The American Cockroach is also known as the "Palmettobug" or "waterbug".
It is not native to North America and likely came from Africa.
American Cockroach - Biology
Adults are 1 3/8" - 2 1/8" long. They are reddish brown except for the
pronotal shield (upper back) which has a yellowish brown band along its edge. Both sexes are fully winged.
Ootheca (egg capsule) are dark reddish to blackish brown.
They are about 3/8" long and contain about 16 eggs.
The female will deposit about 9 - 10 ootheca in her lifetime. Developmental
time ( egg to adult) varies from 168 - 786+ days but averages 600 under normal conditions. Adult females
live about 400days in normal conditions.
American Cockroach - Habits
American Cockroaches maybe found in residences however theyare more commonly found in larger commercial
buildings such as food processing plants, hospitals, restaurants steam tunnels etc. During summer months they can be found
outdoors if it is warm enough.
They can enter structures via the sewer system, mass migrations from other structures or brought in with
deliveries of some items.
They prefer fermenting food but will anything of nutritive value.
American Cockroach - Control
The homeowner can try a variety of products available in the stores. When applying the products ensure
that you follow the label for instructions.
If DIY(Doing It Yourself) doesn't work a professional may be necessary.
The German Cockroach is the most common of cockroaches in North America.
It has been implicated in outbreaks of illnesses and allergic reactions in some people. This
species can be found world wide.
German Cockroach - Biology
Adults are 1/2" - 5/8" ( 13- 16mm) long. They are light brown to tan coloured and have 2 dark
parallel longitudinal stripes on their pronotal shield ( upper back).
The nymphs in the first two instars don't have such noticeable stripes but in the later instars
they do. The nymphs tend to be darker than the adults.
The Ootheca (egg capsule) is yellowish brown and appears to have ridges. it's about 1/4 - 3/8"
long. It looks a bit like a rice crispy in size and colour.
The ootheca contains 20 - 40 eggs.
A female will produce 4 - 8 ootheca in a lifetime.
Developmental time ( egg to adult) varies from 54 - 215 days averagin.g about 103 days. This is
dependent on the environmental temperature.
This means that that there will be an average of 3 - 4 generations per year.
Cockroach adults, nymphs and ootheca.
German Cockroach - Habits
Cockroaches can be found throughout a structure but they show a preference for warm humid places.
Infestations usually occur primarily in kitchens and bathrooms but may be found in other warm areas where people or pets
are eating . They prefer to spend most of their time hiding in cracks near the food source.
Cockroaches are commonly introduced to structures via cardboard boxes, grocery bags, second hand
They will feed on anything with nutritive value such as food, toothpaste, glue and soap.
German Cockroach - Control
Keeping a place clean and uncluttered is of the utmost help. Pay attention to what you bring
into your home so that no cockroach inadvertently gains access.
The homeowner can try store bought insecticides ( always follow label for instructions). Focus
on placing said products in cracks where they live.
If this does not work a professional is likely necessary.
Contrary to its name this cockroach is believed to be native to North America. It is found worldwide.
Oriental Cockroach - Biology
These Oriental Cockroaches are 1" - 1 1/4" long. They are usually shiny black but may be a dark
Nymphs vary from a shiny reddish brown to black depending on their stage of redevelopment.
The ootheca ( egg capsule) is reddish brown when deposited and will change to black as it matures. It is
about 3/8" ( 8-10 cm) long.
Over her lifetime she will produce an average of 8 ootheca each containing about 16 eggs.
Developmental time from egg to adult is 200to 600 days. Adults live up to 180 days.
Oriental Cockroach - Habits
In many areas, Oriental roaches survive quite well in the outdoors.
They usually enter buildings via unscreened vents, floor drains, ducts, under doors etc. Once indoors
they usually reside in basements, crawlspaces and usually no higher than the first floor.
They feed on all kinds of food and decaying organic matter but they prefer starchy foods.
Oriental Cockroach - Control
Focus on crawl spaces, floor drains and basements. One can purchase insecticides ( always follow label
instructions) in hardware stores and attempt to deal with the problem themselves. If unsuccessful a professional may be required.
The Bed Bug likely received its name from its association with people's sleeping beds where it
often seeks refuge during the day.
They then come out after dark and feed on the occupants. The Bed bug fees primarily on humans
but will also feed on poultry, other birds and mammals.
It is found throughout North America and the world.
Bed Bugs - Biology
Bed Bug adults are about 3/16" (4-5mm) long; broadly oval and flat. their colour is brown to
Female Bed Bugs lay 1 - 5 eggs per day in cracks or rough surfaces. The eggs are white and 1/32"
long. The average number of eggs laid per lifetime is 200 with 500 being the maximum.
Developmental time for Bedbugs ( egg to adult) is 21 to 120 days depending on temperatures.
Bedbugs live an average of just under a year.
Although Bed bugs are known to be infected with a variety of disease organisms, to date they have
not been found to transmit them to humans.
The different stages of a Bed Bugs development.
Bed Bugs - Habits
Bed bugs harbour in crack and crevices during the day and come out and feed on their host at night.
They are usually found in and around mattresses, boxsprings bed frames and linens. If a place has had an infestation for
a while then they can be found in areas further from the bed such as picture frames, book cabinets, window frames, behind
switch covers, door frames, couches etc.
They will crawl considerable distances to feed.
