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Cockroaches in France

 

There are thousands of Cockroach species worldwide and despite their reputation only about 1% of them interact with humans, most being “non-domestic” living away from human habitations.

In France there are about 20 species in total almost all are of the genus Ectobius that are useful auxiliaries to gardeners and would only enter a house accidentally.  

The majority of cockroaches are lucifuges, they flee light, although some exterior cockroaches can be seen in broad daylight. Eggs are either carried by the female in an egg case, (such as the German cockroach), until they hatch or deposited in a crevice and left to hatch unattended. The resulting larva is very similar to the adult although smaller and it will sometimes take more than a year to become an adult.

Cockroaches go through three stages during their life cycle: the egg, the nymph and the adult.

When outside of human habitation, shops or other buildings, cockroaches live in litter or ground debris. They are fond of dead vegetation, mosses etc and can be found in cracks and crevices, in tall grass, under tree bark, or in trees depending on the species. Most are fond of warm, moist habitats that provide shelter during the day. Most species are also omnivorous and will eat almost anything. Some are xylophages, others feed on excrement, paper and leather. Exterior cockroaches are important auxiliaries because they enter the process of degradation of organic matter. They also provide a food source for snakes, birds, amphibians and even the house centipede.

Contrary to popular belief, domestic cockroaches are not specifically related to the so-called disadvantaged large urban areas or to older buildings. In fact residential neighbourhoods with new or modern buildings can also be infested. Both rural and suburban areas are affected, but obviously the spread of these insects is greatly facilitated in urban areas because of the density of the structural habitat.

The four domestic species in France are the German cockroach, (Blattella germanica), American cockroach, (Periplaneta americana), Eastern cockroach,(Blatta orientalis), and the Brown-banded cockroach (Supella longipalpa).  The German Cockroach is probably the most commonly found in French buildings.