Several cockroach pest species invade homes in Massachusetts frequently, and two species in the state inhabit the nooks and crannies of homes all year long. The most common cockroach pest in the northeastern states is well known to be the German cockroach, which can be recognized by its relatively small half inch body length and its tan to light brown body color. It is rare to spot just one single German cockroach, as these roaches group together in indoor areas like wall voids, cabinets beneath kitchen and bathroom sinks, behind kitchen appliances and in cracks and crevices in basements and ground level rooms. In most cases, German cockroaches inhabit moist, dark and well concealed areas of kitchens and bathrooms due to their need for moist living conditions.

The large American cockroach is another common pest in the region, and they can be recognized by their 2 inch body length and light to dark brown body color, and this species is similar to another common roach pest in the northeast, the Oriental cockroach. Both of these species are particularly prone to inhabit filthy areas, particularly sewers, which may explain why so many residents have reported roaches emerging from their indoor drains. It is well known that cockroaches are among the most difficult insect pest groups to eradicate from infested houses, and this is largely due to their resistance to a large number of insecticides, as well as their tendency to establish sizable infestations in obscure indoor areas. However, cockroach pests can also withstand surface insecticide treatments in some cases due to their unique legs.

Some residents may have noticed that spines protruce from cockroach legs, and some are more capable of traversing vertical surfaces than others. These spines snag insecticide residue from treated indoor surfaces, but the “tarsal pads” on the bottom of their feet pick up the greatest amount of the insecticide dust, powders and microcapsule particles. Tarsal pads allow roaches to adhere to vertical surfaces, but both Oriental and brown banded cockroaches have underdeveloped tarsal pads, and therefore, the pads snag very little insecticide, allowing these roaches to walk along treated surfaces, presumably while mocking the pest control professional trying to exterminate them.

Have you ever spotted a cockroach crawling on the ceiling?