There are at least five types of cockroaches that are common in Michigan: American, German, Oriental, Brown-Banded, and Wood Cockroaches. Out of the five species, the German Cockroach is the one to worry about as it likes indoor locations. However, American and Oriental Cockroaches may also be found indoors in areas that are very humid.
Cockroaches contaminate food and eating utensils. They also destroy fabrics and papers leaving stains and odors behind. Beyond property damage, cockroaches can carry human pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli. For this reason, you should stay vigilant with prevention and removal efforts. Cockroaches need water and food to survive, so limiting their access to these resources can help. Washing dishes often, keeping food stored in sealed containers, and putting away pet food and water at night can help.
Common Cockroach Species
Appearance – They are reddish brown, with a yellowish figure 8 pattern on the back of their head. They are about 1 ½ to 2 inches long. Both males and females have wings, but don’t usually fly in Michigan.
Biology – The American cockroach is the largest and most common cockroach in the United States. They are usually found around garbage dumps and areas where there’s food and debris.
Prevention– Keeping things very clean and sanitary, along with vacuuming, sealing of cracks, and watching out for cockroaches while using a baiting program can usually quickly get rid of them.
Appearance – German cockroaches are light brown or tan and have two dark stripes by their head. They are one of the smallest of cockroaches in Michigan, and are about ½ inch in length.
Biology – The German cockroach is also common in urban areas, and can be found inside. They usually like moist and warm environments like kitchens and bathrooms. They like a lot of different foods.
Prevention- Keeping things very clean and sanitary, along with vacuuming, sealing of cracks, and watching out for cockroaches while using a baiting program can usually quickly get rid of them.
Appearance – They are dark brown or almost black and are shiny. They are about 1 inch to1 ¼ inches long. These Cockroaches have very small wings that barely cover their backs, so they cannot fly.
Biology – Oriental cockroaches live in areas with decaying organic matter (plants and animals) and places where it’s damp, cool and dark. Most of the time they are outdoors, beneath leaves, in mulch, and in garbage dumps. In very dry places they may move inside looking for moisture. Places where they might be inside include: floor drains, under sinks and washing machines, and in damp basements.
Prevention – Keeping things very clean and sanitary, along with vacuuming, sealing of cracks, and watching out for cockroaches while using a baiting program can usually quickly get rid of them.
Appearance – These cockroaches are also small, about ½ inch long. They have two noticeable lighter stripes across their back. The adult females are shorter and wider than the males and their wings do not cover their whole back. Males have full wings and fly when bothered.
Biology – Compared to the other cockroaches, brown-banded cockroaches like warm and dry areas, like behind/under refrigerators, on top of walls of cabinets, and inside pantries, closets, dressers, and furniture. They usually hide in any place away from water. The brown-banded cockroach feeds on the usual food sources like other cockroaches, but they are also known to chew on non-food materials like nylon, paper, skin flakes, etc.
Prevention – Keeping things very clean and sanitary, along with vacuuming, sealing of cracks, and watching out for cockroaches while using a baiting program can usually quickly get rid of them. Being sure what type of cockroaches you have is very important because treatments used to rid other types of cockroaches do not work for controlling brown-banded cockroaches.
Appearance – Wood cockroaches are chestnut brown with the area near the head and wings edged in white. The males are approximately 7/8 to 1 1/8 inches long, and females are 1/2 to ¾ inches in length. Adult males have full wings, and females have short wings so they can’t fly.
Biology – Wood cockroaches are the only cockroaches that come from Michigan. Young cockroaches and adults can be found outdoors under loose bark in woodpiles, stumps, and hollow trees. Once they’re indoors, they wander around the house without gathering in any particular room. During mating season, May through June, males travel in large groups and fly pretty far. They are attracted to lights at night and try to get indoors. Large groups can also be found in rain gutters of homes, under shingles and inside of garages. They don’t usually breed indoors.
Prevention-The wood cockroach is an outdoor species that doesn’t usually survive indoors. Seal exterior cracks and crevices with silicone caulk, make sure all windows have tight fitting screens and all outside vents and openings are screened with screening no larger than 1/8 inch wire hardware cloth. Changing incandescent bulbs to yellow bulbs around entrance doors may also help.
DIY Cockroach Removal Tips
1. Try Trapping – Use sticky traps to monitor the cockroaches’ lanes of traffic.
2. Keep Your Home Clean – Take care of garbage and other sanitation concerns quickly.
3. Try a HEPA Filter – Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter on known cockroach locations can remove some of the egg while removing the contagious debris from the air.
Because of the risk of serious illness, trusting the professionals is the best call for cockroach infestations. After all, you don’t want to kick up infectious cockroach debris into your home’s air. Because there are many insects that look like cockroaches, professional identification is very important.