How to Recognize (and Survive) Roaches in Maryland

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Cockroaches are a common problem in Maryland and there are four species to watch for—American, Brown-banded, German, and Oriental. A roach problem can be avoided if you take action quickly, combining good maintenance and natural or chemical roach killers.
Spotting a cockroach in your home is never a good thing. Roaches prefer tight spaces and rarely come out during daylight hours. So if you see a roach going about its business in your home during the day, you likely have an infestation. 
The best thing you can do is identify the roach species and determine the right way to get rid of them, but learning the best way can be overwhelming. That’s why insurance super app Jerry is here. Jerry can do more than save you money on home insurance in Maryland—we’ll help you get rid of roaches in your home and protect you from future infestations. 

Maryland cockroaches 101: How to recognize a roach

There are over 70 species of cockroach in the United States, and only a few of them are considered pests. Those species are the ones that breed quickly, carry disease, and tend to grow to infestation status quickly. Here are the ones to watch out for in Maryland.

American cockroaches

The American cockroach is one of the larger, flying species of cockroach. Its reddish-brown color, size, and long legs and antennae make it one of the most easily recognizable species. American cockroaches grow to 1.5-2 inches in length.

Brown Banded cockroaches

Brown-banded cockroaches are light to dark brown, and grow to be 0.5-0.67 inches long. Males of the species fly. This type of roach loves warm places and tends to infest apartment buildings or other multi-family residences.

German cockroaches

German cockroaches are the most versatile and common species in Maryland. They are happy to make a nest anywhere there is food, shelter, and water available. These pests especially love kitchens and bathrooms.

Oriental cockroaches

Oriental cockroaches are darker, almost black in appearance, and they grow to about an inch long. These roaches reproduce less often than other species and tend to stick to areas with a lot of moisture. You can often find them around drains or areas with standing water.

A guide to cockroach identification

Remember that if you can identify the roach, you will have better luck finding the nest and ridding yourself of the problem. Here is a quick reference to help identify which cockroach you may be dealing with.
SpeciesLengthColorCan it fly?Where to findReproduction
German Cockroach.5-.67"Light brown with two vertical stripesrarelyAny place water, warmth, and food are found—most often in kitchens and bathrooms.Lays egg cases in moist areas like bathrooms and kitchens
American Cockroach1.5-2"Reddish-brownyesUsually found around garbage, sewers, trash receptacles. They prefer warm, humid areas.Lays egg cases near food sources and will sometimes glue them to a surface using saliva.
Brown-banded Cockroach5.-.67"Light to dark brownmales-yesLike warm places, can easily be transferred when moving to new residences, and infest places like apartment buildings.Glue their egg cases in warm places like the ceiling, TV sets, appliances, and furniture.
Oriental Cockroach1"Dark brown/blacknoPrefer moist areas, will move inside in cold weather, under rocks in damp areas, and basements.Eggs are slow to develop (300-800 days)
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It is important to note that some bugs may just look like roaches, and while you may not be thrilled to see them in your home, they are less likely to cause a problem. Here are a few roach imposters to be aware of:
  • Crickets are of similar size, shape, and color, but they jump and chirp, so it is usually easy to rule them out 
  • June bugs are smaller than most cockroaches, but they share coloring with the American cockroach and can be mistaken at a glance
  • Giant water bugs look very similar to roaches, although they tend to be wider and flatter. As the name suggests, they stick to bodies of water—so if you’re near a body of water, you’re probably looking at a water bug

How to get rid of roaches in Maryland

Five natural roach killers

If you are looking to get rid of roaches without exposing your home and family to harmful chemicals, here are some tried and true methods:
  • Boric acid/Borax: In small amounts, this natural insecticide is not harmful to humans, but it is lethal to roaches. Mix either Borax or its more potent cousin, Boric acid, with powdered sugar to get roaches to eat the compound which damages their nervous system and kills them 
  • Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a compound made up of ground-up shells. Sprinkling it in places where roaches walk will ensure that it clings to their bodies, damaging the exoskeleton and dehydrating them 
  • Baking soda mixed with sugar has also been found to kill roaches. Use it the same way you would borax, mixing it with sugar and sprinkling it where roaches have been seen. This compound won’t harm kids or pets, but it will create gas inside the roach, causing its stomach to explode 
  • Glue traps are another option. They lure roaches in with a sweet smell and then glue their feet in place preventing escape. These traps work well, as long as you replace them frequently

Chemical roach killers—and when to hire an exterminator

The question of when/whether to hire an exterminator is one of personal choice. It has been said that if you see one cockroach try handling it yourself—but if you see two cockroaches, call a professional
You can pay up to $400 per treatment for professional help—but that comes with peace of mind, and in most cases, a guarantee that your problem has been completely irradicated. 
 Here are some of the chemical options an exterminator will likely use:
  • Gel baits are poisons applied with a syringe to crevices and paths that cockroaches are likely to travel. Roaches eat the bait, and then head back to the nest and die. When this happens, other roaches eat their fallen brother and die from the same poison 
  • Indoxacarb is the chemical often found in gel baits and sprays. This chemical is extremely effective in killing roaches 
  • Fumigation tents or bug bombs are an option but don’t generally get great results. Roaches are awesome hiders, and can often find safe cover during a fumigation session. Also, well-hidden egg cases can hatch after fumigation, starting your problem all over again 

How to keep cockroaches from coming back

Cockroaches are looking for food, water, and shelter. Eliminating or restricting access to those things will discourage roaches from setting up residence. Here are some things you should do to keep roaches away:
Home maintenance. 
  • Make sure that any cracks, gaps, or holes in walls, windows, doors, ceilings, and floors are sealed as soon as you notice them 
  • Eliminate standing water, leaky pipes, or dripping faucets 
  • Keep your yard free of debris like trash, leaves, and grass clippings
Cleaning.
  • Clean up food spills and dirty dishes immediately 
  • Wipe down appliances, and clean behind them regularly
  • Use lemon oil in your cleaners when you mop or wipe things down. The smell deters cockroaches 
Food storage.
  • Secure all dry goods in sealed containers. This includes everything from rice and cereal to pet food. Roaches aren’t picky—if they can eat it, make sure it is stored in a sealed container 
  • Keep garbage in sealed containers (cans with lids) in the house, and try to store garbage bins at a distance from your house when possible 

How to save money on home and car insurance in Maryland

Unfortunately, your home insurance doesn’t cover the cost of extermination, because pest control is considered part of your regular home maintenance. But at least Jerry can check to make sure you are saving as much as possible on your home and auto policies so that you can reinvest those savings into keeping your home in top shape!
After providing you with a comprehensive cross-analysis of the best policies across providers, Jerry will handle the phone calls, paperwork, and renewals for your top pick so that you don’t have to. They even help cancel your old policy! 
Jerry was wonderful! I used it for my auto and renters policies. I trusted it so much that I signed up my homeowners insurance under Jerry as well. All of the agents are amazingly nice and knowledgeable.” —Mary Y.
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FAQs

Unfortunately, cockroaches are common all over the United States, and Maryland is no exception. There are five cockroach species that you are likely to see in Maryland, including the American, German, Oriental, Brown-banded, and Pennsylvania Wood species.
Roaches in Maryland live indoors and outdoors but tend to seek shelter inside when the weather gets colder. Roaches are looking for food, water, and shelter so limiting access to those things will help keep them away.
Roaches breed year-round and do not have a “season” per se. They do tend to head indoors in the winter months, so you may see more of them during cold months.

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