Cockroaches are important household pests because they live in close association with humans.
They live in filthy and unhygienic areas and rely on humans to provide them warmth, moisture and most importantly food.
Cockroaches usually live in groups and mostly active at night.
In the daytime they hide in cracks and crevices in walls, secure places in bathrooms, cabinets, electric devices, drains and sewers, septic tanks and manholes.
At night they search for food in kitchens, food storage places, rubbish bins, drains and sewers.
However, they can also survive few weeks without food and water.
Adult cockroaches have flat body form to top to bottom with two pairs of wings folded flat over the back.
Most species rarely fly but they walk very fast.
Female cockroaches deposit their eggs in groups surrounded by a leathery, bean-shaped egg case or capsule called Ootheca.
Some species like the German cockroach carry the ootheca for several weeks attached to the back end of the body.
Most other species deposit their ootheca after one or two days.
Depending on the species, temperature and humidity, the eggs hatch after 1 to 3 months.
The young cockroaches or nymphs are wingless, and usually only a few millimetres long.
They are white on hatching but darken within few hours.
They grow in stages by repeatedly shedding their skin.
They are fully grown after several months.
Cockroaches eat a great variety of food, including all food consumed by human and pets.
They prefer starchy and sugary food stuffs like milk, cheese, meat, pastry, grain products, sugar and other food.
They also feed on cardboard, book binding, ceiling board containing starch.
Very importantly they feed on human faeces when they are living or hiding inside septic tanks.
Cockroach is cannibal as they also feed on other weak or dead cockroaches.
Cockroaches are highly migratory as they usually crawl from one place to another when foraging for food.
Mass migrations occur mainly resulting from overcrowding in a cockroach group.
The migrating cockroaches move into new areas by crawling or flying.
They are also commonly being carried back from poorly maintained food stores or markets through packaging material like boxes or bags.
Long-distance transportation of this pest can occur on aircrafts, ships or land vehicles.
Cockroaches gone through three stages in their life cycle.
A: Adult – Adult cockroach has two pair of wings folded flat over the back. Long antennae are used to detect food and moisture. Adults have a life span of about 1 year.
B: Egg – Eggs are protected in a hard case. Egg case is usually deposited in dark, warm of humid places. German Cockroaches normally carried their egg cases until eggs inside hatched. It takes about 6 to 7 weeks for the eggs to hatch.
C: Nymph – Nymphs emerging form eggs are initially soft and white but soon harden and turn brown. They have simple eyes but no wings. They feed on the same food as the adult. They will molt or shed their outer skin 8 times before turn into adults. The whole molting process will take 9 to 12 months.