Cockroaches are insects of the order Blattodea including termites being an ancient group dating about some 320 million years ago.
From 4.600 cockroach species about 30 of them are associated with human habitats; and 4 of those species are known as pests.
The German cockroach specie have the most elaborated social structure based on common shelter, social dependence, information transfer and kin recognition. The cockroaches appear in human culture since classical antiquity and being popular as dirty pests; although the great majority of the species are inoffensive. Studies have shown that roaches developed a collective decision -making when choosing food sources. Cockroaches appear to use two types of information in order to choose where to go, how dark it is the place and how many other roaches are there.
Cockroaches are spread all over the world living in a wide range of environments especially in tropics and subtropics. They can also live in extremely cold temperatures; such as the Artic being able to survive temperatures of −188 °F /−122 °C.
There are 4 species of cockroaches that are present in U.K. :
- The American cockroach (Periplaneta americana) that can fly short distances.
- The German cockroach (Blattella germanica) it is the most common found in U.K. which can also fly.
- The Brown banded cockroach (Supella longipalpa) the smallest cockroach and almost impossible to detect reaching 10-15mm.
- The Oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalist) they mainly prefer to stay outside.
The American roach has 154 olfactory receptors for smell and 544 gustatory receptors for taste; more then any other insect on the planet. Cockroaches feed on cheese, meat and sugar; but they also feed on cardboard, book bindings, human toenails, rotten meat, blood, excrement and even each other. The cockroaches can live nearly a week without their head.
To prevent cockroaches from a invasion you must keep a clean environment, store food in airtight containers, cover trash bins and keep your basement dry. It may also help to plug holes in your wall unused electrical outlets and especially drains since roaches can use plumbings to climb up from sewers into your bathroom sink.