EWWWWWWW!!!!! Cockroaches!!!!!! Most people are disgusted by cockroaches, but the reality is that cockroaches are important to the environment. In an ecosystem there has to be a balance and part of the balance is the breakdown of dead or dying organic material, as well as other waste. Cockroaches are able to eat organic material such as dead or decaying plants, sugars, starches, grease, meat products, and have also been known to eat beer, cheese, and leather.

In the cycle of life cockroach droppings go back into the soil and provide nutrients for plants to grow. The cockroach is also a food source for reptiles and birds. When they feel threatened, you will find cockroaches hiding in cracks, base boards, cabinets, false bottoms, electronics, under or behind refrigerators and stove tops. Any place that is warm, hidden, and has potential food source like food crumbs can be considered conducive for cockroaches. This behavior is typical during the day for the cockroach, so you will find they forage at night. If you do see multiple cockroaches active during the day, call your exterminator to investigate since this is a sign of over population and you may have a serious infestation in your home.

There are dangers to having cockroaches even though they are a balance to our ecosystem. Cockroach movement in food preparation and food areas allows the spread of pathogens that cause diarrhea, food poisoning, dysentery, as well as bacteria’s such as salmonella and shigella. As the cockroach walks they leave droppings to create guided trails which are an element to people getting sick. In addition, the proteins in the cockroach saliva and fecal waste can aggravate allergies and asthma.

Other signs to help you determine if you have an infestation are cockroach droppings that are range around 1/16-1/8 of an inch in a cylinder type shape. The droppings in this size range can be similar to mouse droppings, unless you have a trained eye. During the reproductive process of the cockroach they produce a small bean like capsules that may contain many eggs. These capsules may be dropped, possibly stuck, onto surfaces by the female.

Cockroaches that are troublesome in Texas:

German cockroach – Light brown with two dark stripes running lengthwise, winged but rarely fly, about 1/2” long, and very invasive due to high production rate. Re-occurring pest services by an exterminator are recommended to remove populations.

American cockroach – Reddish brown with a light yellow band around the head shield, wings cover the entire abdomen, occasionally fly, about an inch long, and most commonly to infest homes and commercial food establishments. Routine pest maintenance can help control populations of this species.