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The Alien Invasion – Roaches


There is an alien invader living amongst us. It is a creature of nightmares. It can take over our homes. It feeds on everything humans have ever created. It thrives on human settlements and human waste.  It will cannibalize, eating their own to survive. It can even live for up to two weeks – without its head! They give off a repugnant, unmistakable odor. You know them and you fear them. What is this alien creature that threatens and plagues the human race?


Blattella germanica

~The German Roach~


As if they were from another planet, roaches have plagued us from the beginning of time. Seeing just one scurry and dash across the floor can send a chill up your spine. They disgust us. They repulse us. Abhorrent creatures from which nightmares are born. Why my home? Why me? Why do they exist you may also wonder. What process would create such a vile and loathsome bug? What part do roaches play in nature? When they breach our threshold of conscious perception, our fright or flight response forces us to take action.



350 Million Years Ago


The earliest known roach fossil dates back to the Carboniferous period. Earth had a higher oxygen content than it does today and invertebrates like cockroaches were humongous. Fossil evidence show roaches and many other insects dated to this period were monstrous in size. Originating from warm, tropical regions, roaches have had 300 million years to expand and adapt to new environments all over the world. Luckily for us, giant roaches are now extinct. It would be shocking and horrifying to see a 60 pound roach, the size of small child, crawling across your kitchen floor!

The German Cockroach did not originate from Germany at all. Entomologists agree they most likely originated in southeast Asia millions of years ago. As Europeans traveled to South Asia for trade, it is entirely possible that roaches went along for the ride. Establishing themselves in new environments, these insects were a favorite diet for leopard gekos, lizzards and frogs. However they reproduced very quickly and flourished, dispite being swallowed whole by cold blooded lizzards, frogs and other amphibians.

So what is so German about these roaches? Truth is, they have absolutely nothing to due with the Germans. In the early 18th century, scientists used Latin names for identifying insects. Blattella is Latin for, “an insect that shuns the light”. So they were named Blattella Germanica as they were thought to originate in Germany. They were found all over European homes and the name stuck. Entschuldigung Leute aus Deutschland.


Coming to America


As Europeans traveled and settled in the New World, so did these roaches. Hidden among ships and the cargo they held, roaches easily adapted to new environments. Without natural predators, these roaches spread quickly. Rapid infestations were common. There were no chemical control measures and people had to smash them when they inevitably crawled out from the bacteria infested refuge from which they hide. Omnivorous scavengers seeking out sugars, starches and decaying organic matter. Even known to consume hair, grease, glue and finger nail clippings. When populations of roaches become extreme, they will cannibalize their own for food. This cannibalistic behavior is actually common among many insects. There is over 1500 insects that are recorded to consume their own species for food. Yummy.

Today, there is roughly 7 billion humans on Earth. Compared to insects, which are estimated to be 10 quintillion. Thats 10,000,000,000,000,000,000! Thats alot of bugs. German roaches are one of many social insects that produce huge populations. They can adapt to almost any environment but prefer damp, humid conditions. They also favor electrical outlets and appliances. Mainly nocturnal, they will run when exposed to light. However, some roaches like the Asian cockroach are attracted to light surfaces. All roaches are believed to use pheromones to communicate and distinguish between different populations of cockroach by odor. German roaches give off a pungent, awful smell. This is exacerbated when populations become large. One German roach can have up to 50 nymphs. They carry an egg sac called an ootheca on their back. It is composed of a hard material that protects it from predators and insecticides. Once the nymphs are born, it takes on average 100 days to grow into an adult. If this was not bad enough, german roaches can spread bacterial diseases that cause food poisoning like Salmonella. You can get stomach pain, dysentery and diarrhea from infected food. They can also spread bacteria such as Streptococcus and Staphylococcus.


Get Rid of them


All people really want to know is how to get rid of them. That is ware facts and fiction begin to blur. There are hundreds of videos and opinions on how to get rid of german roaches. Many people try to do it themselves in two ways, The organic and “natural” home remedy way, or the spray can way from the local store. An example of a more natural way would be to use diatomaceous earth.

Diatomaceous earth which is made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. When insects like roaches crawl thru diatomaceous earth, their internal moisture is absorbed thru its exoskeleton and the roach will dry out and die. Additionally, diatomaceous earth is sharp and will cut into the roach, expediting the process.

Unfortunately this method does not work well when dealing with german roaches. They reproduce much quicker than diatoms can kill them. Furthermore, you cannot put diatomaceous earth in certain areas. As an example, you would be ill advised to put diatomaceous earth in your toaster or microwave.

Doing it yourself with store bought pesticides is the most common way people deal with German roaches when they see them for the first time. Spraying a few roaches may temporarily seem to fix the problem, but many people soon recognize they have a considerable larger problem. Tiny German roach nymphs begin to appear weeks after your initial sighting. What may look like different roaches altogether, are in fact german roaches. They’re just at different stages in their life cycle. German roaches have an incomplete metamorphosis: the egg, nymph, and adult. It takes about 100 days to complete their life cycle.


So the question still remains: How do I get rid of German roaches?


Call a professional and reputable pest control company like Dave’s Pest Control. Do not be ashamed you have roaches. There is a stigma attached that your home must be dirty if you have roaches. This is not true. Many people have accidently brought German roaches into their home just by purchasing a kitchen appliance. What is true is that roaches will feed on anything. A dirty home will intensify a roach colony more rapidly than a clean home.

German roaches are much more resilient to chemical methods. Recent studies have found german roaches are rapidly developing resistance to many of the common insecticides being used today. Since they typically live about 100 days, they are able to quickly pass their genes to the next generation. German roaches cannot live without water. They can live up to 6 weeks without eating, but without water, they will die much quicker. Since roaches cannot live without water, they are often found near sources of water. Kitchen and bathrooms are the most common. Damp basements and other areas of homes with high humidity can also harbor roaches. The electrical current that powers our homes attract german roaches. They seek out the warmth created from the flow of electrons in our appliances wiring. Refrigerators, toasters, microwaves, crock pots and dishwashers are all common items that German roaches will infest.

Calling a professional pest control company like Dave’s Pest Control is the best advice. Having a professional means your getting decades of combined experience in combating these repulsive insects. Our pest control technicians are experts in identifying german roaches. They will find their hiding spots, and eliminate them. Most people who have tried to do it themselves, inadvertently made the problem much worse by driving them deeper into the walls and cabinets of their homes. This can give the impression that they are unable to be wiped out completely. This is false. If identified quickly, and treated correctly, they can be eradicated. No matter how bad the problem is, Dave’s Pest Control can rid your home of all pests.


Hasta La Vista, baby


We do not have to live with German roaches. They may be an inherent part of our natural world, but we will not be complaisant in living with them. German roaches are much more than an annoyance and need to be dealt with promptly. If you see them in your home or business, call Dave’s Pest Control.


Dan Coffey



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