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Cockroaches have been long despised by homeowners due to their creepy appearance. The American cockroach is the largest of the house-infesting cockroaches. Despite its name, the American cockroach is not native to North America, but was probably introduced via ships from Africa in the 1600s.

American cockroaches often enter structures through drains and pipes. They are more active when the temperature is 70 degrees or higher, but they can survive lower temperatures with the right conditions.

Although American cockroaches can be found in homes, they are also common in larger commercial buildings such grocery stores, food processing plants and hospitals. American roaches are also known to infest basements, yards and alleys.

American roaches 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. Recent medical studies have shown that cockroach allergens cause allergies and exacerbate asthma attacks, especially in children and those living in metro-city areas. As with other species of roaches, American cockroaches can pose a threat to individuals with allergies.

Cockroach control and management are important for health and safety reasons.

If you notice cockroaches inside the home, it’s important to contact a licensed pest professional at Westfall's Pest Control to inspect and treat the problem. For a free inspection and bug free guarantee, contact us at (941) 761-0125.

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Cockroach Series: German Cockroach

The German cockroach is the most common species of the cockroach. German cockroaches can breed at a rate of up to six generations per year. The German cockroach can fit through an opening as small as 3/8 inch in width.

Habits
German cockroaches will feed on almost anything, including soap, glue and toothpaste. German cockroaches are good hitchhikers and often find their way into new structures via grocery bags, cardboard boxes, drink cartons and secondhand appliances.

Habitat
German cockroaches prefer to live in warm, humid places close to food and moisture sources. They are frequently found in residential and commercial kitchen environments, and bathrooms.

Threats
In addition to being a nuisance, the German cockroach has been implicated in outbreaks of illness and allergic reactions in many people. 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. Medical studies have shown that German cockroach allergens cause allergic reactions and can exacerbate asthma attacks, especially in children. This makes German cockroach control incredibly vital.

German Cockroach Prevention
Wondering how to get rid of German cockroaches? The best advice for German cockroach control is to practice good sanitation. To prevent German cockroaches from infesting the space, vacuum often, keep a spotless kitchen, seal all entrances around utility pipes and ventilate crawl spaces to prevent moisture buildup. If there is evidence of a cockroach infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the German cockroach problem.

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Many people who experience the repercussions of suffering from allergies, like itchy eyes and a running nose, often attribute these unpleasant symptoms to culprits in the great outdoors. However, common household pests including rodents, cockroaches and dust mites have also been documented as triggers of allergy and asthma symptoms, especially in children

Keep a Clean Kitchen
Cockroach saliva, droppings and decomposing body parts contain allergens that can exacerbate the symptoms of allergy sufferers. To cut off cockroach food sources, keep a meticulously clean kitchen, store food in airtight containers and avoid leaving out pet food.

Bring Out the Vacuum
About 20 million Americans have a dust mite allergy. These pests feed on human and animal dander, and vacuuming at least once a week using a machine with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) filter can help to prevent them.

Wash Clothes Regularly
Dust mites are most frequently found in the bed, where dander is most abundant. Launder linens frequently in hot water, preferably heated to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, and consider encasing pillows and mattresses in allergen-proof covers.

Manage Moisture
Dust mites are excellent at absorbing moisture from the air and thrive in humidity. Maintain the humidity level in the house at about 50 percent by properly ventilating basements and crawl spaces. Consider running a dehumidifier in these areas to prevent moisture buildup.

Patch It Up
Droppings from rodents such as mice and rats are another largely preventable household allergen. Keep rodents out by sealing all cracks and gaps in walls and floors with a silicone-based caulk, especially in areas where utility pipes enter.

Source: http://www.pestworld.org/

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The American cockroach is the largest of the house-infesting cockroaches. Despite its name, the American cockroach is not native to North America, but was probably introduced via ships from Africa in the 1600s.

Habits
American cockroaches often enter structures through drains and pipes. They are more active when the temperature is 70 degrees or higher, but they can survive lower temperatures with the right conditions.

Habitat
Although American cockroaches can be found in homes, they are also common in larger commercial buildings such grocery stores, food processing plants and hospitals. American roaches are also known to infest basements, yards and alleys.

Threats
American roaches 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. Recent medical studies have shown that cockroach allergens cause allergies and exacerbate asthma attacks, especially in children and those living in metro-city areas. As with other species of roaches, American cockroaches can pose a threat to individuals with allergies.

Source: pestworld.org

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In recent years, several large-scale studies funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have reinforced the dangerous connection between cockroaches and asthma in children. NIEHS reported that one in five children in the United States have severe sensitivities to cockroach allergens, which can cause or increase the severity of asthma symptoms. These allergens are most commonly introduced into homes through cockroach saliva, droppings and the decomposing bodies of these pests.

"The presence of cockroaches in the home poses a severe risk to health, especially as an asthma trigger in children," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "Homeowners should feel confident in contacting a licensed pest professional as their services have shown to be most effective in reducing cockroach populations. The professional treatment of cockroach infestations will ultimately reduce the number of allergens that can exacerbate a child's asthma."

Homeowners must be vigilant in preventing such infestations, especially during the summer months. Cockroaches are most active when temperatures reach 70 degrees or above and these pests thrive in warm, dark and moist places.

