The cockroaches most commonly found in and around Florida homes are the Florida woods roach, American, smoky brown , brown , Australian , German and Asian . The smallest cockroaches—the German, Asian and brown banded are close to the same size, and the adults are seldom more than 5/8 inch long (16mm). The larger cockroaches—American, Australian, brown, and the smoky brown—are 1–1/4 to 2 inches (31–51 mm) long and are often called palmetto bugs. Though they are generally found outdoors, they can become indoor problems when they migrate or are carried indoors. The largest cockroach, the Florida woods roach, will also enter dwellings from outside. Outdoor cockroaches do not survive well indoors, Often, removal of these outdoor cockroaches from the house is all that is needed for control.
Cockroaches go through three stages of development: embryo, nymph, and adult. Cockroach eggs are laid in clusters in an ootheca, a leathery case or capsule. The female normally drops or glues the capsule to a surface shortly after it is shaped. However, before the eggs are able to hatch, the female German cockroach holds the capsule protruding from her body. In the cauldron, there may be anywhere from 30 to 48 shells.
Cockroaches spend the day hiding in dim, sheltered places before emerging to feed at night. They can be found inside around the kitchen sink or drain board, in cracks around or underneath cupboards and cabinets or inside them (especially in the upper corners), behind drawers, around pipes or conduits (where they move along or through the wall), behind window or door frames, and behind loose baseboards.
Cockroach control requires both prevention and sanitation to be effective. Cockroach skins and feces that cause cockroach allergies can be removed by vacuuming. Cockroach feces often contain an oder (aggregation pheromone) that attracts cockroaches to a certain location. Scrubbing cockroach feces with hot, soapy water will reduce the amount of aggregation pheromone that is available to attract cockroaches.
Homeowners may undertake their own IPM plan for cockroach control with good success, or they may elect to contract the services of a professional pest control operator. Professionals have the equipment and training to do a thorough job and have access to products not available to homeowners. It is important that the homeowner maintains sanitary living conditions after the treatment is performed.
Occupants should make sure food particles are not left in the sink. Dishes and utensils should be rinsed and immediately loaded into the dishwasher after use. The garbage disposal and dishwasher should be run frequently. All kitchen appliances, cabinets, counters, and floors should be maintained in a clean condition, free of food and grease. Indoor trash should be removed frequently, and all food should be sealed in containers, including pet food.