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South American cockroach Periplaneta americana , also known as the palmetto bug or waterbug, 1 particularly in the southern United States, is the largest species of common cockroach, and often considered a pest.
South American Cockroach
It is about 40 mm (1.5 inches) long with a reddish-brown body. The center portion of the pronotal shield is light brown, while the outer edges are yellow. Even though both sexes are winged, their flight is more of a gliding movement from point to point than active flight.
South American cockroaches generally live in moist areas, but can survive in dry areas if they have access to water. They prefer warm temperatures around 29 160 C 84 160 F and do not tolerate cold temperatures. In residential areas, these cockroaches live in basements and sewers, and may move outdoors into yards during warm weather. These cockroaches are common in basements, crawl spaces, cracks and crevices of porches, foundations, and walkways adjacent to buildings.
Dense populations can leave a distinct odour. Food and utensils can be contaminated with droppings, cast skins, empty egg cases and vomit marks. A number of pathogenic organisms have been associated with cockroaches. Their ability to act as vectors of pathogens is still a matter of controversy. This is mainly because that transmission can only occur indirectly via contamination of food and utensils. Pest status applies equally to nymphs and adults.
South American Cockroaches
Life Cycle: Ootheca produced per female in lifetime 30 approx. each containing 14 to 28 eggs. Incubation 25 to 40 days. The female often carries the ootheca for 4-6 weeks depositing it when the eggs are fully developed and are ready to hatch. The nymphal stages number 10 to 13 and nymphal development is between 130 to 150 days. The life span is 250 to 350 days, males are shorter lived than females.
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.
South American Cockroaches
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 of roaches.
Control: Due to their large size and slow development, large infestations of these insects are not common within houses. However, during certain times of the year, these cockroaches may move inside a house from outside. In cold weather these cockroaches may move indoors, seeking warmer temperatures and food. Cockroaches may enter houses via sewer connections, under doors, around plumbing, air ducts, or other openings in the foundation. Cockroach populations may be controlled through the use of insecticides, removing the food supply, or by physically excluding them from unwanted areas.
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