How can you identify an Australian cockroach? There are quite a number of cockroach’s species in the world. Out of these, there are four main species that invade your homes every day. Some species are known to be a trouble in certain regions, existing as common pest in that region but not the whole world. A case in example is the Australian cockroach; they are commonly found in the coastal states in south east America.
If you’ve encountered Australian cockroach, you would expect that they are bigger and scarier than most cockroach species. Unlike other species, Australian cockroach is more colorful than other species and is found outdoor.
Australian cockroach are tropical roaches known for their wings and colorful appearance. As mentioned, they like to live outdoors but can move in your home though accidentally. They like to avoid populated areas often described as timid species. In homes, you are likely to find them in places like under kitchen cabinets, in spaces mostly avoiding human. Australian cockroach won’t bite or fly; they are very active though.
How can you control and get rid of Australian cockroach? Like any cockroach species that invade homes, to deal with them; seal off all entry points and set cockroach traps such as bait granules. Dust insecticides or powder can also be helpful to stop the entry of these pests especially in places that aren’t sealable. Always make sure to look for rotting wood, untidy lawns, or wood piles as such damp areas attract the roaches.
This article will make you understand how to identify the Australian cockroach, what it eats, habit and how to get rid of and keep it out of your home. Let’s begin.
Australian Cockroach| Facts & Information
The name Australian cockroach doesn’t mean that these kind species are only found or originate from the Australia; it is a misnomer, just like many other cockroach species. Australian cockroach can be found in many parts of the globe. They are most commonly found in Hawaii or Florida. This kind of cockroach species thrives near ocean where they can feed on tropical vegetation and enjoy the warm temperature.
Australian cockroach can also be found in the north. The roaches can easily hide in boxes or plants and be shipped or transported to the north. According to American Entomology, the roaches are likely to have been originated from Africa.
What Do Australian Cockroaches Look Like? – Pictures
What do Australian cockroaches look like? Just like the American cockroaches, Australian cockroaches have large bodies, reddish coloring and dark markings. No wonder they are referred to as cousins. It is somehow difficult from a glance to tell them apart.
Here are features to watch for that identify an Australian cockroach:
Adult Australian cockroaches
A fully grown Australian cockroach is about 1inch to 1.5 inches in length; making it one of the largest cockroach. Their color is usually brown but can vary from reddish to dark brown.
To clearly distinguish Australian cockroach from others, look at their wings. Australian cockroach has fully developed wings; the length of the wings tend to extend beyond their thorax. The wings are usually rounded at the bottom which is different from other roaches that have tapered wings.
Adult Australian cockroaches have a yellow band at the edges. This tend to extend downwards covering a third of the roach’s wing – See picture below
Unlike an adult Australian cockroach, the nymph looks strikingly different; which is rare for roach species. Nymphs are in most cases a younger version of the adult.
Australian cockroach nymphs lack wings, as they grow particularly in their later stages of development if you are keen you will see budding structures poking from their backs that tend to form wings later on when they finally become adult.
Compared to the adult that have deep red color, the nymphs have black coloration. You may think they are totally unrelated. The nymphs also tend to have light-yellow spots found in different patterns, this depend on their stage in the cycle of development.
In the first nymph cycle, you can notice two yellow spots at the bottom of nymph’s back. As the nymph develop, in the third instar, the spots will become dots of color on the sides of the back. As the nymph develops to a fully grown adult, in the fifth instar, the spots nearly cover the top of the nymph as the dots reach from both sides and up.
Just like other cockroach species, the eggs of an Australian cockroach is placed inside a sac known as an ootheca. The measurement of this sac may vary in size and color; for Australian cockroach the ootheca about 1 cm in length and the color is deep reddish-brown. The female tend to carry the egg sac attached near their abdomen. Soon after nearing the hatching period, the female will deposit the sec in a safe, dry and private location as is the case with other roach species.
Male Vs. Female Australian Cockroaches
It can be hard to tell the difference between a male and a female Australian cockroaches, just like it is for many roach species. If you have to find out the difference, you must look at the tip of its back.
A male Australian cockroach has two pairs of appendages that tend to extend from the tip. To name them, they include a pair of styli and a pair of cerci appendages.
The female Australian cockroach on the other hand, has only one pair of appendage; namely a pair of cerci. The female has also an abdominal plate extending from the tip that is located between the cerci.
How to Identify an Australian Cockroach
To identify an Australian cockroach easily, compare it with other cockroach species. This is how to do it:
American Cockroach Vs. Australian Cockroach
Both Australian cockroach and American cockroach are reddish-brown in color. But Australian cockroach has one golden band on each side while American cockroach has marking that are gradient of darker shade.
