Insect identification > Orthoptera > Cockroaches / roaches

Cockroaches / roaches

Cockroaches / roachesFamily Blattidae (the cockroaches; roaches). - These insects are known by a variety of common names such as cockroaches, roaches, water bugs and black beetles. The group is primarily one living in warm countries with many kinds living in houses, and many more, some of them several inches in length, occurring wild. In more northern climates only a few are wild and four are household pests, these last when adult ranging from less than an inch to nearly two inches in length. In the north the wild species are found under logs and stones and seldom enter houses. They are usually pale brown and the winged adults are an inch or slightly more in length.

Cockroaches are generally brown or dark colored, though some are green. They are broad and flattened, with the head bent under the body so that the mouth opens backward and the eyes look downward. The antenna; are long, slender and of many segments. Wings are usually developed in the adults and the hinder pair fold once. The mouth­parts are strong and the legs long and in most species bear many spines. Cockroaches are active at night, hiding in dark places such as cracks and crevices during daylight, and can run rapidly.

The household pests of this group consume foods and food materials freely; gnaw woolen goods, leather, and anything which has paste on it, and thus often injure book bindings; in fact they are practically omnivorous. Besides eating, they leave a disagreeable "roachy" odor which spoils food where they have been. When abundant they become very troublesome and vigorous measures must be taken for their control. They lay their eggs in packets, the number per packet varying with the species, and the outside case is horny in nature (Fig. 45). This case may be carried around partly projecting from the body of the parent for several days or even weeks. The young are active, feed freely and molt several times, but it is doubtful if there is more than one generation a year, at least in the Northern United States.

Other kinds of cockroaches are occasionally found in the Northern states, brought there in bunches of bananas or with other southern fruits, but they do not appear to be able to live long in the colder climates.