- Cockroach infestations reach their peak during the summer in Ohio.
- Warm and humid temperatures make summer an attractive season for most cockroach species.
- The rapid reproduction rate of cockroaches contributes to the high pest populations during this time of year.
There’s probably no other insect in the world that has managed to garner widespread disgust like the cockroach.
The mere thought of its dark brown body is enough to rile you up. Not to mention your first realization that some species could fly or their ability to carry disease-causing organisms such as salmonella and E. Coli.
Their egg fragments, cast skin, fecal waste, and saliva can cause many people allergic reactions or asthma triggers. Also, imagine diarrhea and food poisoning. It’s easy to see why there seems to be a countrywide agenda against cockroaches.
Have you ever wondered when is cockroach season in Ohio?
Let’s discover it together!
What Are Cockroaches?
Cockroaches are insects belonging to Blattodea, which contains all members of the group except termites.
Cockroaches are fascinating creatures that fall under the superorder Dictyoptera, which also includes termites and mantids. Interestingly, there was a time when mantids and termites were considered separate from cockroaches.
However, scientific understanding has evolved, and these three groups are now recognized as closely related. This realization highlights the interconnectedness of different insect species and contributes to our growing knowledge of their evolutionary history.
When is Cockroach Infestation Most Prevalent in Ohio?
Summertime is when cockroach infestations are most severe in Ohio. This is because warm, humid temperatures are attractive to most cockroach species. The pest populations are at their peak this time of the year because of how quickly they reproduce.
Reproduction and Habits
It’s not surprising that cockroaches have been known to exist since the Carboniferous period. A female cockroach can birth 300-400 offspring by laying up to 8 egg cases in a year. An egg case typically holds 16 to 50 eggs, depending on the species. Some species have much higher egg production rates. Yet, in other cases, a female roach only needs to be mated once to produce eggs for the rest of her life.
Cockroaches secrete an oily liquid that emits an unpleasant odor and discolors surfaces, books, and clothes. They typically spend the daytime hiding in crevices and other isolated, dark places. Then, they venture out at night to look for food. They are attracted to the smell of sugary and starchy foods. Discarded leftovers in the bin and crumbs in your sink? Cockroaches are about to eat well.
Their survival tactics are mind-blowing. For one, roaches have a top speed of three miles per hour. What’s more? Baby cockroaches can run almost as quickly as their parents, as little as one day old.
Roaches have a 40-minute breath-holding stamina and can endure up to thirty minutes of submersion underwater. Unlike many other animals, cockroaches don’t need their heads or mouths to breathe. Instead, they breathe through the tiny holes in their bodies. However, after about a week, they will inevitably die from dehydration because they need mouths to consume water. They could go one month without meals if they didn’t require water to stay alive.
These creepy creatures are difficult to exterminate once they infest your space.
Cockroaches don’t have centrally located colonies or nests like ants, termites, and bees. Nonetheless, cockroaches gather in specific locations due to accumulating scents in their feces. You can find their pepper specks-like excrement in places where there are or have been activities. Although bed bugs and roaches have similar spots, you can tell them apart by location and other infestation-related symptoms.
Hygienic spaces are prone to roach infestation, though they typically flourish in unclean environments. The two most prevalent cockroach species, the German and brown-banded roach, can enter the home through grocery bags, pet food, furniture, luggage, or cardboard boxes.
Cockroaches in Ohio
Ohio’s warm, humid summers and bitterly cold winters make it a haven for a wide variety of pests. According to the American Housing Survey conducted by the Census Bureau, two of the top 20 roach-infested cities are in the Buckeye State; Cincinnati and Cleveland.
5.4% of Cincinnati residents reported encountering roaches. Although there aren’t quite as many reports of roach sightings in Cincy as in cities like New Orleans and Miami, the city’s hot summers and steady humidity from the Ohio River are responsible for the continued survival of roaches in the state’s third-largest city.
There are over 4,500 different species of cockroaches in the world. The United States is home to over 70 of these species. 5 of the 70 species can be found in Ohio’s Northeast region.
Your first step to tackling the menace is identifying the roaches you’re up against. Here are the 5 cockroach species in Ohio.
1. American Cockroach
The American cockroach isn’t exactly American. It was probably introduced to the United States via ships from Africa and the Middle East in the early 16th century. It has since become the biggest house-infesting cockroach species in the country and is found worldwide. This species is often called the Palmetto Bug, Bombay Canary, or Waterbug.
They are known to be fast runners that typically rush and fit into a dark space, however tight. But they’re poor to averagely good fliers. They can’t withstand cold but prefer warm, dark, and moist surroundings. For this reason, they often hang around the steam tunnels, food stores, basements, and cooking areas of large commercial buildings such as food processing factories, hospitals, restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, and warehouses.
The length of an adult American cockroach ranges from 1.38 to 2.13 inches (34-53 mm). They have a reddish-brown color, six legs, and a yellow margin on the back of their heads. Both sexes have wings; while females’ wings do not extend past the tip of the abdomen, males’ do.
