The name “cockroach” comes from the Spanish word for cockroach, cucaracha, transformed by English folk etymology into “cock” and “roach”. The term cucaracha (sp. cuca “bug”, and raxa “streak” (modern Spanish raya)) originally was used for the wood louse (the sow bug), but later was used to mean the palmetto bug (the flying cockroach). It is from this later Mexican usage that English-speaking Americans began using the term for regular (non-flying) cockroach. (More info? click here)
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Cockroaches, Can’t Live with Them and Can’t Get Rid of Them
Cockroaches! Just hearing that name makes you cringe. They are well known as being extremely nasty creatures and will infest your home by the thousands in a matter of months if they are not controlled. These bugs may carry germs and diseases from other places they’ve visited that could even cause members of your household to become sick after living with them for a while. So we’re going to discuss some pretty important information on understanding the behavior of a cockroach and what makes them tick. We’ve also got a Top 5 list of what to do in order to properly control them if you have been infested.
Where do Cockroaches Come From?
Cockroaches have been around for so long, you can’t really say exactly where or when they originated. But one thing for sure, they’ve been around for approximately 350 million years. Humans have only been on this Earth for the last 2 million years, so the cockroach has quite a leg up on us. The Praying Mantis is actually the closest living relative of the cockroach, but the mantis is quite the predator, feeding on other insects. If you follow the mantises blood line further back, you’ll discover they are distant relatives to the termite. Although cockroaches may be a distant relative of the Praying Mantis, they have used quite a different set of skills to survive all these years. For one thing, the cockroach is highly adaptable and can survive in almost any environment and learn how to get by. There are several different species of cockroach each having their own taste in food.
Food Sources of the Cockroach
The German cockroach tends to gravitate towards sugars and carbohydrates. The Oriental cockroach loves to feast on book bindings, and the Brown Banded cockroach prefers the glue from stamps and envelopes. Even though these may be their favorite meals, they have surely adapted to feast on pretty much what ever is available. Human foods, pet food, toothpaste, wool, egg shells and even other cockroaches droppings. As well as dead and disabled members of their own species have become a normal part of most cockroaches diet. You may find it quite amazing that generally cockroaches do not like cucumbers, pretty strange considering they will eat all that other junk.
Humans vs. Cockroaches
The household cockroach has fast become an extreme enemy to humans, and we tend to focus more on killing them rather than controlling them. Although we’d like nothing more than to smash the living crap out of these nasty creatures, it’s much easier said than done. Cockroaches are mainly nocturnal creatures and do most of their dirty work under cover of darkness. This make it extremely difficult for us to get the upper hand on them. For one thing, they scatter as quick as lightning as soon as you turn on the lights. The fact that they never venture far from their home makes a short trip for them to find cover once discovered. So before we can get to them, they’ve already shot back into a little crack or hole in the wall. According to research a cockroach will easily travel at over 1 foot per second. That’s pretty quick especially if they only have about a foot to go before they disappear! One thing everyone may or may not know, is that most cockroaches are excellent fliers. The king-size American cockroach measures up to 2 inches long and they can fly really good. They’re also able to squeeze into a crack no thicker than a U.S. dime. These are not the only tools they have for avoiding capture or death either. They are also extremely sensitive to the slightest change or shift in air movement. They have tiny sensing hairs on their bellies and they use these to sense any approaching trouble. So even the slightest vibration from approaching foot steps or a chair moving will send them darting off in a flash. It is said they can detect movements of less than one-millionth of a millimeter in the surface they’re standing on. Not only this, but they tend to have soldiers similar to ant colonies that will alert the others if trouble is coming. They do this by rattling their fore-wings as well as dragging their spurs over the ground. At which time they will emit a foul smelling secretion on the ground to cover their escape. Cockroaches have also built up a resistance to many chemical poisons after hundreds of millions of years of contact with tropical vegetation and being exposed to plant toxins. They also seem to reprogram themselves over time to adapt to chemicals used on them. They are basically adapting to what we throw at them. Even though using poison will seem to be effective for a short time, once they’ve built a tolerance to it, the resistance is passed on to the rest of the colony and the poison is rendered useless after a while. It’s been rumored for quite some time that a miracle poison for curing the cockroach epidemic is fast approaching. But the truth of the matter is that as long as cockroaches remain a creature of this Earth, they are here to stay. The population of them is too vast and they multiply too fast for us to win that war. The best we can hope for is to learn how to control them and let them live, hopefully outside our homes. So here’s the Top 5 list I promised you on how to at least make their stay miserable so maybe they’ll move on to your neighbors house. lol
What to do if You’re Infested with Cockroaches
First and foremost, you need to cut off their food supply. Be sure that all pet food, trash and dirty dishes are put away or cleaned immediately. Do not let this stuff sit around, cockroaches love this stuff and will gravitate toward it, especially if it’s left overnight. Be sure to empty any crumb-catching trays in your toaster and clean the spill trays on your stove top. These may seem like small areas, but believe me, there’s enough food there to attract a huge colony of roaches. If you keep bulk foods around, store them in glass, plastic or metal containers that have lids. And be sure to either throw away old envelopes or keep them sealed in a plastic tub of some sort. If the roaches can’t get to the goodies, then they’ll go somewhere else to find food. If they don’t have a way in, they can’t get to you. So sealing up any possible entry points is a must. Use a caulking compound to seal up cracks and crevices around base-boards, cabinets, plumbing pipes and window seals. Be sure to repair any leaking pipes and use a tight fitting strainer basket on your drains. Cockroaches love to crawl into your drain to access food particles that may be there. If you are still suffering from these awful visitors, then poisoned bait traps may be useful. These will administer a deadly dose of poison to the roaches that feed on them. The best poison currently used is probably a compound called hydramethylnon. It isn’t harmful to humans, but is quite deadly to cockroaches, until they adapt that is. Argg! But the good thing about this is, once the roaches that have fed directly on the baits die, then the ones that feed on the dead roaches will get poisoned as well. Then of course once you’ve cleaned your house or are sure they aren’t there, keeping them out is a must. Avoid transporting new roaches into your home by checking any containers or boxes you may bring in and make sure they’re clean before bringing them in. The brown-banded cockroach was basically a southern pest until it was transported North in supplies being shipped to soldiers during WWII. So don’t bring boxes home from your storage without making sure they are clean of roaches. When all else fails, you can reference a book by the experts. The book How to Get Rid of Cockroaches is only a $7 investment to teach you what you need to know to get rid of those nasty cockroaches. This book covers a wide variety of species for many of the more commonly seen cockroaches. It may just save you the embarrassment of guests spotting these terrifying creatures crawling up your wall. Give it a look see. Well, that’s pretty much all I’ve got on the subject. We’re all well aware of what a pest the cockroach can be and how hard they are to get rid of. But I hope this list will act as a reminder to anyone that may be suffering with them currently. If anyone has any other successful methods for ridding a home of these pests, please leave us some comments below. You can never have too many remedies for fighting the war against cockroaches!