American cockroaches, also known as palmetto or water bugs, are the largest domestic cockroaches and are subsequently one of the most annoying pests in the world. 

Like most pests, American cockroaches invade homes for food, warmth, and water. However, they are primarily nocturnal, and you will find them running all over your kitchen at night.

Besides annoying you around your kitchen and dinner tables, water bugs can spread diseases and contaminate your food. Their small and mobile nature allows them to freely crawl throughout your house, including the toilet, where their legs pick up a myriad of germs which they then spread on clean surfaces. 

As a result, they are one of the big spreaders of diarrhea, cholera, typhoid fever, dysentery, plague, and poliomyelitis. They also cause allergies, especially to children, and trigger asthma attacks. What’s more, the longer you take to eliminate them, the bigger the infestation becomes, and with that comes increased degradation of your home.

Indeed, American cockroaches are second only to rats regarding the amount of destruction they can cause. They eat many things like wood particles, leaves, pet food, small insects, and even algae.

Naturally, you cannot prevent or eliminate a cockroach infestation in your home without first identifying the type of cockroach. This is because different roach types require different elimination mechanisms, and American cockroaches are relatively immune to most of the techniques used for other cockroaches.

 

Identifying American Cockroaches

American cockroaches have a reddish-brown color, just like other cockroaches. However, they have a distinct yellow strip in the area behind their heads and are also slightly large in size, with some adults being longer than 3 inches. Their bodies are oval-shaped, and they have three pairs of legs. 

Unlike other cockroaches, adult American roaches can fly if they need to and can even bite humans, although they rarely do so. Moreover, they prefer to live outdoors as their ideal habitats are warm and damp. This tendency to live in trees got them the name palmetto bugs. Still, the bugs can and do encroach homes in search of food and often live in damp areas like bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and laundry rooms.

 

Spotting An Infestation

If you see a couple of American cockroaches in your house, you are dealing with an infestation. And if the infestation is large enough, you will inadvertently come across their droppings, which are very similar to those of rats and mice. The difference is that cockroach droppings have blunt ends and ridgy sides, while mouse droppings tend to have sharper ends. 

American cockroaches also leave behind their egg capsules in areas they occupy. These capsules are usually dark-colored and measure about 38 mm long.

Another thing to look out for is a musty odor emanating from any room in your home. Cockroaches generally produce pheromones that help them identify and communicate with each other. The pheromones have a distinctly musty smell, and the larger the number of cockroaches, the more noticeable the scent will be.

 

Keeping American Cockroaches Away From Your Home

As you may already know, American roaches are incredibly resilient creatures. As such, the best way to get rid of them is to keep them away in the first place. 

Below is a two-pronged prevention strategy that we would strongly recommend:

Close All Possible Entry Spots

  • Do a thorough inspection of your home and look for any cracks or holes in the walls, electric and water pipes, and sink drains.
  • Seal all the openings with cement or silicone caulk.
  • Roach-proof your windows and doors with weatherstripping

Always Maintain High Hygiene Standards

  • Clean up all food and beverage spills on your floors and tables immediately.
  • Ensure you leave your kitchen counters, sinks, and dining tables clean and crumb-free before bed. 
  • Do not leave dirty dishes on the sink overnight.
  • Keep your food in air-tight containers.
  • Vacuum your house in its entirety every week.
  • Collect any leftover pet food and either throw it away or keep it in a closed container for the pet to eat the next day.

Do you have a cockroach infestation and need professional help? If so, get in touch with an experienced pest control company to help you choose the proper extermination method and the best way to rid your home of cockroaches.

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