What are large cockroaches and how could they be impacting your business?

Desiree Straubinger

If you work and live in certain areas of North America, you’ve likely seen them. Extraordinarily big cockroaches that sometimes fly, startle people, and sometimes provoke screams from people that see them.

There are a number of species that fit this description, and they all fall under a broad category referred to as “large cockroaches.” This category includes several cockroach species: American, Australian, Oriental, Smoky Brown, and Turkestan cockroaches.

These pests are largely outdoor pests, but they can find their way inside in a number of ways. They can fly or walk in through open doors and windows or structural gaps – gaps under doors are often to blame. They can also hitch a ride in on people and their belongings, supplies, and equipment.

Because these pests like warm, humid environments, problems in commercial facilities can occur in a wide variety of places, such as:

  • Utility rooms – boiler and electrical rooms
  • Janitorial closets
  • Bathrooms
  • In interior landscaping, particularly in mulched areas.
  • Drains that have dry p-traps and are putting off sewer-like odors

The bad news with these pests is pretty obvious: they’re big and they are scary to a lot of people. If you’ve got a high-traffic environment, your plan of attack needs to be somewhat defensive in nature to keep them out.

Proper identification of large cockroaches is important

Some of these species look very similar to one another, but the presence of a particular species may help your pest control provider zero in on the problem area. Different species may also require different control measures.

For these reasons, proper identification is critical to resolving a problem. If you spot one of these pests in your facility, try to capture it, but don’t smash it. This will aid your pest management provider in identification.

Large cockroach factors that can help solve problems

These pests are the cockroachiest of cockroaches – they are EATERS – so they will travel long ways to get to the food they want. They don’t much care if that means they are traveling across your office floor or public space to get there.

The fact that these pests are voracious eaters can help in control efforts, however. Because they will eat what is readily available, your pest management provider can often resolve issues quickly with the use of the proper products.

The life cycle of this pest is also advantageous for control methods. They can take as long as two years to develop and grow. This makes it easy to target young nymphs and quickly stamp out any infestation before it becomes a problem.

Develop a 5-step plan to proactively get rid of large cockroach problems

The best actions you can take are ones that limit the ability of these cockroaches to get inside your facility, including:

  • A thorough structural review
  • Careful exterior and interior plant selection
  • Complete facility access for pest control treatments
  • Exterior lighting considerations
  • Regular drain service
  1. Start with a thorough structural review – your pest control partner can help you with this. Seal gaps and cracks wherever you find them. Install door sweeps on exterior doors to prevent cockroaches from literally walking into your facility.
  2. Selecting exterior and interior plants that are less attractive to these pests can also be helpful. Your landscapers can provide recommendations. Also, alert your pest management provider when large interior plant or vegetation installments are happening so they are prepared. Large cockroaches can arrive inside potted plants from greenhouses.
  3. It’s very important to provide your pest management company with access to all areas of your facility. Areas such as boiler rooms and utility rooms are locked for security purposes – but since this is where these pests like to hang out, it’s important that your pest control provider be able to access and inspect them.
  4. Exterior lighting can make a big difference in pest activity. Lights installed over doors can draw insect pests close to your facility and present them with an increased opportunity to make their way inside. Sodium vapor lights are 112 times less attractive to insects than mercury vapor. Some LED Lights can actually attract pests. If the LED light emission is towards the higher end of the visible spectrum (>550 nm) this may be out of the range of vision for most insects. However if the LED light 500 nm or lower, you can assume that it is visible by insects. One must know the specific spectra or spectrum of light emission(s) pursuant to the specific LED which would be available from the manufacturer.
  5. Finally, be sure that your maintenance staff is inspecting and servicing floor drain p-traps regularly. If they never go dry, the chances of these drains serving as an attractant for large cockroaches is greatly diminished.

Large cockroaches might be big, but you can prevent them from being a big problem for your business. Contact us to speak with your Rentokil Steritech representative to find out how we can design a customized program for your facility today.

Desiree Straubinger
Desiree Straubinger

A nearly twenty-year veteran of the commercial pest control industry, Desiree Straubinger is the Southeast Market Technical Director for Rentokil Steritech, providing technical support and expertise for 50 districts under the Rentokil Steritech and Ehrlich brands. Desiree has a Bachelor of Science in Entomology from Purdue University and is a Board Certified Entomologist.

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