May222015

"Pennsylvania Wood Roach"

Are you finding several cockroaches in your home…even though you've never had a cockroach problem before?  It may be a wood roach.

Wood cockroaches enter homes through cracks and crevices around doors or windows or are carried in on firewood during cold weather. They often end up in the bathroom or other rooms where there is a light on at night. Occasionally, you'll find that populations can build in crawl spaces under the house.

The Pennsylvania wood cockroach spends the winter in the nymphal stage, often under bark on firewood. When firewood is brought inside in the winter, the glossy, reddish-brown, wingless nymphs warm up and can become quite active.

Fortunately, this early summer invasion is fairly short-lived. Wood cockroaches are not adapted to indoor living. Wood roaches don’t breed indoors and they won’t live long in the drier indoor environment. Nor do they bite or smell, and they don’t do any damage to indoor furnishings.

The presence of wood cockroaches in a home rarely requires the use of pesticides. The best thing to do is to catch the wood roaches, if you can, and put them back outdoors (outdoor cockroaches really are beneficial). Seal any openings around windows and doors that they might be using to enter. And, keep your outside lights off for a week or two to keep from attracting the cockroaches.  

Since woods cockroaches do not establish themselves indoors and their presence is usually temporary (a few weeks) during the spring, chemical control measures are not always needed. If you are experiencing a larger or persistent infestation you may need to contact your local pest control company and ask for a perimeter treatment around your home.

Exclusion techniques that prevent wood roach entry should be considered.

  • Sealing any cracks, gaps or openings with caulking compound, putty or plastic wood.

  • Maintain tight fitting screens, doors and windows.

  • Store firewood piles far away from the house.

  • Try not to carry over large quantities of firewood from season to season in order to reduce potential breeding sites.

  • If practical, bring only enough firewood indoors for a day or two to prevent insects from later emerging in the house.

  • Avoid the use of unnecessary lights at night, since males fly to them during mating season. Females will crawl into areas around porch lights or yard lights, thus attracting numerous males.

  • Individual roaches found inside can be collected with a vacuum cleaner or a broom and dustpan and discarded.

  • Caulk all penetrations through ground level walls.

  • Stop water leaks, screen equipment overflow drains, and take overflow water away from buildings; keep drain traps full or capped.

  • Remove rotting leaves from window wells.

  • Move garbage cans out of preferred moist habitat.