroach) or the American cockroach.
- Wings: Males have wings that extend beyond the tips of their abdomens, while females have underdeveloped wings and are unable to fly.
- Size: 1/2″ long
- Shape: Oval
- Region: Throughout the U.S., although more common in southern states
Brown banded roaches can be found in a variety of structures, but they prefer to live in dry locations and warmer climates. They often hide their egg cases in and underneath furniture. These creatures tend to prefer higher locations, and they’re often found in upper cabinets in bathrooms and kitchens. They’re one of the smallest species of invasive roaches.
Life Cycle, Diet and Habitat
Female roaches will carry their egg capsule for a few days, and then attach it to a protected surface. Each capsule contains between 14 and 18 eggs. It takes about 160 days for young roaches to reach maturity.
Like other species of this insect, the brown banded roaches are scavengers and will eat just about anything, including decaying matter and bodily fluids. They’ll even eat starch, glue or paste. It’s not uncommon for these bugs to each wallpaper, envelopes, books and stamps. They’ll also eat things that contain traces of human cells, like nylon stockings.
These roaches don’t need as much moisture as others to survive, so they can thrive in drier climates. They usually avoid light, so they’re usually only spotted at night.
Brown banded roaches need warm temperatures to survive, which is why they often enter homes to seek shelter. But the most common way these roaches get into homes is through furniture, grocery items, food products and electronics from infested areas. They hide out in these items, and once they’re safely inside of your home, they venture out to look for food and make a new home.
The Dangers of Brown Banded Roaches
Brown banded roaches are more than just a nuisance – they’re dangerous. These pests are reported to carry 33 kinds of bacteria, seven kinds of human pathogens and six kinds of parasitic worms.
Like other roaches, these guys pick up bacteria and germs on their bodies and legs as they crawl through sewage or decaying matter. They can carry these germs onto food or food surfaces, which can make people sick.
Studies also show that cockroach allergens, such as those in brown banded roaches, can cause serious asthma attacks, particularly in children.
Signs of an Infestation
How can you tell if you have a roach infestation, or just a single roach in your home?
- Sightings: If you’ve seen more than one roach in your home, there’s a good chance that you have an infestation. Brown banded roaches, in particular, like to hide away and are usually only seen at night. So, if you’re seeing more than one, the problem may be bigger than you thought.
- Egg Cases: Female roaches attach their egg capsules to a protected area. You may find egg cases “glued” to walls, ceilings, furniture, or other areas that are dark and protected. These roaches prefer higher locations, so check the upper area of cabinets and other higher areas of your home. The cases are about 1/4″ long, and are reddish-brown in color.
There’s a reason why these roaches are also called “furniture roaches” – when the population is high, they like to deposit their eggs in bunches instead of scatter them over a large area.
Here’s the problem with egg cases – they’re virtually impenetrable to pest control products. These cases are made of thick, hard proteins that create a protective shell. This shell protects against pesticides and other dangers, and it also helps keep moisture inside of the egg. If the eggs aren’t destroyed, more roaches will continue hatching and expanding the population.
How to Get Rid of Brown Banded Cockroaches
Brown banded roaches can be a danger to your health and a nuisance to your family. But how do you get rid of them?
One option – and it’s an obvious one – is to call an exterminator. If the infestation is bad, DIY methods may not be enough to tackle the problem.
If you want to exterminate these pests yourself, you have a few options:
Sanitation and Exclusion
Brown banded cockroaches need three things to survive: water, food and shelter. This species of roach requires less moisture, so they can live in drier climates. But still, if you remove these three things, they won’t have a reason to stick around.
Here are some tips:
- Vacuum regularly, and keep food sealed in airtight containers.
- Empty and clean pet food containers every evening.
- Fix leaking faucets and drains.
- Keep trash in a can with a tight-fitting lid.
- Clean kitchen appliances regularly and thoroughly.
- Discard old piles of paper and cardboard.
- Caulk and repair cracks and holes near windows, doors, baseboards and water pipes.
- Make sure that windows fit tightly and squarely in their frames.
- Keep mesh screens over floor drains, windows and vents. Roaches like to hide in these areas.
Baits and Granules
Baits and granules are effective at killing roaches. Commercial products can be placed in attics, crawlspaces and basements.
If the baits and granules don’t work within two weeks, it may be time to try a new one. Some roaches have an aversion or resistance to the bait.
Dusts and Liquid Residuals
Roach dust can also be applied to cracks and crevices in your home. These are potential entryways where roaches are getting into your home.
Dusts, like baits and granules, contain insecticides that kill the roaches.
Brown banded roach populations can easily get out of control, so it’s important to tackle the infestation immediately. If DIY baits, traps, granules and dusts aren’t working, it’s time to call in an exterminator.