Bed bugs can be introduced into a structure through used furniture and/or someone bringing infested
materials into the home.
A primary clue that Bed bugs are present is sign of their feces. The feces shows up as small black
dots on a surface. It looks like someone used a black fine tipped magic marker and pricked the surface several times. If
one finds this then a more thorough search is in order.
Bed Bugs - Control
When attempting to clear the infestation oneself, a thorough cleaning of the beds and linens
are necessary. Vacuum crack and crevices and use a steam cleaner when Bed bugs are found on furniture and beds. One
can also apply store bought insecticides ( always read the label for instruction).
If one is unsuccessful in resolving the problem then a professional should be called. The
professional will use a multitude of methods to eliminate the infestation. Most can be cleared up within two
The Carpenter Ant is found throughout North America. They get their name from the habit of
hollowing out galleries in pieces of wood for nesting purposes. This habit can result in structural damage when done
Carpenter Ants - Biology
Worker ants are 1/8" - 1/2" long and queens are 1/2" - 5/8" long. Their colour is black but
depending on the region there are varieties of black/red to red or brown.
Carpenter ants don't sting but their bites can be quite painful due to formic acid being
Carpenter ants have a brood colony where the queen lies and often satellite colonies which
are used for foraging.
Carpenter ant colonies are of moderate size and usually contain over 3000 workers when fully
mature. This takes between 3 and 6 years. There is usually only one queen per colony.
Swarmers are not produced until the colony is over 2 years old. Swarmers appear from may until
August in Eastern North America and from February through June in the west.
Carpenter Ants - Habits
Most ants form their first nest in decayed wood and expand into sound wood as the colony grows.
Indoors nests are located in wood that has been damaged due to moisture, insulation and wall voids. Outside you will
find them in stumps, old firewood, dead trees, rotting fence posts etc.
Sometimes one can hear a carpenter ant nest by the rustling sound coming from wall voids or from
any affected wood. sometimes seeing swarmers will be the first indication of a colony.
Carpenter ants prefer to feed on insect honeydew, fruit juices and insects. Inside they will
feed on sweets, meats, eggs and grease.
Carpenter Ants - Control
First determine if the ants are foraging or nesting inside. Finding small amounts of sawdust
with insect parts or a rustling sound are indications of a colony. outside look to see if they are foraging around
the building. As they are nocturnal dusk till dawn is the best time to look. see if they are entering or leaving the
building at this time.
Due to the nature of this ant, getting help from a professional is recommended.
The house mouse is the most commonly encountered commensal rodent.
They are not only a nuisance, they damage and destroy materials by chewing them, contaminate
food through their urine and feces and they are also vectors for diseases. The most common being food poisoning.
House Mouse - Biology
These mice are 2.5 - 3.5" long, tail length is 2 3/4" to 4" long and weigh between 1/2 - 1 oz
(12-30g). Their fur is usually dusty grey on top and light coloured on the underside.
They are prolific breeders. They reach sexual maturity in 35 days. They can have 8 litters a
year with 5 - 8 young. This means that a female can have a litter every 40 to 50 days. Mice live an average of 1 year
but have been known to reach 6 years.
Mice produce an average of 50 droppings per day.
The most common organism spread by mice is Salmonella, a cause of food poisoning which is spread
by their feces.
House Mouse - Control
Preventing access to the building is the first consideration. Ensure that doors seal properly
and there are no access holes on the exterior of building.
Inside ensure that they don't have anything to eat. Remove clutter and deny them places to
One can purchase rodenticides in stores (always follow label instructions) and apply them in the
appropriate areas. One can also use snap traps and live traps and glue boards.
If one is unable to solve the problem then a professional should be considered.
The Norway Rat is found on all continents except Antarctica. It is thought to have originated in
With rare exceptions it is always found living alongside human making it a commensal rodent.
These rats like to burrow extensively. Their burrows serve as a place for shelter and food storage.
Rats - Damage
Regarding health issues the most likely pathogen transmitted by rats would be bacteria's that cause
Gnawing and burrowing causes the most damage by rats.
Gnawing is a form of survival and due to the rats incisors constantly growing they can chew through
lots of materials ranging from wood to concrete. Much of the damage they cause is when they go after wires. It is not known
why they do this but they have shut down the power to buildings and disrupted security and computer networks.
Their burrowing has caused structural damage to buildings, sewer/water systems as well as road
Rats - Biology
These rodents are on average 10" (25cm) long with the tail being about the same. the average weight is
If conditions are suitable the rat can breed year round and the female can produce up to 5 litters
per year. Each litter averages 7 but can be as high as 14.
Sexual maturity is reached in about 5 weeks. Lifespan averages a year but some can reach 3 years.
Rats live in large hierarchical groups and when food is in short supply the rats at the lower end of
the social order die first. If a large faction of rats are killed off the remaining rats will increase reproduction in order
to restore the numbers to their former level.
Rats - Control
Exclusion is the first thing to consider. Ensure that all potential access points on the exterior of
the building are sealed tight. This would include doors, pipes entering building, broken brickwork etc.
Inside the building eliminate places of harbourage and remove any source of food. Remove any clutter
as they may nest here or use the material.
One can attempt to fix the problem by purchasing rodenticides ( always follow label directions) and/or
using traps. Snap traps can work well however live traps have varied success.
If one is unable to eradicate the infestation a professional may be needed.