Cockroaches: Unwanted home invaders

Cockroaches (left–right): American, Oriental, German and brownbanded (Photo by Jim Kalisch, UNL Dept. of Entomology).

Cockroaches are one of the most recognized and unwanted home invaders. They are oval shaped with long, thread-like antennae and running legs. Speaking of running? Why do cockroaches run when you turn on the lights? Here’s what Extension Educator Jody Green tells us: Cockroaches are thigmotatic, meaning they prefer to hide in tight places. They prefer darkness, hiding and breeding in cracks and crevices.

Cockroaches are omnivorous and feed on organic waste such as food scraps, starches, pet food and garbage. Cockroaches transfer bacteria that cause infections including salmonellosis and gastroenteritis. Their saliva, exoskeleton and feces are responsible for childhood allergies and can trigger asthma.

There are plenty of reasons to learn as much as you can about cockroaches! You can access the entire article which includes information about the most common cockroaches you may encounter and their management at

This article also appeared in the 2018 November/December issue of the free NEBLINE newsletter for much more from Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County. Visit

If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit (nationwide listing).

Have a great day!!


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