Cockroaches

There are over 4000 species of cockroach worldwide but only 3 are commonly found in the UK. They are vectors of many diseases including Campylobacter (food poisoning), E-Coli (Intestinal and urinary tract infection), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (lesions and urinary tract infection), Salmonella (Enteric Fever, gastroenteritis and Typhoid fever), Shigella (Dysentery), Staphylococcus spp (boils, abscesses) and leprosy.

Develop by incomplete metamorphosis, shedding skins as they grow. Cockroaches are omnivorous eating almost any organic matter including human waste and even paper.

The German Cockroach [Blatella germanica] prefers a warm humid environment and is often attracted to the motor housings of machines, fridges etc. It is a superb climber, able to climb glass easily and is often found at high levels as a result.

Adults are 12-15mm long with prominent antennae. Females lay their eggs in an ootheca (egg case) which they normally carry until just prior to hatching. Each ootheca contains 30-40 eggs. Approx 4-8 oothecae are produced in a females lifetime. Eggs hatch in circa 17 days at 30 Celsius.

The Oriental Cockroach [Blatta orientalis] is widely distributed in the UK and can tolerate lower temperatures than the German Cockroach, sometimes even being found living in drains outside. Nevertheless it prefers heated buildings often in wall cavities, cable trunking and crevices to floors and walls. The insect rapidly loses the ability to climb as they grow.

Adults are 17-30mm long with prominent antennae. Females lay their eggs in an ootheca (egg case) which they deposit in crevices and cover over with any available material. Each ootheca contains approx 16 eggs. Approx 5-10 oothecae are produced in a females lifetime. Eggs hatch in 45-80 days at 20 Celsius.

The American Cockroach [Periplaneta americana] is far less common in the UK, 25-40mm long with prominent redish-brown markings on the central thorax with paler markins to the edges.

Often brought into the UK on ships and found in warm animal housing such as in zoos and botanic gardens. Adults are 25-40mm long with prominent antennae.

Females lay their eggs in an ootheca (egg case) which they often carry for several weeks until eggs are fully developed just prior to hatching. Each ootheca contains approx 14-28 eggs. Approx 30 oothecae are produced in a females lifetime. Eggs hatch in 25-40 days at 30 Celsius.

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