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4 Types of Cockroaches in the UK

Asian Cockroach

Although not as abundant as in some of the hotter countries in the world, cockroaches are still present in the UK. In fact, they can be found in virtually every country around the world and are even found in Antarctica. In the UK, there are believed to be around a dozen different types of cockroaches, with four of these considered to be pests.

Below, we look at these four types of cockroaches in the UK, and we also delve into details on what to do if you have cockroaches in your home while answering some of the most frequently asked questions about cockroaches.

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Types of Cockroaches in the UK

1. German Cockroach

German Cockroach
Photo Credit By: Brett Hondow, Pixabay
Latin Name: Blattella Germanica
Size: 1–1.5 centimetres

The German Cockroach is the most common cockroach in the UK and around the world. If you have cockroaches in your home, it is most likely this type. They can grow up to 1.5 centimetres in length and breed rapidly. They mature in approximately 60 days, which is quicker than most other species, and they live in warm environments where they also have access to food and water.

Their diet is extensive and, in homes, includes everything from the food you leave out even to clothing and bedding. They can be difficult to control because they are adept at identifying insecticides and will avoid them. They can even develop immunity to some pesticides.

Their droppings look like ground black pepper and will normally be found near their entry and exit points.

2. Oriental Cockroach

oriental cockroach
Photo Credit By: Furiarossa, Shutterstock
Latin Name: Blatta Orientalis
Size: 1.5–3 centimetres

The Oriental Cockroach looks like the cockroaches of films and TV: large, growing up to 3 centimeters in length, and with a black body.

Oriental Cockroaches prefer damp conditions and will often be found in bathrooms and kitchens, under the sink, and near drains or patches of dampness.

The Oriental Cockroach can survive for up to a month with no food but will die without water after 2 weeks. Like most types of cockroaches, the Oriental Cockroach can be detected by the somewhat musty odor that they give off.

3. American Cockroach

american cockroach
Image Credit: guentermanaus, Shutterstock
Latin Name: Periplaneta Americana
Size: 3–5 centimetres

The American Cockroach is the largest of the cockroach varieties found in the UK, growing to as long as 5 centimetres. Males and females have wings and are able to fly. Juvenile cockroaches do not have fully developed wings.

This variety can live up to 2 years and a female can have as many as 150 baby cockroaches each year. The species prefers warm climates and although it prefers fatty foods, it will turn to cannibalism to fend off starvation. Although skilled at escaping through small cracks and tiny holes, the American Cockroach will only attempt to hide if scared and prefers to live in open spaces, so the first sign that you have this type of cockroach is likely to be a sighting of the animal itself.

4. Brown Banded Cockroach

brown banded cockroach
Image Credit: Freedom my wing, Shutterstock
Latin Name: Supella Longipalpa
Size: 1–1.5 centimetres

The Brown-Banded Cockroach grows to approximately 1.5 centimetres long. Males and females have wings, but it is only the male’s wings that are well-developed enough for them to be able to fly.

The Brown-Banded Cockroach prefers warm climates with plenty of food, and the warmer the conditions, the longer the species will usually live. They will eat anything from crumbs to cardboard, and because they like starch, they can be found eating paper.

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Are Cockroaches Dangerous?

It is very rare for it to occur, and typically only when an infestation is huge and food incredibly scarce, but cockroaches can bite. However, it is not cockroach bites that pose the greatest hazards to humans.

Rather, cockroaches travel from locations like sewers to your food source, essentially trampling bacteria onto food and the surfaces where you prepare food. They also regurgitate food and leave droppings. They can spread food poisoning and other forms of illness in the homes they visit.

cockroaches on top of rotten food
Image Credit By: Phakamat BL, Shutterstock

Where Do Cockroaches Live?

In the UK, cockroaches are usually found living indoors. Depending on the exact species, they might prefer a warm or damp environment, but will often live near a potential food source.

Expect to find large infestations in areas like the back of the fridge or under cabinets. You might also see signs of them near cracks in the wall and holes in plaster.

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches

The most effective ways to get rid of cockroaches depends on the size of the infestation. If you only have a small number of roaches, you can install sticky traps and bait stations. You should also try to cut off their food source by ensuring that you tidy up, clean dishes every night, and do not leave crumbs on the work surfaces. Close bins and try to close any gaps, cracks, and holes from the outside and from sewers and water pipes.

If you have an especially large infestation, you will need to get a professional exterminator to come to the house. Cockroaches are notoriously difficult to get rid of once they have set up a home, and they can even develop an immunity to certain pesticides, which makes DIY extermination especially difficult.

dead cockroach on the floor killed with aerosol spray poison
Image Credit: RHJPhtotos, Shutterstock

Will Cockroaches Go Away on Their Own?

Cockroaches have an incredibly diverse diet, typically consuming anything from leftover food scraps to paper and even including bedding, carpet, and other items. As such, even leaving the house for a few months and emptying the cupboards and kitchen of reliable food sources may not be enough to get rid of an infestation.

Roaches will not go away on their own so you will need to take action to get rid of them and ideally before they multiply and the problem becomes unmanageable.

Does Killing a Cockroach Attract More of Them?

Cockroaches are built to survive, and one of the ways in which they do this is by eating the dead bodies of other cockroaches. As disgusting as it sounds, it is a highly efficient way of ensuring the survival of the species.

When a cockroach dies, it gives off the scent of oleic acid. Other roaches can detect this acid and identify its source as food. You can kill cockroaches, but you need to ensure that you remove the carcass as soon as possible to ensure that the dead cockroach does not attract more.

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Cockroaches are survivors, although it is a myth that they would be able to survive a nuclear blast. They can, however, survive up to 100 days without food and several weeks without water in some cases. They will also turn to cannibalism to ensure that they have food, can detect and avoid pesticides, and are notoriously difficult to kill.

If you have an infestation, you should get professional extermination help as soon as possible. A professional will be able to identify the type of cockroach, locate their source, and determine the most effective way to control them.

Featured Image Credit: S.Narongrit99, Shutterstock


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