Cockroaches are insects which range in size from 10-23mm in length. They have long whip-like antennae and two pairs of wings. The two species most commonly found species are The Oriental Cockroach (Blatta orientalis) and The German Cockroach (Blattella germanica)
They can be distinguished by their size and colour; the Oriental cockroach being larger and darker brown in colour. The Oriental cockroach, unlike the German variety, is unable to climb smooth vertical surfaces.
Cockroaches can be found in premises where food is stored or handled. They are nocturnal insects and will spend most of the day hiding in cracks and around drains and service ducting. Infestations may be introduced into premises in laundry and food deliveries.
These days cockroaches are not only found in commercial kitchens etc. they are far more frequently popping up in houses in towns and cities.
Cockroaches carry food poisoning germs on their bodies and are responsible for the spread of dysentery and gastro-enteritis. They will feed on almost anything, including faecal matter and food for human consumption. Contamination will occur when the insect comes into contact with food or work surfaces or through faecal contamination of foodstuffs.
The female cockroach produces up to eight purse-like egg cases at monthly intervals. The egg cases are thick walled and are 6-12mm in length and may contain up to 30 eggs. The nymphs of the German cockroach emerge from their eggs in 2-4 weeks and those of the Oriental cockroach in 6-12 weeks. The nymphs are similar in appearance to the adult, but smaller. As the nymph develops and grows, it moults. This usually occurs 5-10 times during its development which may take up to two years to complete until the insect reaches maturity. The life cycle is complete in a further four months for Oriental cockroaches and nine months for the German cockroach.
You will need professional help in treating a cockroach infestation if you run a commercial food premises. You can assist by ensuring that your premises are clean and that there are no food sources and hiding places for cockroaches. Pest Control companies will treat your premises with an insecticidal spray around the boundary of the rooms, at the junction between walls and floor, behind equipment and in vents and ducting. The treated area should be left undisturbed for as long as possible. It will be necessary for them to re-treat your premises to kill any new nymphs as they emerge from their eggs.