Monday, September 27, 2010

Periplaneta americana "American Cockroach"

Periplaneta americana, also known as the American cockroach, the largest widespread North American cockroach also the largest of the common peridomestic cockroaches, they reach 44 mm in length about 4 cm. The American Cockroach is a dark reddish-brown little thing with a whitish peripheral band around the pronotum. The adults possess large wings and are able to fly, even though they rarely do so. Nymphs are wingless. It is easily, although unintentionally and remorsefully, spread by human commerce, import/export and is worldwide in warm climates and, in heated buildings. It occurs in buildings throughout warm climates and during warm weather in colder climates especially in commercial buildings. In the northern United States the American Cockroach is primarily found in steam heat tunnels or large institutional buildings. The American cockroach falls second to the German cockroach in abundance.. Periplaneta is a creature of the night, negatively phototactic, and prefers dark warm, moist habitats. The American Cockroach is extremely sensitive to vibrations and it has come to be known as one of the world’s fastest running insects, I'm sure you may at one time have tried to stomp one in the kitchen late at night. Periplaneta americana is one of several cockroaches found living in and around human habitations.
The life cycle of an American Cockroach starts off as an egg, and then it turns in to an adult, or imago. The eggs are laid in a tough, hardened protein case, the case normally containing 16 eggs. Females average one egg case per month for most of the year but may exceed that average through periods of peak reproductive activity. Nymphs do not have functional wings, but wing pads begin to appear in the 4 th instar and slowly expand in size when they shed the hard, protective outer covering. The life span is 2-3 years with only the last year being spent as an adult. Adults live for about a year.
The American Cockroach, an omnivorous, opportunistic, scavenging species feeds on just about anything organic, plant or animal, but favors starches and sugars.
Cockroach population density is controlled naturally by several species of parasitoid wasps. These wasps are egg parasitoids in which the female wasp lays it's eggs in the roach egg casing where the wasp larvae hatch and feed on roach eggs. The female, with great struggle, inserts one egg in each cockroach egg casing. The larva hatches and consumes all 16 roach eggs before achieving a length of 8 mm, it undergoes transformation, and emerging from the now empty cockroach casing. Adults are tiny, about 2 mm long. Both species are stingless and are of no threat to us humans. Small wasps that are seen in roach-infested areas should by all means be protected and encouraged, not killed. Some attempts to contain cockroach populations with pesticide and/or chemical sprays may be counterproductive because they accidentally kill parasitoids in addition to the roaches. Roach pellets which are selective, are more effective.
All cockroaches are not biological vectors for human disease although they can serve as mechanical vectors simply by harboring infectious organisms such as Ascaris eggs, bacteria, or protozoan cysts on their body surfaces.
The American cockroach, Periplaneta americana , is an exotic roach that was introduced to us in North America from Africa in the early 1700's. It is the largest of the household species of roaches, reaching 44 mm in length. Both male and female have fully functional wings but occasionally fly. They can develop to massive numbers, more than 5,000 can sometimes be found in individual sewer manholes. The cockroaches live outdoors but will make their way indoors for food and water or during extremes in weather conditions. In areas where there are trees, woodpiles, garbage facilities, and accumulations of organic debris around homes provide adequate food, water. They move around by crawling or flying into structures often entering houses and apartments from sewers via the plumbing, by trees and shrubs located alongside buildings or trees with branches overhanging roofs facilitate the entry of cockroaches into the home. The American cockroach responds in a negative way to light, it rests in harborages close to water pipes, sinks, baths, and toilets, for example, where the microclimate is appropriate for survival. Ecological factors such as the humidity and temperature can increase or decrease the developmental time of this cockroach. When outdoors the female shows a preference for moist, concealed sites to lay it's eggs. It consumes rotting organic matter but since the cockroach is a scavenger it will eat most anything. It has a sweet tooth and prefers to eat sweets and has been observed eating paper, boots, hair, bread, fruit, book bindings, fish, peanuts, old rice, putrid sake, the soft part on the inside of animal hides, cloth and dead insects. American cockroaches may turn into a public health problem because of their involvement with human waste and disease, and their ability to make their way from sewers into homes and commercial establishments. During the summer months in the United States, alleyways and yards maybe flooded by the American cockroaches. To prevent these filthy creatures from entering your home you should seal all openings through ground level walls, remove rotting leaves from around your home. Other preventative measures are insecticides that are applied to basement walls, wood scraps, and other infested locations. Residual sprays is to be applied inside and around the perimeter of an infested structure. pellet baits which are loose and toxic, are extremely effective in controlling the population of the America cockroach.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mouse Issues

Mouse Control
That furry little haze you just saw zoom across in front of your fireplace? Those brown, rice-shaped droppings behind the stove? O.K., really how much of a headache can a couple of mice be?
In a single year a female mouse will most likely have 5 to 10 litters of 5 or 6 young each. In 10 weeks, those babies will be old enough to repeat the process. Assume half the litter is male, the other half female. You do the math.
But wait there's more. Though mice have nutritional preferences – any kind of fruit or grains, cereal, and a large variety of vegetables– they will basically settle for anything they can get. They can climb and make their way up just about any rough surface, navigate cables like a dancer on a tight rope, they can also jump. Mice have no bones in their body except for their skull, its all cartilage. This allows them to crawl through holes the size of a dime. Mice can cause structural damage by chewing on wood and gnawing on your wires and this causes fire and electrical safety hazards.
Unpleasant Facts About Mice
One very repulsive fact about these creepy crawlers is that they give off hundreds of micro-droplets of urine as they travel around their territory every day, which can cause allergies and disease,
Odours from the disintegration of a rat or a mouse. If it dies between walls or in a crawl space it could also cause allergic attacks in children prone to them.
Even scarier, the rodents can infect humans with hantavirus, a rare but often fatal disease.
Eliminating Mice
Now you’re surely thinking that you want to get rid of them right?
In order to control mice, you must think like a mouse you must think like one. Most experts in rodent control, say the best way to keep mice out of your house is to seal up every existing holes, cracks and crevice in your home . For most people – including those who just don't have the patience to crawl around looking for quarter-inch openings — rodent control consists of catching the mice quickly and efficiently.

Traps and poisons are two simple categories rodent control falls into.
The traps vary from the familiar Victor snap trap — made from a piece of wood, a tightly wound spring and a platform that holds the bait — to elaborate multiple-catch gizmos that can catch and hold an entire clan of mice. There are newer, plastic traps that are easier to set; traps that catch mice but don't kill them; and the nasty but effective glue board, which holds the mouse until it dies.
Their common baits may vary. First off cheese is not the answer. Few experts recommend peanut butter, a cotton ball with a few drops of vanilla flavoring, even strips of bacon are recommended. (It might be helpful to pre-bait a trap – put the bait on the trap but don't arm it at first, so the mice think it's a nice, safe place to get food.) Also one or two traps will not do the trick.
If your serious you must start with dozens of traps. One will not do.
Then there are the poisons, or rodenticides used in the procedure.
Most of the poisons available are blood thinners: the mice eat it and essentially bleed to death internally.
For those who would prefer to "catch and release," just remember, unless you live on a farm in the country and can take them far, far away, the first thing those mice you release are going to do is look for a quarter-inch hole in a nice, warm house. It might even be yours which will bring you back to square one.