To the untrained eye, all cockroaches may look alike. However, there are actually five species of significance. German, Brown-banded, Oriental, American and Common Wood cockroaches are all unwelcome pests. The most common cockroach in Canada is the German cockroach. It has a flattened oval body with long spiny legs and measures 15 mm (3/4") when fully grown. Both male and female are winged. Color is light brown with two dark brown stripes running lengthwise on the thorax (middle section).
The main attractions for a cockroach are food, water and shelter. To them, almost anything is food - any foodstuff, paper, cloth, plants and even glue used for binding books. They can be found in every part of the home, but most prefer some kind of damp environment. Since most cockroaches are active at night, many people may be completely unaware of their presence in their home. Cockroaches are a public health concern because they have been known to carry Salmonella bacteria - the organisms responsible for food poisoning.
Cockroaches are one of the most commonly noted household pest insects. They feed on human and pet food and damage and can leave an offensive odor. They can also passively transport microbes on their body surfaces including those that are potentially dangerous to humans, particularly in environments such as hospitals. Cockroaches infestations have been shown to be linked with allergic reactions in humans. One of the proteins that triggers allergic reactions has been identified as tropomyosin. These allergens have also been found to be linked with asthma.