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What Is A Cockroach?

A Brisbane cockroach lying on a leaf

A Brisbane cockroach lying on a leaf

A cockroach is an insect of the same order as termites, the Blattodea, and there are more than four and a half thousand species of the pest spread across the planet. Their tolerance for extreme conditions and habitats can be thanked for their presence anywhere you could care to look, including the Arctic, though cockroaches in tropical climates are generally physically larger than those in more temperate areas.

What Do They Look Like?

Cockroaches come in all shapes and sizes, making them hard to generally identify. If one had to make a generalisation, though, they are typically of a reddish-brown to dark brown colour, have a head that is smaller than their flat, broad body, and have two antennae stretching from their head. The body of the cockroach is split into two major pieces, a thrice-segmented thorax, and an abdomen of ten segments, and the thorax hides numerous wings that the cockroach uses for flight. Finally, the cockroach skitters along on three pairs of legs, each adorned with five claws.

When Are They A Threat?

While the cockroach is a threat all year, they typically become less active during the winter months, and can even enter a variation of a hibernation phase, depending on the species of roach. However, on a day-to-day basis, the cockroach is typically a nocturnal creature, and combining these factors together means you’re most likely to spot a roach running across your kitchen on a warm spring night.

A dead cockroach lying on its back

A dead cockroach lying on its back

How Do They Form New Nests?

Cockroaches are shockingly social creatures and will enact a number of community efforts while establishing a new nest in your home. For one, there is a certain element of collective decision-making present in cockroaches, and they will make sure that any food source they find is appropriately signalled to their peers and encourage the group to stay together while the food source lasts. Cockroaches in the wild live in a range of habitats, from leaf litter through to rotting wood stumps, and can even live near large water sources such as lakes. In the populated world, cockroaches tend to choose dark, moist areas, which makes kitchens and bathrooms popular choices. Eventually, through a variety of pheromone and odorous signals, one cockroach will signal to others that they should all band together, and a new nest will be formed.

What Risk Do They Pose?

As a pest, cockroaches present more of a threat to your health than your property. Beyond just the repulsive odour cockroaches can leave behind, they are also able to transport all sorts of germs and bacteria on their bodies, making them dangerous in otherwise sterile conditions, such as hospitals and kitchens. On a lower level, cockroaches are also able to trigger an allergic response in many individuals, so it is generally best to make sure that your home remains roach free as best as possible.

A dying Brisbane cockroach lying on a tiled floor

A dying Brisbane cockroach lying on a tiled floor

Is There Anywhere In Particular Where They’re A Bigger Threat?

Queensland is thought to be one of the places in Australia worst affected by cockroaches, and, depending on the criteria used, can even be considered where you are most likely to encounter the pest in our gorgeous country.
The three main species of cockroach found in Queensland are the German Cockroach, the American Cockroach, and the Australian Cockroach. Two of these cockroach number amongst the states ten introduced species of the pest, and they have quickly become some of the most pervasive. These pests are found anywhere you might encounter a household, whether that’s a small town or a major city, but the American Cockroach is most common in more industrial areas where sewerage and compost heaps are more common.

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