Roach Haven

August 10th, 2015

Roach Haven

The U.S. Census Bureau in the latest American Housing Survey found that Tampa and Miami are among the most roach infested metropolitan areas in the nation. It would seem that Florida is not only a human paradise. The warm weather and abundant moisture is Cockroach Eden.

“At some point you’re going to have them,” said Carol Brown, general manager for a local pest control service. “It keeps us in business.”

According to Philip Koehler, an entomology professor at the University of Florida, “We have a really good environment for cockroaches.” The climate also draws a hoard of other insects that provide a food source for roaches.

“There are a lot of things that they can feed on that they wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere in the country,” Koehler said.

Most roaches live outside. German cockroaches, who constitute large infestations favor the indoors. The American, Australian and Asian varieties of roach enter homes in search of food, water or shelter. They can live without the food, but they have to have the water,” Brown said.

Some people know the American cockroach as a palmetto bug. “Balderdash,” Koehler said. The term palmetto bug is just a euphemism, a chamber of commerce term to make bugs seem less scary.

“A palmetto bug is a cockroach,” he said.

Owners can pay for spraying or set traps around their home, wash surfaces with soapy water and keep pet food locked up, but roaches will always, eventually, get in.

The American Housing Survey occurs every other year and is sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It tracks changes in the housing market and illuminates the conditions, costs and challenges of American households. The Census Bureau counts roaches, in addition to mice and rats, primarily as a quality of life measure.


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