When it comes to shape, Australian cockroaches are rounded while American cockroaches are rounded but slightly pointed.
Australian cockroaches are mostly found outdoors. They rarely come inside but if they do it is likely an accident. They are timid and tend to avoid populated places. American cockroaches on the other hand can live both indoors and outdoors too. They can invade homes for shelter, food and warmth. You are likely to find them in places like the kitchen, bathrooms, near water pipelines, behind cupboards among other places.
German Cockroaches Vs. Australian Cockroaches
While a German cockroach is dark brown in color, an Australian cockroach is reddish brown. In terms of markings on their bodies, Australian cockroach as one golden band on each side while a German cockroach on the other hand has two parallel bands on the center.
Looking at the shape of an Australian cockroach, you will notice that it is rounded while on the other hand, a German cockroach the bottom of abdomen tapers downward.
German cockroaches just like the Australian cockroaches love outdoors too; they live near damp, moist areas.
Where Do Australian Cockroaches Come From?
It is so rare for Australian cockroach to invade homes, as mentioned earlier this type of cockroach species are found mostly outdoor. But sometimes they accidentally come inside homes. Where do they come from?
Here is the fact, before they come inside your home, Australian cockroach could be probably somewhere near your home, in your yard. They hide in trees, wood piles, rotting vegetation, marsh areas or fallen tree bark. Such places provide perfect conditions to thrive including high amount of moisture and food.
When they come in your homes, they tend to sneak in through gaps and openings in your house such as windows, doors, foundation, siding of your home. Just like other cockroach species they are attracted to the smell of food from your kitchen. They are also likely to live in your garage or bathroom.
Are Australian Cockroaches Dangerous?
Yes, Australian cockroaches are bad, could be more dangerous than other cockroach species. Although they are outdoor species, they pose threat to humans just like the rest. They can difficult to deal.
Here are the reasons you should be worried of Australian cockroach:
Cockroaches generally many transmit many kind of diseases and illness. They contaminate surfaces especially food risking to spread bacteria, pathogens, mold and fungi. You risk becoming sick if you eat food contaminated with roaches. You may also get salmonella, E.coli and microorganism that can lead to plague- according to Journal of Medical Entomology.
Roaches carry at least 25 different species of bacteria with some of them are known to live internally- Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology.
Other than carrying and spreading bacteria, cockroaches are known to produce allergens which can be a problematic to humans. Cockroach allergens are known to cause respiratory problems, causes rash, irritate the skin and harm your eyes.
If you are asthmatic especially in kids, the allergens can cause a severe reaction which can lead to anaphylactic shock. This can lead to symptoms of itchy rash, swollen throat and a low pressure. It could be life threatening.
Can Australian Cockroaches Fly?
Yes Australian cockroaches can fly. Initially, we mentioned that Australian cockroaches have wings. Both the male and female Australian cockroaches have fully developed wings on their backs. This is different from other cockroach species. Not all cockroaches can fly regardless whether they have appendages or not.
Still, Australian cockroaches are able to glide similar to flying, although different from actual flight. Australian cockroaches are known as some of the active fliers. They cannot only use their wings only in times of emergency, they can navigate on daily basis through gliding.
Australian cockroaches are known to be timid species; although they can fly, they cannot do it towards humans.
What Do Australian Cockroaches Eat?
When it comes to diet, Australian cockroaches are no different from other roaches; they are not picky on food. Just like other roaches, they are omnivorous and can eat both plant and animal protein.
Read Also: What Do Cockroaches Eat?
They feed on food like: rotting leaves, decaying trees, decaying fruits or vegetables, dead or spoiled meat. They are scavengers, they feed on dead or rotting food but still will eat anything available.
When Australian cockroaches are hungry and have nothing to eat, they can turn to soap, paper, hair, plastic, paint, etc. As long as these items have nutrients or energy, these species of roaches will eat to survive.
Do Australian Cockroaches Bite?
Australian cockroaches are one of the largest species, meaning that they are capab le of biting humans. They have strong mandibles able to bite through food and tear rotting meat. They also have a wide grip able to bite humans. But be sure they rarely bite humans.
Here are some of the reasons:
They are Timid Creatures
As mentioned earlier, Australian cockroaches are apprehensive species of cockroaches. They are more likely to run and hide at the first sign of threat or sight of human. Unlike the German and American cockroaches that will try their luck to get food, Australian roaches are extremely cautious.
Australian roaches don’t like populated places and will not risk to invade human residences especially of the amount of foot traffic. They are more likely to run away long before you can ever get hold of them. Having said that roaches, remember they are nocturnal; active when you are not.
