Cockroaches are one of the oldest groups of insects, indicating how successful they have been in adapting to changes in their environments. They prefer food sources such as starches, sweets, grease and meat products, but other items may include cheese, beer, leather, glue, hair, starch in book bindings, flakes of dried skin or decaying organic matter (plant or animal).
Cockroaches are attracted to warm, moist environments. They spend the daylight hours in dark, secluded sites under refrigerators, stoves, false bottoms in kitchen cabinets, in the backs of cabinets and in crevices between baseboards and floors or cabinets and walls. They may also be found behind pictures or within electronic equipment. A number of these openings will ultimately lead to voids in the stud walls. The insects leave these sites at night to forage for food and water. The presence of cockroaches during the day may indicate a large population.
The three most common in the Northeast are the German cockroach, the American cockroach and the brown banded cockroach.
An adult female cockroach produces an egg capsule, called an ootheca, which it carries around protruding from the tip of the abdomen. The German cockroach carries the ootheca for most of the 30-day incubation period and then drops it about the time the eggs hatch; the adult female field cockroach also carries the ootheca until eggs are ready to hatch. The other species carry it for only a short time before depositing it in a suitable location where it incubates for weeks or months.