Most Common Types of Cockroaches in the UK
We can all agree that stumbling upon a cockroach in the middle of your kitchen or bathroom is not the most pleasant thing in the world. But unfortunately, it CAN happen. Especially if they find your home to be a perfect shelter.
To prevent that from happening, you need to see the face of your enemy. And to do that, we have prepared this blog post about the most common types of cockroaches in the UK.
This type of cockroach can be identified by the oval shape of their bodies and light brown colouring. The main distinctive feature of these species is two dark, almost parallel stripes starting from the head and continuing along the thorax. The size of the adult cockroaches can vary between 1 to 1.5 cm.
Unfortunately to households and pest controllers, the German cockroaches’ reproduction cycle is faster compared to other residential kinds. It takes them approximately 60 days to develop from an egg to a fully grown adult.
Nymphs, or baby cockroaches, usually have darker colouring with the same distinctive lines on their backs.
As this kind doesn’t like cold weather, they choose warm and humid places that have access to food, water, and shelter. However, it doesn’t mean that if you live in a colder environment, you are not exposed to the infestation. Quite the opposite, these creatures have adapted to live near dwellings or any other sources of warmth.
Long story short - they eat everything. From meats to toothpaste and soap. If they are short on food supplies, they might turn cannibalistic. That is why they search for supply-rich places that will allow them to survive.
German cockroaches are nocturnal creatures, meaning that you most likely won’t see them during the day time. However, if their population is overcrowded, they might show themselves when the sun is still up.
Another reason that might cause cockroaches to leave their place of habitation during the daytime is if their population has been disturbed by something. It might be a predator or the insecticides that you have spread around your house.
German cockroaches are good at spotting and avoiding insecticides, which makes it harder to get rid of them. Over time, they might even develop resistance to the most common chemical pesticides; all the more reason to get professional help.
There are three main signs that you should look for if you suspect a German cockroach infestation: droppings, oily or musty odour, and egg capsules in the places they live in.
The droppings can usually be found in the spots of their relocation and entry spots, like cracks, corners of the rooms, and counters. At first sight, they might remind you of ground black pepper flakes.
If you think of a big black crawling creature when someone says “cockroach”, then you are thinking of the Oriental cockroaches. Females are usually bigger than males. Their body can reach 3 cm in length, whereas males’ length varies between 1.5 - 2 cm. The distinctive features of males are small wings on their backs. However, don’t be frightened, they can not fly.
In a lifetime, female cockroaches can produce up to 200 eggs. The mama-cockroach develops a so-called “ootheca”, that is technically a mass that has eggs inside, for several days and deposes it. As soon as the eggs hatch, the full transformation from a nymph to a fully grown adult takes from 6 to 12 months. During this period, the baby cockroaches are able to shed up to 10 times, leaving their skin all-around their trails.
Oriental cockroaches like damp conditions. The wetter, the better. However, you are more likely to meet them outside. These little creatures tend to crawl under wet and cold stones, debris, wood, and other closed and cool spaces. In summer, they might change their location to pipes and sewage, as it gives them access to water.
Interestingly, these species can spend up to a month without food but if they don’t have access to water for more than 2 weeks, they die.
Because cockroaches are scavengers, they feed on garbage and old decomposing food. So, if you’ve ever heard that leaving fruit peels in your garden for composting is a good idea, we can assure you that it’s not.
As the Oriental cockroaches’ survival heavily depends on water sources, they build their population around them. If you notice them in the structure of your house, it’s likely the cockroaches have found available water and food source. If the temperature in the living area becomes too hot for them, they tend to move to more humid and cool spots.
The majority of cockroaches show similar signs of their presence. Egg capsules can be found in the spots where they reside - around the gutters or outdoor faucets. The capsules can be recognised by the reddish colour and relatively small size of up to 1 cm.
Moreover, cockroaches leave a very specific, musty odour, that helps them recognise each other.
The “monster” of domestic cockroaches, the American cockroach is the biggest one in comparison to the rest of these six-legged intruders. The size of its brownish body can reach up to 5 cm. Both males and females have a pair of wings that they can easily use.