Unless Circumstances Forces The Roaches
An Australian cockroach cannot bite but if need be, it has be the last resort. This can only happen when they have no choice at all. Such a case in example include when the roaches are starving, fleeing from other bugs or really pushed to the extreme.
If you dare pick up an Australian cockroach, to free itself, it will likely scramble with legs and flutter its wing. In this case, when pressed, the roach may bite using its mandibles.
Another obvious case where the roaches are likely to bite human is when they are overcrowded, they may bite the nails. With scarce food, competition sets in and they may be forced to bite human. But as said, this is usually the last resort.
How Long Do Australian Cockroaches Live?
If you compare to other cockroach species, Australian cockroach has a longer lifespan. They can live and thrive up to 2 years. The male happens to live longer; able to thrive up to 1 ½ years. Other cockroaches can only live for about 6 months at best.
This can be attributed to their impressive size and their slow growth time. They go through several molts, aging throughout numerous months. This helps to attain their large size.
The Lifecycle of Australian Cockroach
Just like other cockroach species, Australian begin their life as eggs, develop into nymphs and will develop and mature into adult roaches. The egg sac of an Australian cockroach usually has about 24 embryos; that emerge out as nymphs in 40 days.
The nymph of an Australian cockroach will undergo 5 stages before developing into a mature adult cockroach. Each stage is commonly referred to as a nymphal instar. After every instar, a nymph will undergo molting before beginning the next stage. This will whole period take from 6 months to a year. As the population of roaches’ increases in their colony, so does the nymph mature faster.
As soon as the reach their last, the now adult Australian will take about 24 days to create its first egg sac. A single female Australian cockroach can lay up to 20 to 30 oothecae in her entire lifespan.
A male Australian cockroach can live for about 8 months upon reaching adulthood while female on the other hand can live longer for about 1 year.
How To Get Rid Of Australian Cockroaches – Treatment Methods
Getting rid of Australian cockroaches is not different from other species. You have to apply a number or one of the effective treatment methods.
Here is how to get rid of Australian cockroaches:
Dust And Powders
Dust and powders are one of the effective ways to get rid of roaches. You can mix dust with bait like sugar or peanut butter to make it more effective. To kill roaches instantly with dust: sprinkle the powder at the corners of your kitchen, around your counter tops, near the refrigerator and along entry points such as the doors and windows.
Dust and powders are effective but may take a couple of days or weeks to completely get rid of an entire infestation of Australian cockroaches. The good news is that roaches will carry the poison back to their colony which will kill the nest.
Cockroach bait come in various forms including gels, liquids or solid. To effectively kill Australian cockroach, use the bait granules. Remember, the roaches are apprehensive and may avoid traps that may look sophisticated.
Place the granules in location where you highly suspect colonies are such as backyard, kitchen, garage or your crawl space.
Use contact sprays to get rid of Australian cockroaches. They are the common type of pesticides used to get rid of pests on contact. This one of the most the effective way to kill roaches since it kill roaches on contact once sprayed on directly. But the disadvantage is that, it can only kill one cockroach at time making it difficult to eliminate an entire infestation.
You can as well use residual sprays, which can continue to kill roaches long after you apply them. You can apply them once after a couple of weeks.
You can as well use glue-based traps and sticky cards to get kill Australian cockroaches. The goal here is to trap the roaches since these glue traps don’t have poison or pesticides but rather glue mounted on thick paper.
Sticky traps will help to catch Australian cockroach that are always afraid of foot traffic and populated areas. Place near where the cockroaches are most likely to forage and be sure to trap as many roaches as possible.
Keeping Your Outdoor Clean Regularly
As mentioned earlier, Australian cockroaches invade outdoors before they can actually think of coming inside. To get rid of the roaches inside, you have to deal with the source. Their nesting spots include piles of leaves or damp parts of the lawn. To keep them out of your home, keep your outdoor clean, tidy and neat. This include cutting the grass, remove rotting vegetation and other sources of food.
Australian cockroaches are attracted to wood. Keep your trees trimmed and always clean fallen branches to eliminate these roaches.
Seal Entry points
Close entry points for these pest to deny them access to your home. Make it an effort to check the outside of your house’s structure to examine if there are any holes or gaps that could allow the roaches to come inside. While at it, also pay attention to doors, windows, pipes and baseboard. Openings like vents and drains can easily roaches to invade your home.
Pay Attention to Water Damage
Check the damage water can do that could attract roaches. For instance, rotting wood is a result of water or moisture; this attracts Australian roaches. The damage of water can also be in places like your crawl space, kitchen flooring and bathroom that could cause wood to rot.
To get rid of these roaches, always check the wooden flooring, ceilings, areas near the gutters, wooden lawn furniture, wooden bathroom cabinets or baseboards.