Overview

What cockroaches look like
Cockroaches belong to the same species as the praying mantis. While there are sixteen subspecies native to Quebec, only four are considered as harmful. In order of importance, they are the German cockroach, the Oriental cockroach, the American cockroach and the brown-banded cockroach. The typical cockroach has a flat oval body, ranges in colour from brown to black and measures between 10 to 45 mm, depending on the species. Its mobile head, which has two antennas, is hidden under the anterior part of its shield-shaped thorax. It usually has two pairs of wings attached to its thorax and three pairs of thorn-lined legs that enable it to run very quickly. Most cockroaches don’t fly well; they use their wings more like a parachute to glide or cushion their descent.

What they eat
Cockroaches are omnivorous. They prefer starchy, sugary, protein-rich and fatty foods, but they aren’t fussy; they’ll eat anything they can find: fruits, vegetables, meat, cereal, cookies, pet food, garbage, food scraps in dirty dishes, crumbs in toasters, leather, fabric, glue (on wallpaper, book bindings and stamps), soap, toothpaste, etc. In the pantry, non-hermetic containers are sources of food for them; they can make holes in cardboard boxes and break plastic bags. Cockroaches can live and be active for more than a month with no food.

Their lifecycle
Exterminating cockroaches is a challenge because the cockroach lifecycle is long, and the species reproduces year-round. In a wet place, every 20 to 28 days, females lay one to four bags of eggs that contain 35 to 50 nymphs each. Within 24 hours, the larvae hatch and seek food. It then takes two to 24 months and between 4 and 15 molts for them to reach maturity. After each molting, a cockroach’s body becomes soft and white. Gradually, the external skeleton hardens and takes on the species’ characteristic colour. The young insects look like adults but are wingless. As far as insects go, cockroaches are long-lived; the German cockroach, for instance, can live for more than 200 days.

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