Pest Cockroaches

The cockroach is one of the most hated pests in the world, and also presents a range of health risks to animals and humans alike.

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As one of the world’s most ancient bugs, the cockroach is virtually indestructible. The cockroach is actually closely related to the termite. The world’s largest cockroach species can grow almost to a scary 12 cm, while the tiniest measure not more than a few millimetres. Different cockroach species dominate different areas. In Australia, we have approximately 400 cockroach species, however, only about 6 species are considered serious pests of urban households and businesses. There are the native species, which are often larger than the pest species, move considerably slower than the pest species, and do not require treatment. These native species of cockroaches are an important part of our unique bio-diverse ecosystem and should be left alone. The different kinds of pest cockroaches in Australia include:

Common pest cockroaches:

American cockroach

This cockroach is mostly found in moist, coastal areas, particularly in Queensland. Commonly found in drains, wall cavities and roof spaces. They are attracted to buildings by active lights during the night time. You will most likely find them in sewer systems, subfloors, grease traps, cellars, wall voids, roof voids, and in and around rubbish dumps. They will most likely habituate in restaurants, bakeries, hospitals and places where food preparation takes place. American cockroaches grow until 35-40mm in length. They’re a reddish brown colour with a pale yellow border around their thorax (like their head). A female American cockroach will lay large egg capsules which mature in 6-12 months and live for another 6-12 months.

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Australian cockroach

Despite its name, the Australian cockroach is not native to Australia. The introduced pest species can be found mainly outside, but ventures indoors from time to time. They are attracted to lights at night and drains as they are nocturnal. At their full length, Australian cockroaches can grow to 35mm in length and are very similar to the American cockroach. The differing feature is their slightly darker brown bodies and the pale areas on the fore-margins of the forewing. The development stage will last from 6-12 months and their adult lifespan will last from 4-8 months.

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Brown-banded cockroach

The brown-banded cockroach is found mainly in the coastal areas of Australia and is usually found indoors, particularly in offices, storerooms, and hospitals. They don’t frequent kitchens as they actually prefer dry areas. You’ll most likely find them behind and inside furniture, around picture frames, light fittings, among stored and filed paper etc. They have the ability to fly when the weather is warm or when they are disturbed. The brown-banded cockroach remains relatively little, only growing to 12-15mm long. The adult cockroaches are pale brown in colours and live for 3-6 months. They don’t build up large populations.

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German cockroach

The most widespread pest cockroach in Australia, you will be able to find them in commercial kitchens, cafes, restaurants, homes and other food handling areas. They are the most rapid breeder and prefer areas that provide warmth, food, and moisture. Most likely found in or near the motor assembly of refrigerators and under stoves, hot water systems, and various other appliances. They are amber in colour and grow to around 12-15mm. In ideal conditions, the breed and maturation cycle only takes 6 weeks, with an adult lifespan of 4 -6 months.

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Oriental cockroach

Oriental cockroaches are the only cockroach who prefers cool conditions, and they can be found in southern Australia. They can be found indoors and outdoors in either damp cellars, subfloors, around drains, inside walls, in and around equipment, under garden debris and in dumps. They mainly feed on decaying matter and grow to 2-25mm. Unlike other cockroaches, they do not fly, despite possession of wings.

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Smokey Brown cockroach

The smokey brown cockroach is found in the outdoors, in the coastal areas of Australia especially the east coast. You’ll most likely find this cockroach in plant nurseries. This cockroach prefers plant material as they feed on organic materials and breed in gardens. They can be found venturing indoors to garages, wall and roof voids, and subfloors, but they will most often be found around drains, in wood piles, and under garden mulch. At their full length, they can grow to 30mm and are a uniform dark brown to almost black. Both male and female are fully winged and they fly in warm weather.

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Where do cockroaches live?

They thrive in warm, moist, dark areas, situated close to food sources. They reproduce at frightening speeds and can thrive in temperatures as high as 40+ degrees Celcius, or as cold as -5 degrees Celcius.

When are cockroaches most active?

Although cockroaches eat whatever they can get their feelers on, they usually go into hiding in the daytime, which can make it difficult to know when your home is infested. Cockroaches often enter our homes via our groceries and goods we’ve imported in from elsewhere. They then search for the bathroom or kitchen, and from there they travel all over the house via electrical wiring and pipes.

Do I need professional cockroach control?

A female German cockroach lays an egg case, or ootheca, about three to five weeks after fertilisation takes place. A single egg case contains up to 50 nymphs (or baby roaches) that can grow to cause panic or anxiety for homeowners. Living in a cockroach-infested home can be hazardous to one’s health, as they spread diseases and also contaminate food and living spaces with their faeces and foul-smelling secretions. Cockroach sprays can be effective, but is only a short term solution. Over time, the money spent on sprays will eventually stack up. Traps are also effective, but only if you have a thorough knowledge of cockroach habit and patterns. Our technicians are professionally trained in cockroach pest control and have the experience to fully understand the typical behaviours of pest cockroaches.

Tips for treating a home with cockroaches:

  • Keep all areas clean at all times and remove any stray objects.
  • Get rid of or securely cover pet food after your pets are done with their meals.
  • Vacuum the area thoroughly, paying attention to cracks, crevices and hard to get at spots. Start at one end of the area and then continue on to the other to ensure no sections are missed.
  • Apply a cleansing agent to floors before wiping dry.
  • After vacuuming, take the vacuum bag out, seal it in a plastic bag and then discard it in the garbage bin which should have a tightly closing lid.