American cockroaches are typically found in dark, damp habitats like flower beds and under heaps of mulch in the Southern United States. They can also be spotted outside in yards and alleys throughout the summer. American cockroaches mainly inhabit sewers and drains in the northern United States.
They go indoors when the weather gets colder, or there’s food scarcity. They enter via the plumbing, sewage, or air duct systems. As a result, cracks and wall voids are common places to discover them, as well as attics, drains, basements, and utility rooms.
They are generally omnivorous scavengers, feeding on decomposing organic matter. However, they also consume fermented food, leather, uncovered pet food, glue, small insects, hair, and flakes of dried skin.
2. German Cockroach
The brownish monomorphic German cockroach is a year-round pest in Ohio, and one of the most pervasive urban pests said to have been introduced from Southeast Asia. In addition, they have been introduced to other continents, including Africa, Australia, and North America.
Adult males have a distinct light brown to tan color and two almost parallel dark stripes on their backs. The females have a much darker brown shade. This oval-shaped species exhibits sexual dimorphism. Females often have a bigger frame, a round posterior belly, and a tegmen that covers the entire abdomen. Males lack a tegmen and have a much more slender build.
German cockroaches have wings but rarely fly. They would rather run, though. The nymphs of German cockroaches come in dark brown to black with the same dark stripes on the black.
Despite their broad geographic range, German cockroaches can’t endure cold climates. Thus, you are more likely to find them around residences and commercial establishments where they enjoy warmth near food and moisture sources. In addition, they are found in remote areas in kitchens and bathrooms and breed near the motors of appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers.
They eat a range of things, including dead animals. Typically, they consume human food, particularly starches, sugars, seeds, grains, grease, and meat-related items. Toothpaste, glue, and soap have all been observed in German cockroach diets.
German cockroaches continually reproduce, with multiple generations existing simultaneously. However, the breeding rate decreases in the cold months. This is because they don’t have a cycle and breed all year long. Instead, they use internal fertilization, and females can reserve sperm for later release.
Their prolific breeding habit has led to one thing; population expansion.
3. Brown-banded Cockroach
The prominent brown bands that span the middle and lower parts of its abdomen gave the brown-banded roach its name. Although these stripes are visible across the adult’s wings, they are more obvious on the nymph’s body. This species is oval-shaped with two long antennae and six legs and is Ohio’s smallest.
About ½ inch is the maximum length for brown-banded cockroach adults. Female brown-banded cockroaches are unable to fly due to their immature wings, which are fully formed in males and extend beyond the tip of their pointed abdomens.
This roach is also known as the “furniture cockroach” because its color makes it easy to blend with home furniture, and its tendency to spread throughout the home, including spaces without food. Thus, they are less prevalent outdoors.
Brown-banded roaches prefer your closets, bedrooms, shelves, picture frames, and cabinets, unlike other species found in spaces with easy access to food and moisture. You may see their egg cases on the ceilings and upper walls, but the roaches are rarely seen during the day. When you combine their nocturnality and small size, brown-banded roach infestation is one big challenge.
These are domestic roaches that live entirely indoors. So, you can expect them to stay once they discover a steady food supply within your home.
Brown-banded roaches eat everything, including paper, drapes, wallpaper, glue, food scraps, and organic matter. As a result, several items in your house, including photos and furnishings, might be damaged by their feeding habits.
4. Oriental Cockroach
Also known as “black beetle cockroaches” for their shiny black bodies and water bugs due to their preference for moist environments, oriental cockroaches are big roaches found indoors and outdoors. It thrives in damp places and resides next to leaking drains, water pipes, sewers, and wet basements. They are often found outside, hidden beneath mulch, plants, leaf litter, and woodpiles.
20 to 29 °C (68 to 84 °F) is the ideal temperature range for oriental cockroaches. Thus, they usually infest houses in the summer despite their general preference for the outdoors.
They enter homes through gaps under doors, door thresholds, and beneath sliding glass doors. They can also enter a building through floor drains, utility pipes, and sewers. As a result, you’re more likely to spot an oriental cockroach on a building’s first floor than on the higher stories. Once inside, they seek refuge in crawl spaces and basements.
Oriental cockroaches range in color from jet black to dark reddish-brown. Despite being large-sized, adult males and females have different looks and cannot fly. Males are smaller, with wings covering ¾ of their body, and only reach a length of 25mm. As a result, their last abdominal parts are visible.
On the other hand, females grow up to 32mm long without wings. But they have sizable wing pads to protect the first few body parts.
5. Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach
The Pennsylvania wood cockroach is one of the few roach species native to Ontario. From southeastern Canada, this species has expanded and recorded a presence in eastern and central America.
It inhabits open and forested habitats with little ground cover. It’s often found on tree trunks, hollow trees, wood piles, tree stumps, and the lower branches of oak and elm trees.
Males have dark brown bodies with yellow margins on the thorax’s sides and the front part of the wings. Mature males have full wings that extend beyond their bodies, whereas females have wing pads that cover ⅓ to ⅔ of the abdomen.
These roaches are hitchhikers; they get into your home with the help of firewood. However, they can’t survive indoors for long. Compost, dead plants, or manure are their main food sources.
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