Scientific Name: Periplaneta americana (Linnaeus)
Color: Reddish brown, with a yellowish figure 8
pattern on the back of the head
The American cockroach is the largest of the house-infesting cockroach.
American Cockroaches can be found in All 50 States. They have been
called waterbugs, Bombay canaries and Palmettobugs. They are not
native to the United States, probably introduced from Africa.
American cockroaches are found in food processing areas and food
storage areas, as well as other types of buildings. They are active
when the temperature is 70 degrees or higher, but they can survive
lower temperatures with the right conditions. They are a major pest
of city sewer systems.
American cockroaches are often found in sewers and basements, particularly
around pipes and drains.
Cockroaches have been reported to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria,
six kinds of parasitic worms, and at least seven other kinds of
human pathogens. They can pick up germs on the spines of their legs
and bodies as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage and then
carry these into food or onto food surfaces. Germs that cockroaches
eat from decaying matter or sewage are protected while in their
bodies and may remain infective for several weeks longer than if
they had been exposed to cleaning agents, rinse water, or just sunlight
and air. Recent medical studies have shown that cockroach allergens
cause lots of allergic reactions in inner city children. They were
even shown to cause asthma in children. These allergens build up
in deposits of droppings, secretions, cast skins, and dead bodies
Good sanitation and habitat reduction, along with vacuuming, surveillance,
a baiting program, and some sealing of cracks can usually quickly
reduce or eliminate a cockroach population.
(Source: National Pest Management Association, et. al.)