Cockroaches are flat beetle like pest insects that are often associated with human habitation. The pest species are well adapted to live in and around homes and other buildings.
There are four main species of cockroach in New Zealand.
German Cockroaches, thought to have originated in North East Africa, are by far the most widely distributed disease spreading cockroaches worldwide. These are among the smaller species of cockroach. They are brown in colour with two dark stripes running down the length of the thorax (body segment near the head). German cockroaches are fast breeders having 3-4 generations per year and time from egg to adult in summer is as little as 40 days. German cockroaches are often found in kitchens and sculleries; in areas that are warm and moist such as behind ovens, fridges, freezers and under sinks. If German cockroaches are found in other areas of a house it usually indicates a large population.
American Cockroaches are up to 4 cm long and has a yellow band around the thorax. American cockroaches mature much more slowly than German roaches taking 6-12 months, however a female may lay as many as 50 egg cases containing as many as 25 eggs each so nymph numbers can rise rapidly in certain conditions. In warm climates of the North Island Americans can live outdoors as well as indoors. They will live in drier conditions of wall cavities and sub-floors but are often found around sewers and drains. If they move from sewers to food or food preparation areas they can spread disease organisms.
Gisborne Cockroaches are also commonly associated with people and can be distinguished from the German roach by its distinct pale stripes down either side. The Native Bush cockroach is also often mistaken for the Gisborne, however its stripes are less distinct and it is much smaller than an adult Gisborne Cockroach.
Native Bush Cockroaches are small (up to 15 mm) cockroaches that live in leaf litter and dark damp places in the bush and gardens. They are not usually regarded as pests but will wander indoors on occasion.
To get rid of cockroaches follow these steps:
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