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.

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