Everything You Need to Know About American Cockroaches
Guide to U.S. Cockroaches
Does the word “cockroach” make you shiver? No one wants to open a kitchen cabinet, or worse, a box of cereal, and find two antennae pointing at them.
Yet, cockroaches are one of the most common pests in homes and businesses, and these six-legged critters are tough.
Cockroaches have been around for about 140 million years — much longer than humans. This means they’ve had a lot of time to evolve into the tricky bugs they are today.
Even with their rock-like shells, cockroaches are not invincible. If you find cockroaches in your home, restaurant, store or commercial building, you can gain control over these feisty critters. The first step is knowing what you’re up against. That’s what this guide is all about.
In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about cockroaches in the U.S. and answer questions such as:
- How do roaches get in the house?
- What attracts cockroaches in your home?
- How long do American cockroaches live?
- What are the types of cockroaches?
- What are the signs of a cockroach infestation?
- Are cockroaches harmful?
Finally, we’ll show you how to lasso these creepy crawlers and toss them out, so you can enjoy peace of mind. Although cockroaches are fascinating to study, they usually aren’t something most people want to share their space with. Keep reading to learn more, or contact us today at Pestech Pest Solutions!
Chapter 1: Cockroach Identification
Although cockroaches look like creatures from another planet, they are actually insects. There are many types of cockroaches, with some being more common than others. In this chapter, we’ll explore the different cockroach types and the most common ones you can find in your home or business.
Do you already know all too well what cockroaches look like? If so, reach out to us Pestech Pest Solutions, and we’ll get it under control.
What Do Cockroaches Look Like?
A cockroach has a flattened, oval-shaped body. They usually have two pairs of wings that lay flat on the back.
Although many adult cockroaches have wings, most of them don’t fly. Most cockroaches prefer to search for food on the ground because it’s not easy for them to take flight with wings sizes too small for their bodies. A cockroach may use its wings if it feels threatened and needs to escape, but it’s much more likely you’ll find a cockroach scurrying across the floor than soaring through the air. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), cockroaches can run up to 3 miles an hour, which is pretty speedy considering their size.
If you look at the pictures of the different types of cockroaches, you’ll notice that they usually range from light brown to black in color. A cockroach’s color helps it blend into its surroundings and hide in the dark.
One of the most recognizable cockroach features is their antennae. Cockroaches have long antennae that are about the same length as their bodies. Antennae help insects feel their environment and serve as their sense of smell. Cockroaches spend a lot of time grooming their antennae. For example, if you observe an American cockroach, you’ll find it cleaning its antennae with its mouthparts. This helps the insect remove buildup so it can sniff out food with ease.
You’ll also notice that cockroaches have six legs covered with spines. The spines look like spikes and provide a sense of touch.
Part of what makes cockroaches so creepy is their size, especially regarding the American cockroach. The American cockroach can grow to over an inch and a half long. To put this in perspective, imagine a paper clip, which is about an inch long. Finding an insect longer than a paper clip with equally long antennae is enough to make someone shriek. Imagine –– some species can grow to be over 3 inches long, but you’re not likely to find those in the U.S.
Types of Cockroaches That Infest Homes
There are thousands of cockroach species in the world, but only five types of cockroaches commonly cause problems in American homes or businesses.
Common Types of Cockroaches in the U.S.
- German cockroach: German cockroaches are about a half-inch long and light brown in color. They are commonly found in humid places like kitchen sinks or near plumbing fixtures in bathrooms. They avoid light and spend about 75% of their lives hiding. Their hiding places are usually within 10 feet of their food source.
- Brown-banded cockroach: Brown-banded cockroaches are about a half-inch long and prefer warm temperatures greater than 80 F. They also favor high areas but may be found hiding anywhere, such as behind pictures, under furniture or on appliances. Males have a golden brown body, and females have a dark brown pear-shaped build. Both have yellow bands on their shells. Male brown-banded cockroaches can fly.
- Oriental cockroach: Oriental cockroaches are sometimes called water bugs. They prefer damp, dark places like basements, under sinks and near leaky pipes. They are usually found on the first floor of buildings and produce a strong smell. An adult is about an inch long with a dark brown body.
- American cockroach: American cockroaches are sometimes found in homes, but are more likely to be found in restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses where food is prepared. They are the largest of common cockroaches. American cockroaches prefer warm, moist places and are most likely to be found in basements and on the ground floor. They have a reddish-brown color and long wings. They can fly when the temperature is above 85 F.
- Pennsylvania wood cockroach: Pennsylvania wood cockroaches live in wood and usually do not go indoors, although they can be brought in on firewood. They are not just found in Pennsylvania, but also the east, south and midwest. They grow up to an inch long and have a dark brown body with a light-colored band near the head.
What Is the Most Common Cockroach?
According to the EPA, German cockroaches are the most frequently found cockroach in the United States. They are also the most common cockroaches infesting homes. German cockroaches thrive next to humans where there are warmth and easy-to-access food and water, and they don’t do well outside in the cold. Cockroaches can’t grow or reproduce when temperatures dip below 45 F. You may find a cockroach in your home or apartment when temperatures begin to fall, and they hurry to find a warm place to stay.
The American cockroach is the second most abundant cockroach, and they are mainly found in commercial buildings.
How Many Varieties of Cockroaches Are There?
Can American Cockroaches Climb Walls?
Yes, American cockroaches can climb walls. Like other insects, cockroaches have special hairs on their feet, which act like suction cups. This allows them endless escape routes when a threat is near.
What Insects Look Like Cockroaches?
If you captured a beetle-like insect in your home or yard, you might wonder –– is it a cockroach? Before you panic, know that some insects look similar to cockroaches. These include:
- Long-horned beetles
- Leaf-footed bugs
- Ground beetles
Look for clues such as a flat oval-shaped body and long antennae to determine whether you’ve found a roach or another type of bug.