June 2, 2006

Troublesome cockroaches


They crawl from cracks and creeks of dark areas in the silence of the nights in search of food. They carry with them a noxious, rusty odor that you can smell a few feet away.

Cockroaches are the most common and troublesome pest in many homes and buildings.

In St.Vincent and the Grenadines we have two (2) types of cockroaches, the American roach and the German roach as they are commonly called.{{more}}

The American roach can be found in homes, restaurants, food processing plants, bakeries, and other places where food can be found. This species has a liking for beer and sweets, especially sweets from drinks bottles and organic matter; at times they will eat your paper and pictures if food is not available.

Cockroaches are vectors of pathogenic organisms such as;

• Bacteria
• Virus
• Helminthes (worms)
• Protozoa
• Fungi

These organisms can affect both man and animals. Roaches feed on human faeces, dead animals and human food.

Cockroaches often vomit some of their digested food and sometimes defecate on human food while feeding.

Due to the increase in packaging materials and quick methods of transport, roaches hitch rides from area to area by means of land, sea or air transport in cartons and juice crates.

The American Cockroach is large, shining red to chocolate brown in colour. It can live for approximately one hundred days to one year depending on the temperature. If roaches are on their backs they can live for longer periods of time.

Table shows Life Cycle of Roach:

Species: German Roach, American Roach.
No. of eggs: 37-44, 16
Incubation Period: 2- 4 Weeks, 4-7 Weeks
Length of Life: 100 days, 1 Year.

The life cycle consists of three stages, eggs, nymph and adult.

Both species produces a casing called an Ootheca. This contains the eggs of the roaches which are often deposited in corners or places where they are hard to find.

If you want to get rid of these troublesome creatures, poison the adults and repeat the process four (4) to (7) seven weeks after to eradicate Nymph or babies.

Cockroaches enter buildings from out door habitats such as latrines, fowl pens, sewage plants, rubbish, garbage dumps, and drains.

The key to control is prevention, this includes;

• Prevent entry to buildings
• Prevent unsanitary conditions

Cockroaches may also gain entry into building via juicy crates, food packages, luggage, bags of onion or potatoes etc. Persons should conduct their own inspection to ensure that there are no roaches in their packages.

Food should be stored in tightly covered containers or in refrigerators. All areas are kept clean, free of all food particles and organic matters.

Garbage bins must be tightly covered and emptied on the scheduled day of collection.

In cases where the cockroach population is too high, it may be necessary to use chemicals. There are many chemicals on the market; when purchasing, choose one containing the chemical compound pyrethrins and permethrin of propetamphos. These have been proven to be effective for quick knock down and control.

It is wise to change the aerosol from time to time to avoid chemical resistance.

If you are not sure about the appropriate chemical for roaches, please call the Public Health Department at 456-1111 ext 521/456-1991.
Reynold Hewitt
Insect Vector Control Unit.