A Guide to Oregon Cockroaches

The Pacific Northwest is home to stunning landscapes and vibrant cities, but we’re not immune to the presence of cockroaches. Cockroaches rank highest among the pests that people never desire to have in their homes for many reasons. They’re fast-moving and hard to get rid of. They breed quickly and can trigger allergic reactions. Whatever the reason, no one wants them in their home. Let’s explore the most common type of cockroaches found in communities throughout the Portland and Vancouver area and answer common questions about these household pests. 

Types Of Cockroaches In The Pacific Northwest

Did you know that over 4,500 species of cockroaches exist in the world? Before you get too creeped out, remember that only 30 of these are considered pests. Here in the Pacific Northwest communities we serve, the team at Interstate Pest Management gets the most calls about the German cockroach

German Cockroaches 

The most common type of cockroach in the Pacific Northwest is the German cockroach. They can be found in apartments, homes, hospitals, restaurants, or other buildings where food is prepared, served, or stored. German cockroaches measure ½ – ⅝ inches in length, pale brown in color, with two dark-brown stripes behind the head. They can live up to 12 months, and produce more eggs than other roach species. While German cockroaches have wings, they rarely fly and prefer to run. 

Other Types of Cockroaches 

Cockroaches are found throughout Oregon. German cockroaches are most prevalent and are found in urban settings. The following types of cockroaches usually make their homes in the wild:

  • American cockroaches, also known as water bugs. They’re the largest common cockroach, and they usually stay outside unless the climate changes and food runs low. 
  • Oriental cockroaches are often called “black beetles” because of their dark black appearance. They are filthy and will eat practically anything they can find, from the finest food to the disgusting slime that builds up in drains.

You can always check out our pest library to learn more about the different types of cockroaches found in Portland and the surrounding area. 

Five Common Questions About Cockroaches

Cockroaches are the subject of numerous questions and concerns from Portland-area business owners, homeowners, and entomology enthusiasts alike.

1. Where do cockroaches hide? 

Cockroaches are nocturnal pests, and they like to hide in narrow cracks and crevices and prefer dark, moist places. Their favorite places are behind refrigerators, under sinks, and dark drawers or cabinets.

2. What attracts cockroaches? 

Cockroaches are attracted to food, shelter, and water. This is why they are found near humans – we have all three!  Indoors, cockroaches are fond of starchy materials, such as cereals, sweetened or sugary substances, and meat products. A few of the substances upon which they feed include cheese, beer, leather, hair, wallpaper, artwork, paper documents, postage stamps, draperies, paper currency, plus dead or rotting organic matter. This means the best way to eliminate a roach problem is to eliminate their access to food. German cockroaches require more water to survive, so remember to remove standing water in your home including plants and pet bowls. Also, keep your home clean and clutter-free. 

3. Are cockroaches allergenic? 

Cockroaches are a common trigger of year-round allergy and asthma in adults and children. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, cockroaches have a protein that is an allergen for many people. This means that their body parts, saliva, and waste can cause an allergic immune reaction like an asthma attack. This is even true for dead cockroaches. 

4. Can cockroaches carry and spread disease? 

Cockroaches don’t usually bite people but they travel through dirty areas like sewers and drains. So they will contaminate food and any other surfaces they come in contact with. Cockroaches are not directly linked to disease outbreaks at this time. Still, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they have been known to carry salmonella typhimurium, Entamoeba histolytica (parasites), and the poliomyelitis virus. 

5. Could cockroaches really survive a nuclear blast?

You may have heard the common myth that cockroaches would be the only creatures to survive a nuclear blast. While this was based on reports that roaches survived the aftermath of the 1945 Hiroshima bomb, there is no conclusive evidence that cockroaches could survive both a nuclear bomb and the radiation exposure that would follow. However, don’t forget that cockroaches are very resilient pests, plus they breed quickly, lay large numbers of eggs, and are harder to kill with chemicals than other common household pests.  

Blog post image - A Guide to Oregon Cockroaches - Cockroach in Macro Photography

How to Prevent a Cockroach Infestation 

Cockroaches are hard pests to manage. The following cockroach prevention tips can help you prevent an infestation in your Portland-area home:

  1. Keep your home clean. Remember, cockroaches are hungry pests who’ll eat anything from food scraps to paper and cardboard to glue.
  2. Seal entry points. Cockroaches have small, flat bodies and they can squeeze into tight cracks and crevices. Keep them out by installing door sweeps, repairing cracks in your floor and foundation, and sealing areas where utilities enter. 
  3. Eliminate moisture. Cockroaches like to hide out in drains. Repair leaky faucets and pipes. 
  4. Partner with a local pest control company. Not only are we well-versed in the behaviors and habits of cockroaches, but we also possess the expertise to effectively resolve even the most severe cockroach infestations.

Signs of a Cockroach Infestation

What makes a cockroach infestation tough to identify is that these pests only come out during the night and hide extremely well during the day. For Vancouver area homeowners, this means you may be completely unaware that you have cockroaches living with you. Keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • Cockroach droppings that look similar to coffee grounds or ground black pepper
  • An unpleasant, musty odor
  • Seeing a cockroach during the day

Why Call A Professional Cockroach Exterminator?

It’s important to know when to call a cockroach exterminator. There are do-it-yourself (DIY) roach control kits and home remedies you can try, but because cockroaches reproduce so quickly, it’s not recommended. This is especially true for the German cockroach. Products like roach bombs can be toxic and highly dangerous for humans and pets alike if administered incorrectly. A pest control professional can identify the species and administer proper treatment. 

Professional Cockroach Removal In Portland, Vancouver, Olympia, And Kelso

Cockroaches are one of the most dreaded household pests. If you see just a couple, remember, there are likely dozens or even hundreds more hiding. So don’t hesitate and contact a cockroach exterminator today. A local professional pest control company will help you with any cockroach infestation. 

Interstate Pest Management is the company to call for quality cockroach treatment and prevention techniques. We’re headquartered in Kelso, WA, and we provide safe, effective, and eco-friendly pest control to homeowners and businesses in Kelso and Longview, Olympia, Portland, and Vancouver. Get in touch with us here or call us at (503)-832-4997.