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Cockroaches: information and resources

Cockroaches are found throughout the United States. These pests prefer wet, humid conditions, and are typically found indoors in kitchens, bathrooms, crawlspaces, and basements in both residential and commercial properties. To determine the best cockroach control methods, knowing and understanding the different types of cockroaches and their life cycles and habitats will help in order to eliminate them and prevent them from returning.

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Cockroach identification

Size: Range from ¼” to 2”
Color: Reddish-brown to black
Body: Oval-shaped and flat with antennae

Cockroach species of concern

There are roughly 3,500 cockroach species found worldwide, but only 55 of these species are found in the United States. The American cockroach, Brown-banded cockroach, German cockroach, and Oriental cockroach are four of the most common species in the U.S.

American cockroach

American cockroaches are found worldwide. They range from 1 to 1 and ½” inches in size, are reddish-brown in color, and have wings but rarely fly. American cockroaches prefer dark, warm, moist areas and are often found in crawl spaces and basements and around floor drains, pipe chases, and bathtubs. Outdoors, they are found in sewers and drains.

Brown-banded cockroach

Brown-banded cockroaches are found throughout the United States. They are one of the smallest species of cockroach measuring ⅜” to ½” in size. They are brown in color and have wings, but only males can fly as females’ wings are underdeveloped. Preferring warm, humid environments, brown-banded cockroaches are often found hibernating in heated buildings inside ceilings, attics, and by the motors of major appliances.

German cockroach

German cockroaches are found all over the United States. They are ½” to ⅝” inches in size, light brown in color, and have two dark streaks that start behind their heads and extend down their backs. They have wings but do not fly. German cockroaches typically prefer wet, humid areas, and are often found hiding in crevices close to food sources and water, like in kitchens, dining rooms, bathrooms, restaurants, etc.

Oriental cockroach

Oriental cockroaches are found in the northern United States. They are one of the larger cockroach species measuring a little over ¾” to 1” in size. Oriental cockroaches are black in color and have wings, but do not fly. They are commonly found in landfills and near leaf litter, as they prefer to feed on garbage.

Contact your local cockroach control expert

What you need to know about cockroaches


  • Habitat

    Different cockroach species have different habitats. Some prefer wet, humid areas while others like to hide in leaf litter and garbage. No matter the species, all cockroaches need to be close to food and water sources, which is why you may find them hiding anywhere from under your bathroom sink to behind your kitchen appliances.


  • Life cycle

    Cockroaches go through a full life cycle, including egg, nymph, and adult stages. Eggs are encased in an ootheca until they are ready to hatch and are carried by the female cockroach or deposited in a safe place. The eggs hatch in one to two months, and nymphs take between six weeks to six months to develop into adults. Adult cockroaches can live for one to two years.


  • Feeding

    Cockroaches will eat just about anything. They prefer meats, sweets, and starches, but have been known to consume hair, paper, and decaying matter. Cockroaches can live for a while without food, but they can only live a few days if they don’t have access to water.


  • Diseases

    Cockroaches carry disease-causing microorganisms on their bodies. Though they do not directly transmit diseases to humans as mosquitoes do through their bite, cockroaches do contaminate anything they walk across with bacteria. They can cause diseases and viruses such as food poisoning, tapeworms, roundworms, polio, and allergies, and they can even trigger asthma.

Frequently asked questions


  • What causes cockroaches in the house?

    Cockroaches come into your house in search of food, water, and shelter. They can gain entry through any tiny opening or are brought in accidentally via cardboard boxes or grocery bags.


  • Why do I suddenly have cockroaches in my house?

    Cockroaches thrive in moist areas that are close to food sources. If you are suddenly experiencing cockroaches, make sure you have all food stored and cleaned up, garbage lids sealed tightly, and that there are no water leaks in or around your home. Cockroaches can also quickly pop up if your neighbors have an infestation.


  • Can cockroaches fly?

    All species of cockroach have wings, but not all of them fly. The species that do fly are not strong flyers. Cockroaches only fly if the weather becomes too hot and they are trying to relocate.


  • What should I do if I find a cockroach?

    If you find a cockroach in your home, take note of where you found it and solicit the help of an expert as soon as possible. Cockroaches reproduce quickly, so it is important to get the situation controlled at the first sight of one.


  • Can roaches live in a clean house?

    Though cockroaches are believed to be a sign of a dirty house or business, they can live just about anywhere. No matter how much you clean, cockroaches can still find their way into your home through any openings and may even be brought inside on a grocery box or cardboard bag by you. As long as there is shelter, food, and water present, they will survive in a clean home.

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