The German cockroach is the most common indoor cockroach species in the Northeast. It generally inhabits kitchens and bathrooms where they are found near plumbing fixtures, in cracks or crevices in cupboards, under drawers and kitchen sinks, and similar locations. These cockroaches often cluster together in favorable hiding areas.
The Brownbanded cockroach may also be common in Northeastern homes. Individuals can be widely distributed throughout a building, particularly in high areas, hiding behind pictures and clocks, beneath furniture, among books and in other drier areas not normally infested by German cockroaches. They seek areas that are warm most of the time including appliances such as radios, televisions and refrigerators. The brownbanded cockroach prefers warmer temperatures (greater than 80° F) than the German cockroach. The two species are rarely found together.
The Oriental cockroach prefers dark, damp places. Often called a water bug, it is commonly found in damp basements, cellars, crawl spaces, and sewers. It may also be found near drains, leaky water pipes and under refrigerators, sinks, washing machines, and floors.
The American cockroach is occasionally found in homes, although it is more common in restaurants, grocery stores, and bakeries and other sites where food is prepared. It favors very warm, moist places (temperatures in excess of 82° F). An American cockroach has a fondness for fermenting foods, e.g. bread soaked with beer. Their foraging is confined mostly to the basement and ground floor of a building unless suitable conditions exist in higher locations. Sewers and drain lines may help this pest invade new areas.
The Pennsylvania wood cockroach lives in wooded areas in rotting logs and under loose bark. It can accidentally invade homes, cabins, cottages, and other buildings in or near wooded areas. This cockroach is not a persistent household pest and it doesn’t reproduce indoors. Because of its association with wood, a Pennsylvania wood cockroach can be brought indoors on firewood. It may enter buildings if suitable harborage (trees and logs) is close to open doors and windows.
Unfortunately, these unsightly bugs are not only a nuisance, they can also transmit diseases that can cause food poisoning, allergies or other illness. Once cockroaches become established, they can breed and produce several thousand offspring each year.