Cockroaches are insects or living creatures having a three-part body - three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae.
About 30 species out of 4,500 total are associated with human habitations and about four species are well known as pests. Among the best-known pest species are the American cockroach, the German cockroach, the Asian cockroach and the Oriental cockroach. Tropical cockroaches are often much bigger than the modern Cockroaches.
Cockroaches live in a wide range of environments around the world. Pest species of cockroaches adapt readily to a variety of environments, but prefer warm conditions found within buildings. Cockroaches leave chemical trails in their feces as well as emitting airborne pheromones for swarming and mating. These chemical trails transmit bacteria on surfaces. Other cockroaches will follow these trails to discover sources of food and water, and also discover where other cockroaches are hiding. Thus, cockroaches can exhibit emergent behavior, in which group or swarm behavior emerges from a simple set of individual interactions. Cockroaches are mainly nocturnal and will run away when exposed to light. A peculiar exception is the Asian cockroach, which is attracted to light.
Female cockroaches are sometimes seen carrying egg cases on the end of their abdomen; the egg case of the German cockroach holds about 30 to 40 long, thin eggs, packed like frankfurters in the case called an ootheca. The egg capsule may take more than five hours to lay and is initially bright white in color. The eggs are hatched from the combined pressure of the hatchlings gulping air. The hatchlings are initially bright white nymphs and continue inflating themselves with air, becoming harder and darker within about four hours. Their transient white stage while hatching and later while molting has led many to claim the existence of albino cockroaches.
Cockroaches are one of the most commonly noted household pest insects. They feed on human and pet food, and can leave an offensive odor. They can also passively transport microbes on their body surfaces including those that are potentially dangerous to humans, particularly in environments such as hospitals. Cockroaches have been shown to be linked with allergic reactions in humans. One of the proteins that triggers allergic reactions has been identified as tropomyosin. These allergens have also been found to be linked with asthma.
General preventive measures against household pests include keeping all food stored away in sealed containers, using garbage cans with a tight lid, frequent cleaning in the kitchen, and regular vacuuming. Any water leaks, such as dripping taps, should also be repaired. It is also helpful to seal off any entry points, such as holes around baseboards, in between kitchen cabinets, pipes, doors, and windows with some steel wool or copper mesh and some cement, putty or silicone caulk.
Did You Know?
- Cockroaches can live for a month without food!
- Cockroaches can survive nuclear attack!
- Cockroaches can move up to your house through the drains to feed on leftover food at night
- They prefer warm conditions so, they are found in human habitat