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The Brown Banded Cockroach is among the smaller of the most common species of cockroaches found in Toronto, Ontario.
Adult Brown Banded Cockroaches measures about 10 to 14 mm long. These cockroaches have two light-colored bands across the wings and abdomen. While these bands may sometimes appear to be broken or irregular but are always quite noticeable. These bands could be obscured by the wings in parts. The wings of a male Brown Banded Cockroach cover it’s abdomen completely whereas the female Brown Banded Cockroach’s wings do not. The male Brown Banded Cockroach looks slenderer than the female i.e., the female looks more wide.

The brown-banded cockroach has a fairly wide distribution, being found in the northeastern US and southern Ontario.

Since Brown Banded Cockroaches prefer warm and dry environment, and they need less moisture than the German cockroach, they usually spread beyond kitchen and washrooms and into living rooms and bedrooms. Also, They can often be found in homes and apartments, but are less common in restaurants. They tend not to be found in the daytime, since they avoid light.

The brown-banded cockroach eats a wide variety of items. Cockroaches are usually scavengers, and thus can eat a wide array of items, often almost anything organic, including decaying matter. It has been known to cause problems in hospitals by emerging at night to feed on bodily fluids, thereby risking cross-infection.
Brown Banded cockroach babies, called nymphs, look like adults except they are smaller, have no wings and are darker in color.

The Habits of Brown Banded Cockroach

The female cockroach carries the egg case for about 30 hours before she would cement it to a suitable surface with sufficient protection and temperature range. During her lifetime she would have produced 14 such egg cases. Each egg case contains about 13 eggs. The lifespan of a female is 13 to 45 weeks during which there is a potential of 600 babies.

The nymphs have habits as adults. They are mostly active at night and hide in cracks and crevices during the day. If you see Brown Banded cockroaches during the day, it usually indicates a high level of infestation. That is either the typical areas of their nesting are congested and/or the food sources are scarce, forcing Brown Banded Cockroaches to be active even during the day.

Brown Banded cockroaches usually hide in areas where there is ample food and moisture such as kitchens and other food areas but they can be found in other areas if they are stressed and as a result of a repellent insecticide somewhere else in the building or home. Brown Banded cockroaches are attracted to fermented foods and beverage residues. If water is present, adults can live about a month without food, but young nymphs will die of starvation within 10 days. Without food or water the adults will die in about 2 weeks.

Cockroaches can survive on very little carbohydrate food. But they must be able to maintain their body moisture. That’s why they live in tight spaces where the air hardly moves.

The Threats posed by Brown Banded Cockroach

Cockroaches are capable of carrying many dozens of bacteria, parasitic worms, and many other kinds of human pathogens. They can pick up germs on the spines of their legs and bodies as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage and then carry these into food or onto food surfaces. Germs that cockroaches eat from decaying matter or sewage are protected while in their bodies and may remain infective for several weeks longer than if they had been exposed to cleaning agents, rinse water, or just sunlight and air. Recent medical studies have shown that cockroach allergens cause lots of allergic reactions in inner city children. Severe cockroach infestation has been shown to cause asthma in children. These allergens build up in deposits of droppings, secretions, cast skins, and dead bodies of roaches.

Social Behavior:

Since Brown Banded Cockroaches are instinctively nocturnal, a daytime inspection of low scale may not result in affirmative assessment for lack of cockroach activity. Brown Banded Cockroaches in general produce odorous secretions from various points in their bodies. Such secretions can affect the flavors of various foods. When Brown Banded cockroach populations are high, these secretions may result in a characteristic odor in the general region of the infestation. Disease-producing organisms such as bacteria, protozoa, and viruses have been found in their bodies.

Cockroach Extermination via Bait Technique.
This video depicts a residential kitchen in Toronto.

A Brown Banded Cockroach.
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A Group of Brown Banded Cockroaches feasting on Bait, applied on the side of a refrigerator – Photographed in Mississauga – 2010.
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A Number of Brown Banded Cockroaches – to be noticed on the underside of a counter-top near the kitchen sink- Photographed in Mississauga – 2010.
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Interesting Information

Cockroaches have existed on our planet for over 300 million years as shown by the fossil evidence. Hence, they have earned the respect to be among the most capable of surviving groups of animals. Generally, Cockroaches are very good at adapting to the environment and have thus become an uninvited guest in many of our structures – from air planes to warehouses and homes to hospitals. There are more than 3500 species of Cockroaches on our planet but 4 among them are most troublesome pest in Ontario.