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Old March 25, 2021   #1
aclum
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Default Cockroaches

I'm getting my raised beds ready for the spring tomato plant-out in a few weeks and I decided to replace the silver mulch that has been in place for a couple of years. When I removed the old plastic mulch I was sort of shocked to see hundreds of little (about 1/4") tan cockroaches swarming all over the soil, trying to find their way back into whatever little tunnels they hide in. There were a couple of patches of them two or three deep ! Thankfully, they all disappeared within about 10-15 minutes.

They don't bother me as long as I can't see them , but I was wondering if they present any problems for the plants. Can I just forget about them or should I try to do something about them - and if so, what exactly?

Note: Just worked on 2 of the raised beds today. Only one of the beds had any roaches.

Anne

Last edited by aclum; March 25, 2021 at 06:46 PM. Reason: Added note
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Old March 27, 2021   #2
b54red
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I think they are a type of outdoor very small roach from Southeast Asia. They showed up here in the south about 15 years ago. They don't seem to bother anything growing in my garden and they are not as plentiful as they were 5 years ago so something must like eating them. They love light mulch like leaves and loose straw. They can't survive inside the homes down here; maybe because of the air conditioning. Due to all the hurricanes I no longer have a lot of leaves since most of my large trees are now gone but I see them especially when watering by hand with the hose they will sometimes scurry around. I now use exclusively plain cypress mulch and they don't seem to like it much.

Bill
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Old March 27, 2021   #3
aclum
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Hi Bill,

That's interesting - thanks for the info! I don't use any loose mulch, so I've rarely seen them around. From what you say, I guess they don't harm the plants - and I've never seen them in the house - so I won't worry about them.

I've been thinking about you what with all the bad weather out your way. Hope that you're staying safe and doing OK!!

Anne
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Old March 28, 2021   #4
KarenO
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Hi,are you sure they are cockroaches?
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Old March 28, 2021   #5
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Hi Karen,

No - I'm not sure at all They're definitely different from the cockroaches we occasionally might see in the house. I didn't linger around long enough to really study them, but they seem smaller, rounder, and a different color from the household type. What Bill said sounds reasonable to me. But I'm open to other possibilities .

Anne
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Old March 28, 2021   #6
KarenO
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I wonder if they are woodlouse aka pill bugs or sow bugs which are isopod crustaceans and not insects at all that would just love to congregate in the shade under your mulch.
They might have that roachy look as they scramble away at first glance
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Old March 28, 2021   #7
aclum
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Definitely not a sow bug or pill bug (although we do a few of those). Did a little web searching and think it could be an immature 3-lined (or 3-banded) cockroach AKA "the friendly cockroach" - although these seemed more startled and panicky than friendly They didn't have the prominent stripes that I could see, but size, shape, and territory are all pretty much correct. Might also be an immature field cockroach ??? Here's a link to one of the sites I looked at:

http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7467.html

Most of the other roaches shown seem too big or the wrong shape or color. Have been out working on the raised beds this morning and not one to be seen.... so I guess its identity may just remain a mystery.

Anne
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