NPMA offers homeowners these tips to protect their families and properties from cockroach infestations:

  • Keep food sealed and stored properly, particularly in kitchens.
  • Clean kitchens daily, where crumbs and trash are more likely to build up.
  • Dispose of garbage regularly and store in sealed containers.
  • Seal cracks and holes in homes, including entry points for utilities and pipes.
  • Keep basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Contact a qualified pest professional to treat any infestations.
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Why do hissing cockroaches hiss?

Ever wondered why hissing cockroaches hiss? Eleven-year-old Erin Clawson did.

PJ Liesch, director of the UW’s Insect Diagnostic Lab, answered Erin’s question in a recent video from Blue Sky Science. The video series is a collaboration between the Morgridge Institute for Research and the Wisconsin State Journal.

If you encounter hissing cockroaches or regular cockroaches give Westfall's a call and we'll take care of it! - 941-761-0125

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Like people, cockroaches like to hang out together, especially when they have nothing else to do. Now, researchers know why. Gut bacteria pooped along with their feces emit odors that the roaches find attractive. When those bacteria are missing, cockroaches tend to go it alone, researchers have discovered. Gut microbes in other organisms may likewise influence behavior in ways we have yet to appreciate.

“We don’t know whether microbes are generally important in mediating chemical communications, but my best guess is that it’s widespread,” says Angela Douglas, who studies microbes and their animal hosts at Cornell University and was not involved with the work. Eavesdropping on microbe-cockroach conversations could lead to better ways to control this common household pest.

Insects typically communicate using odors called pheromones; those that attract males to females are well-studied. Since the 1970s, entomologists have also known that so-called aggregation pheromones encourage roaches to stick close to one another. But researchers never could agree on what those pheromones really are. Some suggested they were waxy substances in the outer skin; others argued they were nitrogen-rich compounds in the feces; and a third group insisted that fatty acids—building blocks for fat—were involved, although which ones exactly was under debate.

Coby Schal, an entomologist at North Carolina State University (NC State) in Raleigh wondered whether the conflicting results meant that different cockroaches depend on different aggregation chemicals because of variation in their environments, food, or gut microbes. So Schal and his team, including NC State entomologist Ayako Wada-Katsumata sterilized German cockroaches, Blattella germanica, and raised them in germ-free cages, so their feces would be germ-free. Usually cockroaches are attracted to their neighbors’ feces, but they tended to avoid the germ-free stuff.

About 80% to 100% of young cockroaches tested preferred feces over sterile water, and although the difference in attraction was not as clear-cut between extracts of germ-free and normal feces, there were significantly more cockroaches aggregating by the normal feces extract, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Without the microbes in the feces, the cockroaches no longer banded together very much. “The aggregation properties decline tremendously,” Schal says.

When Wada-Katsumata isolated feces bacteria and fed them to the germ-free cockroaches, the roaches once again tended to form groups. Sophisticated chemical analyses of normal roach poop and germ-free poop showed that the latter lacked many of the usual fatty acids that evaporate from the feces once it is exposed to air; the researchers conclude these volatile fatty acids may be the missing aggregation pheromones. Synthetic versions of these compounds also cause cockroaches to aggregate.

“This study explains how different studies in the past have yielded different results,” Douglas says. “It all depends on the microorganisms.” This may be why fatty acid advocates couldn’t agree on which fatty acids were important. Schal says that other candidate aggregation substances, in high concentrations, also seem to help bring the insects together, but these bacteria-produced compounds are much more potent and may be the most important drivers, Coby says.

Other researchers have shown that a specific microbe hosted by desert locusts helps induce crowding behavior in that species. And in 2012, researchers suggested that bacteria living in hyenas' scent glands impart the odors that help these animals tell kin from nonkin or pick out group members. “There’s the potential for this to be widespread,” Schal says.

May Berenbaum, an entomologist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, who was not involved with the work agrees. "It has become abundantly clear that insects partner with a tremendous diversity of microbial [associates]—bugs are bug-infested, as it were," she points out. And in cockroaches, they "produce a beautiful story of biological cooperation."

And how about people? What we eat affects the bacteria in our guts, which in turn can affect what we smell like. But although the resulting foul body odor may deter contact, “there’s no evidence the bacteria play a positive role in communication among humans,” Schal says.

He is now studying whether every population of cockroaches (even the ones living in your kitchen versus the ones in your basement) makes its own special aggregation pheromone. Schal and his colleagues hope to develop a synthetic aggregation pheromone that works for all German cockroaches. Such a compound would help lure roaches to insecticides, baits, and traps, Douglas says: “If we can understand the chemistry of cockroach aggregation and its plasticity better, we can devise better strategies for control.”

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Before you spray that bottle of Raid, take a minute to consider: You could be killing a brave little fellow, or perhaps a shy one.

That's according to new research indicating that "cockroaches have personalities," as scientists say in a statement. Specifically, they have two, the Guardian reports: Some are what researchers classify as "shy or cautious" while others are "bold or explorers."

How do you determine a cockroach's character? Just look at how it behaves when it's released into an open area. Some cockroaches will quickly head for shelter; others will focus on "exploring the surroundings" and will "spend less time sheltered," lead author Isaac Planas Sitjà tells the Guardian.

The researchers reached their findings by attaching small radio ID chips to hundreds of cockroaches and tracking their movements in a controlled environment, Science reports. Though they varied in their approach to finding shelter, they eventually all ended up in the same place. That shows that "there is a collective dynamic — a social influence — that dilutes the individual personality differences," Planas Sitjà tells Science.

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