by David Moore
Manager of Technical Services and Board Certified Entomologist
I had an interesting conversation with a German cockroach recently, trying to figure out what exactly they like. She was a bit apprehensive at first, but after a while she warmed up to me. Here are the transcripts of our conversation.
David: Thanks for taking time out of your day to meet with me.
Cockroach: No problem. I just moved into the building by hitching a ride in a paper bag. The location looks great for me and my babies in my Ootheca.
David: Ootheca? Oh, your egg case. How long before you are due?
Cockroach: I should be delivering between 30 to 40 nymphs in about 1 week. I was impregnated about 4 weeks ago. As any mom can relate, I will be happy to not have them still attached to me.
David: Wow, how long will your babies stick around your new home?
Cockroach: Well that depends. When they are first born, they pretty much just stay on me for the first hour. After that, they just hangout in our harborage, sorry home. After a little while they will start to explore a little bit, but only a few inches at first. As they get older they will explore further and further until they are adults.
David: How do they know where home is?
Cockroach: First, we choose places that are best for us. We like warm, humid places that are close to food and in tight places if possible. That is why we love kitchens and bathrooms. Also, we put out aggregation pheromones to say “this place is safe.” This is in our poop and tells everyone where to go to hang out. It’s like a group text for you humans.
David: Wow, poop. That’s interesting. Isn’t that bad though?
Cockroach: Only for you humans. Our poop, cast skins, and saliva can trigger asthma and allergies. We can also carry at least 33 kinds of bacteria, 6 parasitic worms and at least 7 other kinds of human pathogens. Don’t judge us too much. These bacteria and other stuff get on us from where we travel like sewers, the flies are a lot worse about that stuff than we are.
David: The flies are worse? I will have to speak to one of them in the future. If you are so bad for humans, what can we do to keep you out of our homes?
Cockroach: Because we only live with people and their stuff, we have to be brought into your home. Having good sanitation is the best way to keep us away since it takes away a lot of the things we look for in a home. Cleaning up spills and using caulk to seal up the cracks are things that we hate. This exposes us and we don’t do well in that type of environment.
David: So if people think they have you guys in their home, they should look for live or dead German cockroaches, cast skins, and poop. What does your poop look like?
Cockroach: It kind of looks like pepper stuck to different surfaces. If you see any cockroaches, don’t call your pest management professional. They know what to look for, where to find us, and have some stuff that can get rid of us quickly.
David: I will keep this in mind. Thanks for your time.