The youngsters have the same features, however, they don’t have developed wings yet.
This type of insect has the longest life cycle in comparison to the other cockroaches - 700 days. Just like a regular cockroach, the females produce egg cases during their adult life. On average, one female can produce 10 egg cases. In a year, she can give life to 150 baby cockroaches. After they hatch, the babies go through 13 sheddings before fully becoming an adult.
You will not find the American cockroaches in cold areas. They like to be warm. The perfect conditions for them are areas that have high humidity and temperatures of at least 29°C. Their common hiding places are basements, foundations of buildings, and various cracks and crevices.
Just as any cockroach, these insects are fond of fatty and starchy foods. It has been noticed that during periods of starvation, they can feed on other weak or dead cockroaches.
Even if they are pretty big in size, these insects are able to fit into the smallest cracks and do it very fast, especially if they are scared. However, when it comes to living places, they prefer open and dark spots, just like basements or garages.
The wings on their backs allow them to fly short distances and only if the temperature in the area is high.
First of all, if you have an active infestation in your dwelling, you will see the cockroaches themselves, as they do not hide unless they sense danger.
The second sign is droppings that are quite similar to mouse droppings. In that situation, we recommend contacting your local Fantastic Pest Control specialists to properly identify the problem.
Third, egg capsules can be found near food or water sources. The female cockroaches stick them in the areas that they think will be the most suitable for nymphs to grow in. Usually, they are oval in shape and dark brown in colour.
Brown Banded Cockroaches
Just as the name states, this kind of cockroach has a brown band-like pattern on their backs. The length of their bodies can reach 1.5 cm. Males tend to be a bit smaller than females. Right on their backs, you can find a pair of wings, however, the wings of females are not developed enough to allow them to fly.
The life cycle of the Brown Banded cockroach begins in the egg capsules that females create during their adult life. The capsule can contain up to 18 eggs. The success and length of their development entirely depend on the temperature of the surrounding area.
These cockroaches can be found anywhere where it is warm. Moreover, they need to have a constant food supply. Compared to the other domestic cockroaches, Brown Banded cockroaches avoid water. The most common spots where you can find them are kitchens, stores, hotels, and restaurants.
You can find these insects munching on anything. These ultimate survival machines can eat anything, from crumbs under the table to wallpaper. Above all, the cockroaches prefer items that are high in starch levels, so you might witness them crawling on books or envelopes.
As we already mentioned, these insects love warmth. Therefore, they try to find the warmest spots in the house, like the back of the fridge or the top of a counter. Their small bodies allow them to enter the smallest cracks and blend within the environment.
Because cockroaches are nocturnal, they are quite active in the night. However, you can see them during the day in search of food.
This kind of domestic pests is hard to spot. The droppings are one of the things that can signify their existence in your property. Check for the small, greasy substances around the counters or light fixtures.
Another indicator is the eggshells laid by female cockroaches. Usually, they try to hide their egg capsules in dark spots. Don’t expect to find it on a cabinet itself, better check behind it, as this spot is perfect for the new generation to appear.
How to Prevent a Cockroach Infestation
There are several things to remember to prevent an infestation of these six-legged intruders:
- Eliminate food and water sources. In the urban environment, cockroaches heavily rely on human waste products to survive. Empty trash bins, lack of standing water in sinks, and proper storage of food are the essentials if you want to avoid an infestation in your property.
- Clean your house. It might sound too simple, but proper hygiene prevents cockroaches from appearing. Debris, spillages or food waste, etc. can become a great sign for cockroaches that your house is a good place to live in.
- Maintain your property. When was the last time you have checked your house or apartment for cracks? Little do you know, some cockroaches can already have plans on expanding their population somewhere behind those cracks. Moreover, don’t forget to check your pipes and drains, as these creatures like damp conditions. Blocked drains should be cleared and broken pipes repaired
- Most of the cockroaches choose areas with warm and humid conditions;
- The different species can be identified by the distinctive colouring and sizes;
- Most common signs of infestation, except for the cockroaches themselves, are droppings, egg capsules, and shedding;
- Some of the species can fly.