Cockroach Species

There are over 3,000 different types of cockroaches - some are considered pests while others are beneficial in their natural environment.

The three main types of cockroaches commonly found in homes in the U.S. include the German cockroach, Oriental cockroach and American cockroach.

Find more detailed information below about these common species.

German Cockroach

(Blatella germanica)

Appearance

  • Notorious for their world-wide distribution, German cockroaches are easily identifiable by 2 dark longitudinal stripes on their pronotum. 
  • Adults grow to approximately 12 – 15mm in length.

Lifecycle

  • Females carry 35 – 40 eggs in an ootheca (egg case) until they are ready to hatch.
  • Hatch in 1 month.
  • Nymphs take between 6 weeks to 6 months to develop into adults.
  • Generally 3-4 generations per year.

Habits

  • Most commonly found indoors.
  • Prefers wet, humid conditions and are typically found in kitchens and bathrooms in homes and commercial properties.

Oriental Cockroach

(Blatta orientalis)

Appearance

  • Dark brown or black in color.
  • 20 -25mm long.
  • The wings undeveloped in female and cover ¾ length of the abdomen in the male.

Lifecycle

  • Females deposit 16 eggs in an ootheca (egg case).
  • Hatch in 2 months.
  • Nymphs take 6-18 months to develop into adults.

Habits

  • Highly adapted for surviving in the natural environment, Oriental cockroaches thrive in cool, damp areas such as basements, drains and openings beneath porches.
  • Known for their preference for feeding on garbage and decay, these insects can most commonly be found in landfills and leaf litters.
  • Runs rather than flies.

American Cockroach

(Periplaneta americana)

The American cockroach is one of the largest pest cockroaches to invade homes and commercial properties.

Appearance

  • 35 - 40mm long.
  • Shining red–brown in color.
  • Wings longer than the body in male; only just overlap abdomen in female.
  • Runs (may fly at very high temperatures).

Lifecycle

  • The ootheca (egg case) containing up to 16 eggs is carried by the female for several days before being deposited. Sometimes cemented down and tend to be grouped.
  • Hatch in 1 – 2 months.
  • Nymphs usually develop in 6 -12 months, but it can take up to 15 months.

Habits

  • Also known as the ‘Palmetto bug’ because they live on trees, the American cockroach prefers dark, humid and undisturbed areas and can be found in subfloors, basements, kitchens, roof voids and bathrooms of homes.

Brown Banded Cockroach

(Supella longipalpa)

Appearance

  • One of the smallest pest cockroaches, brown banded adult cockroaches are approximately 10 – 15mm in length and characterized by yellow-brown stripes across their abdomen.

Habits

  • Brown banded cockroaches mostly stay on ground, but may fly in very warm climates. 
  • Their preference for warm, humid environments leads them to harborages within heated buildings - ceilings, attics, inside and around appliance motors. Primarily active at night, these opportunistic feeders particularly enjoy materials with high starch contents.

Australian Cockroach

(Periplaneta australasiae)

Lifecycle

  • Females deposit the ootheca (egg case) containing 24 eggs a day after production.
  • After hatching nymphs take 6-12 months to develop into adults.

Habits

  • Enter buildings at night from gardens/debris.
  • Generally prevalent in areas where winters are relatively mild.
  • Despite its name, it isn't a native species.

Smoky Brown Cockroach

(Periplaneta fuliginosa)

Appearance

  • 3-35 mm long.
  • Shining dark brown in color.
  • Wings longer than the body in male; only just overlap abdomen in female.
  • Runs (may fly at very high temperatures).

Lifecycle

  • Females deposit the ootheca (egg case) containing 22-26 eggs a day after production.
  • Nymphs take between 6-12 months to develop into adults.
  • The noticeable difference between nymphs and adults, apart from size, is the lack of wings in the young.

Habits

  • Lives in tree hollows, under bark, under floors, and enters buildings at night.
  • Nocturnal (hides during the day in cracks and crevices or any other dark warm places).
  • Has a habit of entering houses and contaminating food with excrement, regurgitated salivary fluid and potentially harmful bacteria.

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