New Orleans Is Cockroach Capital of the U.S.

Cockroach close-up

by John Egan
January 06, 2017

One of the things that bugs residents of New Orleans the most has given the Big Easy a cringe-worthy distinction.

Results of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Housing Survey show that among 25 big U.S. metro areas, New Orleans is No. 1 for cockroaches being spotted in homes. In the survey, 42.1 percent of households in the New Orleans metro area reported cockroach sightings in the past 12 months.

Anyone who’s lived in New Orleans for a while is familiar with the creepy cockroach.

A post on the Movoto real estate website titled “10 Signs You Have Lived in New Orleans Too Long” says you’ve overstayed your welcome if you don’t even flinch when you a baseball-size flying cockroach buzzes by.

“You will never hear a woman (or a grown man, for that matter) scream so loud as when they catch sight of the infamous New Orleans roach flying in the air, jet-speed straight for their head,” according to the Movoto article, by New Orleans writer Lindsay Hilton. “I’ve seen adults knock children over to get out of the line of fire. If you don’t scream at the sight of one of these ungodly monsters, then you have definitely lived in New Orleans too long.”

In second place in the cockroach category is Houston, TX (37.9 percent), followed by Miami, FL (32.1 percent) and Atlanta, GA (25.9 percent).

New Orleans and these three other metros have warm, humid climates where cockroaches thrive. Bayer Advanced, a maker of pesticides, says cockroaches are the No. 1 bug in homes and other structures. About 55 species of cockroach can be found in the U.S., according to J&J Pest Control, which operates in the Austin, TX, area.

In New Orleans, the cockroach might even be observed partaking in the party-hearty atmosphere on Bourbon Street.

“Some roaches do seem to like alcoholic beverages, beer included,” according to pest control giant Terminix. “This is not a myth, though it’s likely because of the sugars found in alcohol, not because roaches like to party.”

In the graphic below, check out the top metros for households reporting cockroach sightings.

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