I was dispatched to one of Cowleys commercial accounts, a restaurant, having serious pest issues. Its staff was spotting cockroaches scurrying about the kitchen and they were finding roach deposits on the food prep counters (Yuck!). Roach infestations are a serious health concern because of disease transmission. Upon inspection, I determined these filthy insects were German roaches, which was exactly what I was expecting. German roaches are the most common roach infestation. Whenever we get a roach complaint called in by the manager of an apartment building or restaurant, it is likely the universally despised and detested German roach.
While applying a treatment around the wheels of a refrigerator, I was surprised to see what appeared to be an albino cockroach without any pigmentation. It’s not something you come across often. In fact, I’ve only seen a roach without any coloration once before. Would trapping this roach make me famous and put me on the cover of the Journal of Entomology? Unfortunately, no. This roach was just in a stage of life that all roaches go through. The roach had just completed its molt stage where it shed its outer shell and lost most of its pigmentation in its body. During this transition, it will take a few hours for its new skin, or exoskeleton, to harden and for its body to restore pigmentation and darken to its normal color.
It is unusual to come across a cockroach this temporary “albino” state. Roaches know to stay hidden during this vulnerable period. Just-molted roaches are highly vulnerable to drying out and attack by predators. Because their new soft shell makes it harder for them to run and hide if being chased, they have plenty of incentive to keep a low profile. Every so often though, a pest control technician gets “lucky” and spots the rare white roach!