The German, American, Australian, Smoky Brown and Oriental cockroaches are considered pests because they live
indoors. Cockroaches have not yet been proven to be involved in the transmission of disease, but the potential
definitely exists. Most cockroach species live for 3 to 12 months and take only 6 weeks to reach adulthood.
Depending on the species each female can lay 13 to 50 egg cases, each containing between 16 to 40 eggs.
Cockroaches are an ancient group, having remained relatively unchanged for hundreds of millions of years. They
have a flattened body, long antennae and bristly legs. They have specialised sensors called 'cerci' (which are like
|rear-mounted antennae) that make them acutely aware of their surroundings. Any sign of danger sends them scuttling away. They also have the
ability to eat almost anything including all consumable food and other stuff such as toothpaste, paper, soap, glue, leather and excrement. This is a
great advantage when competing with other species for food. A few cockroach species have become associated with humans. The amount of
waste that we produce provides a great variety of food for them and their many offspring. Over the course of a year some female cockroaches can
produce over 20,000 young. Depending on species, they can be small or large in size.
Their sheer numbers and indiscriminate feeding habits mean they may spread disease-causing organisms, although there is very little evidence to
suggest this actually happens. They do, however, cause strong allergic reactions in some people. They like warm, dark and moist environments.
They will hide in cracks and creavices and are active by night.
- Worldwide there are around 4,000 species of cockroaches.
- Approximately 450 of these are found in Australia.
- In Australia, only five species are considered pests.
The five pest species have become scavenging experts and have a long association with humans. In fact, some scientists believe that as early
humans left Africa to colonise the world, cockroaches were probably not far behind.