The pest no one wants to meet! There are various species of cockroach found in the UK, but the most common are the German and Oriental cockroach.

Cockroaches are quite large insects. They vary in size from 10mm-23mm in length with long antennae and two sets of wings.

Where do they live?

The German cockroach prefers warm, moist environments, particularly heating systems in large buildings. It can swim, fly, climb smooth surfaces and hide in inaccessible places.

The Oriental cockroach is found mainly indoors in heated buildings like hospitals, hotels, restaurants and blocks of flats. It is sometimes found outdoors around dustbins and rubbish tips. It is dark brown to black in colour, very shiny, and has long flexible antennae and a flattened body. It cannot fly or climb smooth surfaces but can move very rapidly.

Cockroaches are nocturnal by nature. They spend the day hiding in cracks around areas like sinks, drains, cookers and the backs of service ducts. If you suddenly turn the lights on at night you may see them. Where they are present in large numbers they may give out an unpleasant almond-like smell. A female cockroach can lay up to 30 eggs a month, which take a mere 2-4 weeks to emerge (slightly longer for Oriental cockroaches.)

What problems can they cause?

Germs can be spread from the body of a cockroach or from their droppings. They can carry dysentry, gastro-enteritis, typhoid and food poisoning, which occur when they come into contact with foodstuffs.