Cockroaches have been around for a whopping 400 million years. During that time, they have become perhaps the most popular of household pests. While roach infestations are a nasty nuisance, they also carry several disease pathogens that are linked to food-poisoning, staph, strep, E-coli and others. Roaches often occur in groups, and will eat anything that provides nutritional value. To prevent roaches from coming into your property, check incoming items for roaches and maintain a clean environment.
The American cockroach is also know as a "waterbug" or "palmettobug." Contrary to their name, they are not native to North America, instead arrived on trade ships from Africa. They are reddish brown and fully winged. They are found in residences, but more so in restaurants, grocery stores, processing plants and the like. They infest food storage and preparation areas, as well as the outdoors and city sewers.
The German cockroach is the most important and perhaps the most common type of roach. Found worldwide, these roaches transmit a variety of pathogens and cause allergic reaction. They are light brown to tan with two dark vertical stripes on their back. They prefer warm, humid environments and are found in kitchens, bathrooms and any area where food and drink is consumed.
The Oriental cockroach is ironically from North Africa, not the Oriental region. Also called a "black beetle" or "waterbug," these roaches are found worldwide. They are shiny black or reddish brown in color. The Oriental cockroach spends most of its time outdoors, under debris, rocks and leaves. They tend to enter buildings via doors, air ducts, utility pipes and drains. All kinds of food and decaying matter make up their diet.
As its name denotes, the Smokeybrown cockroach is brownish black to dark mahogany. They are native outside of the U.S., and are common in southern states. They are a medical nuisance because of the allergic effect they have on people with asthma, as well as allergens that cause rhinitis and skin irritation.