Call them palmetto bugs, croton bugs, or water bugs as much as you want; there’s no name you can give cockroaches that will make them any less gross. Because of the climate, Florida is known for being susceptible to infestations, but by taking a few precautions you can keep cockroaches out of your home.
Common Florida Cockroach Species
A few of the most common cockroach species in Florida include the American, Australian, and Smokeybrown cockroach.
While all three cockroaches measure one-to-two inches in length, cockroach appearance varies widely from species to species. Smokeybrow cockroaches have a mahogany-brown pronotum, the shield-shaped plate behind its head, and wings slightly longer than its body. The American cockroach is reddish brown and has a yellow figure-eight marking on its pronotum. The Australian species resembles the American cockroach but can be distinguished by the presence of light-yellow bands on the upper margins of its forewing. It has a black shape on its pronotum encircled by a yellow band.
Despite their unique appearances, they share similar lifestyles. During the day, they hide in dark, hidden areas. At night, they come out to feed.
All cockroaches have three life stages: egg, nymph, and adult. Females from the Australian, Smokeybrown, and American species can lay 10 to 28 eggs at a time. Nymphs have no wings when they hatch and molt, or shed their skins, multiple times before they become winged adults.
Outside, you can generally find cockroaches in tree holes, palm trees, leaf litter, and mulch. Since they prefer warm and damp spaces, they often congregate in locations like sewers, stores, garages, attics, and other undisturbed storage locations.
Inside, they prefer to stay behind loose baseboards, molding strips, and window or door frames. They are also often found in the bathroom, especially around cabinets and sinks.
The Dangers of Cockroaches
Once cockroaches make it into your home, they pose numerous potential health issues. If they live in your kitchen, they can expose your silverware, dishes, glasses, and food to Salmonella, the pathogen that causes food poisoning. Along with Salmonella, cockroaches can carry staphylococcus, E. coli, and 31 other kinds of bacteria. They can also carry six species of parasitic worms.
Cockroaches can be especially dangerous for people with respiratory issues. Their salvia, shed skin, and droppings can trigger asthma attacks, especially in young children.
Taking some preventative measures can keep cockroaches out of your home:
- Cockroaches love corrugated cardboard. Throw away any unnecessary boxes as soon as possible.
- Use weather stripping to seal the gaps between doors and door frames.
- Cockroaches require a lot of water to survive. Repair leaky pipes to cut off their supply.
- Check outdoor objects like tires and tree holes for water collection.
- Wipe trash cans and trash areas frequently, and use garbage cans with tight-fitting lids.
- Keep food in tightly sealed containers or the refrigerator. Reseal all food after opening.
Signs of Cockroach Infestations
Knowledge is power. Familiarize yourself with some of the signs of a cockroach infestation:
- Oothecae, or roach egg cases, are brown, oblong casings that hold multiple eggs. They’re often found in tight spaces, like cracks in walls and pantries.
- Roach feces can show up behind stoves and refrigerators, and in cupboards, cabinets, and sinks. Their appearance varies depending on the species of the offending roach. Their droppings can look like oval pellets, flecks of pepper, brown stains, or even coffee grounds.
- Roaches create strong, musty odors that can linger in the air and alter the taste of food.
Cockroach infestations are notoriously difficult to remove, so save yourself the hassle of trying to kick them out without an expert. Should you find that roaches have moved in, let Hometown send them their eviction notice. Call or contact us online to request a free quote.