There are over 3000 species of cockroach. 4 of these are most commonly found in the UK:
- German cockroaches – adults grow to 12-15mm in length and are identifiable by two dark stripes. They are most commonly found indoors
- Oriental Cockroach – adults are 20-30mm in length and are a uniform dark brown/ black in colour. They can be most commonly found in cool, damp areas
- American cockroaches – adults can grow up to 50mm long, are red/brown and are able to fly. They are found in areas that are dark, humid and undisturbed
- Brown banded cockroaches – adults are much smaller, approximately only 10mm in size. They are identifiable from their yellow/ brown stripes and can fly. Their preference are warm and humid environments
These cockroaches will eat any sort of food and emerge from their inaccessible harbourages to forage, contaminating food, utensils and food preparation surfaces as they go. They taint food with an obnoxious smell and may be carriers of various diseases.
A cockroach is distinguished by their very long whip like antennae, flat oval bodies and rapid, jerky gait. Cockroaches at all nymphal stages and adults feed on the same type of food, making the establishment of an infestation extremely easy.
The German cockroach carries its egg case, a small brown purse-like capsule, until 30 or more nymphs hatch from it. Both the Oriental and American cockroach deposits their long egg capsule on packaging, sacking or in suitable dark crevices before the 16 or 18 nymphs hatch out. The Brown banded cockroach carries an egg capsule for up to 3 days before attaching it to a surface until 10-16 young hatch.