American cockroach

American cockroach

The American cockroach belongs to the genus Periplaneta in the family Blattidae. Its scientific name is Periplaneta americana. Just like all the other species of cockroach, it is a member of the order Blattodea. The American cockroach is believed to have originated in Africa, but is today found all over the world, especially around ports since it spread with human transport. In cold parts of the world, the American cockroach can only survive by infesting human dwellings, such as homes, restaurants and shops since the outdoor climate is too harsh.

American cockroach – description  
The adult American cockroach has an oval body, spiny legs and characteristic long filamentous antennae. The body colour is reddish-brown or dark brown, and you can see a yellow or tan coloured band that stretches around the shield behind the animal’s head. The American cockroach has wings that are capable of flight.

American cockroach – sexing
Males and females are of roughly the same size. The female American cockroach has wings of roughly the same length as her abdomen, while the male American cockroach has wings that extends somewhat beyond his abdomen. The female cockroach can also be distinguished on her broad abdomen. The male American cockroach is equipped with both cerci and styli.

American cockroach – reproduction
After mating, the female American cockroach will form one new egg capsule each week until 4-16 egg capsules have been produced and deposited. The egg capsules (oothecae) are bean-shaped and will be left in sheltered spots, usually near the floor and close to food. You can see the egg capsule extend from the body of the female cockroach as it develops; it can be visible from 4 hours to 4 days. The egg capsule is mahogany brown and can contain up to 16 eggs that will need 5-7 weeks of development before they hatch. The eggs are white or of a yellowish shade. When the eggs hatch, small whitish-brown nymphs will emerge. These nymphs will eventually shift to a maroon, uniform colour. They are incapable of flying, but can run extremely fast. It will take anything from 9.5 to 20 months for the nymph to develop into an adult American cockroach. Adult American cockroaches will live for roughly 15 months. They can survive one month without access to water and go 2-3 months without eating.

American cockroach – habits
The American cockroach will stay hidden during the day and only emerge to look for food during the night when it is dark. If you turn on the lights, you will usually see them running frantically in order to find a place to hide. They can fly, but usually prefer to run when disturbed. Typical American cockroach habitats are boiler rooms, steam heat tunnels and sewers. In homes, they prefer moist environments such as the bathroom or under the sink. The American cockroach is much less frequently seen in homes than the German cockroach, since the American cockroach prefers dark and damp areas that tend to be left alone, such as crawl spaces, utility closets, floor drains, and uninhabited basements. 

Cockroach Articles:
German Cochroaches


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