With more than 29.1 million residents, Texas is the second-largest U.S state by both area and population. Similarly, this state has one of the largest roach populations in the entire United States. Yes, more than 30 different cockroach species live in Texas alone! Being home to a wide variety of cockroaches ranging from small-sized cockroaches to enormous flying cockroaches, Texas has gained a wide reputation as the ‘pest capital of the United States”.
Among the species of cockroaches in Texas, the most common types are – the German cockroach, American cockroach, smokybrown cockroach, brown-banded cockroach, and oriental cockroach. You’re more likely to find the German and brown-banded cockroaches spending most of their lives indoors, while the other species live mostly outside but may find their way into your homes in search of food and water.
Regardless of what species, cockroaches are unpleasant insects widely invading buildings and posing a threat to homes and businesses. Studies show they contaminate human food, spread disease pathogens, and are associated with allergic reactions in humans. It’s no surprise cockroaches are the world’s least favorite insects!
In this article, we’ll explore the different types of roaches present in Texas, and where you’ll likely find them. We’ll also discuss what these cockroaches eat and what their predators are. Finally, we’ll take a look at which seasons are roach seasons in Texas and how you can finally get rid of these nasty little bugs from your home!
Types of Roaches in Texas
Being a warm, humid climate with a large human population, Texas makes an ideal breeding ground for cockroaches to grow and multiply. However, the best way to tackle any serious cockroach infestation in your home is to first identify what type of cockroaches are the problem. Here’s an overview of the different types of cockroaches you’re most likely to see in Texas:
American cockroach (Periplaneta Americana)
The American cockroach is the largest species of common cockroach, reaching a body length of up to 1.6 inches and is about 0.28 inches (7mm) tall. Reddish-brown in color, it is often misidentified as a palmetto bug. The American cockroach generally lives in moist areas and places with high temperatures such as sewer systems, basements, and food preparation areas.
German cockroach (Blattella germanica)
The German cockroach is by far the most common type of cockroach you will encounter across Texas. With a small body size (around a half-inch long), it is an aggressive cockroach species known to survive only near human dwellings. You’ll likely find German cockroaches in apartment buildings, restaurants, hotels, hospitals – basically everywhere there is easy access to food and water! These cockroaches contaminate human food and spread dangerous diseases. Plus, they are troublesome pests that are incredibly hard to get rid of. So you don’t want them anywhere around your home.
Smokybrown cockroach (Periplaneta fuliginosa)
Easily identified by its dark brown to mahogany color, the smokybrown cockroach is an outdoor cockroach species commonly found in tropical climates like Texas. It is a strong flier, with wings that extend beyond its body. Because this insect is prone to dehydration, it prefers to live in warm areas with high humidity and in wooded areas – in tree holes, beneath mulch, leaf litters, and gutters.
Brown-banded cockroach (Supella longipalpa)
The smallest domestic species of cockroaches, the brown-banded cockroach, has two prominent brown bands which give it its name. It is mostly found indoors, especially in warmer parts of the building and in high areas (such as behind picture frames or ceilings). Like the German cockroach, brown-banded cockroaches are closely associated with humans since they spend their entire life indoors, so they have the potential to adversely affect human health.
Oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis)
The oriental cockroach is dark brown or black in color and has a glossy body appearance. Primarily an outdoor species in Texas, it has a very strong musty smell that signifies its presence in any area. Oriental cockroaches can be found in dark, damp places like basements, bathtubs, sewer pipes, sink drains, and any other form of moist areas in households. Outdoors, these roaches live in bushes, underneath piles of leaves, and under mulch – essentially near water sources.
What Do Cockroaches Eat?
Cockroaches are omnivorous scavengers, which means they eat both plants and animals, and they eat anything they can find. Although cockroaches eat a wide variety of human foods, they particularly prefer sweets, sugary foods, meats, starches, and greasy foods. Be aware that cockroaches are not picky eaters – they are also known to eat unusual items like books, wallpaper glue, leather, hair, toothpaste, soap, sewage and decaying matter, and even other cockroaches. As long as something is organic (i.e derived from something that was once a living organism), cockroaches will readily feast on it!
Roach Predators: What Eats Roaches in Texas?
Interestingly, cockroaches are not totally nuisances, they also contribute positively to the ecosystem. As food sources for certain predators, they play a key role in the food chain. Reptiles are common predators of cockroaches, especially lizards, geckos, chameleons, and iguanas. Amphibians, namely toads and frogs, also love to eat cockroaches. Because cockroaches thrive in dark and damp places, they frequently fall prey to these insect-eating amphibians that live in the same environments. A few small mammals, such as opossums, mice, and shrews are known to eat nearly anything and everything, including cockroaches.
Strangely enough, other insects also eat cockroaches. A notable example is the emerald cockroach wasp, which stings a cockroach and uses it as food for its larvae. Other insects such as praying mantis, centipedes, beetles, and certain species of spiders (like the huntsman spider) also prey on cockroaches. Humans eat cockroaches too! Yes, don’t be surprised. Although considered disgusting in many cultures, cockroaches are eaten as food by some people in countries such as Thailand and Mexico.
What is Cockroach Season in Texas?
Spring and summer are the best seasons for cockroaches throughout the world. Roaches in Texas are no exception. Although cockroaches are active all year long, there’s a high chance of experiencing serious cockroach-infestation problems in your home during the spring and summer months. With increasing humidity and warmer temperatures, most cockroaches emerge from their hiding places in search of food and for breeding.
Cockroaches are cold-blooded animals though, so they have difficulty dealing with cold weather. Therefore, their population declines as the weather cools down. However, don’t expect to experience roach relief in the winter. This is because, during the cold winter months, cockroaches are eager to find shelter in warm and humid places, which turn out to be the inside of your home! What does this mean? That every season is roach season in Texas.
How to Get Rid of Roaches in Texas?
Cockroaches are one of the most common household pests in Texas. With the state’s warm climates that offer ideal conditions for roach breeding, most Texas homeowners are no stranger to cockroach infestations all year long. Luckily, there are effective ways to get rid of these unwelcome guests in your home. One of these is to consider using cockroach control products such as boric acid powder, baking soda, diatomaceous earth, roach traps, bait stations, and insecticide sprays.
Additionally, it’s also important to seal up all possible entrances and move your garbage as far away from your living area as possible – to prevent the entry of new roaches. Cockroaches are attracted to food, so you have to keep your kitchen clean always. If you’re still unable to get rid of cockroaches on your own despite these methods, it’s best to contact a pest control professional.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Chumrit Tejasen/Shutterstock.com
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