Collage of four different species of cockroach

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Cockroach species

There are over 3,000 different types of cockroaches in the world, but the main types of cockroaches commonly found in homes in the U.S. Find more detailed information below about these cockroach species:

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American cockroaches

American cockroach

Characteristics

  • Size: 35-40 mm long
  • Color: Shiny red-brown
  • Flight: Wings are longer than the body in males and just overlap abdomen in females, may fly at very high temperatures

The American cockroach is the largest of the house-infesting roaches. An extreme pest in the U.S., American cockroaches are found worldwide. They are typically found outdoors and in sewers and drains. Indoors, they prefer dark, humid and undisturbed areas such as subfloors, basements, kitchens, roof voids and bathrooms. The American cockroach is also known as the water bug or the palmetto bug. You may know you have American cockroaches from seeing their droppings or finding an egg capsule. You may also see them running after you turn on lights in your house or smell their musty scent.

Australian cockroaches

Characteristics

  • Size: 23-35 mm 
  • Color: Brown with a lateral pale stripe on the tegmina
  • Flight: Will fly short distances to escape danger or find food

Despite its name, the Australian cockroach is not a native species to Australia. This type of cockroach is most commonly found outdoors in southern Florida and other southeastern coastal states, but it can be found indoors. Outside, it will hide under the bark of trees, in firewood piles and in moist areas. Inside, it can be found in water pipes, sinks, toilets, cabinets, and other places with a dark, warm environment. You may know you have Australian cockroaches by either spotting one yourself or finding an egg case.

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Brown-banded cockroaches

Clemson University USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org

Characteristics

  • Size: 10-15 mm
  • Color: Brown
  • Flight: Males can fly, but wings are underdeveloped in females, preventing them from flying

The Brown-banded cockroach is one of the smallest pest cockroaches. Living on average for 206 days, the Brown-banded cockroach is found throughout the United States. They prefer warm, humid environments which lead them to harborages within heated buildings inside ceilings, attics, and by the motors of major appliances. They are primarily nocturnal and enjoy eating materials with high starch contents. It is hard to spot Brown-banded cockroaches, but you may find their droppings in your cabinets or around ceiling light fixtures. Another sign may be spotting an egg casing which they will usually leave under your furniture. Brown-banded roaches stay on the ground mostly, but males may fly in very warm climates.

German cockroaches

German Cockroach

Characteristics

  • Size: Approximately 12-15mm
  • Color: Light brown to tan
  • Flight: Have wings, but rarely fly

The German cockroach is one of the most common cockroaches found worldwide. Existing throughout the United States, these types of roaches are most commonly found indoors and infest a lot of businesses such as restaurants, hotels, nursing homes, and other types of facilities. They prefer wet, humid conditions, and are typically found in kitchens and bathrooms in homes and commercial properties. German cockroaches do have wings, but they would prefer to run instead of fly. If you have German cockroaches, you may find droppings or fecal staining in the areas they are hiding. If there’s a lot of them, you may smell a mild, musty odor.

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Oriental cockroaches

Oriental cockroach

Characteristics

  • Size: 20-25mm
  • Color: Dark brown or black
  • Flight: Have wings, but do not fly

The Oriental cockroach is one of the larger cockroach species. They are found in the Northern regions of the United States. Oriental cockroaches thrive in cool, damp areas such as basements, drains and openings beneath porches. They will enter your house by going under doors or enter in through any gaps, pipes, sewers, or drains. Known for their preference for feeding on garbage and decay, the Oriental cockroach can most commonly be found in landfills and leaf litter. You may learn you have Oriental cockroaches by finding egg capsules or smelling a musty odor. During the warmer months of the year, you may even spot them outside where they will try to hide in dark and moist places. 

Smokybrown cockroaches

Characteristics

  • Size: 25-38 mm 
  • Color: Shiny dark brown
  • Flight: Strong fliers

The Smokybrown cockroach is most commonly found in the southeast states of the U.S. They are fairly large cockroaches that like to live in areas that are either warm and humid, in tree hollows, or under mulch or bark. The Smokybrown cockroach is very prone to dehydration so it definitely needs a moist environment to survive. They are nocturnal and will enter homes and buildings at night. This species has a habit of entering houses and contaminating food with excrement, regurgitated salivary fluid and potentially harmful bacteria. You may know you have an infestation after spotting them in your mulch beds or in your gutters, or you may find their droppings or egg capsules.

Start your cockroach treatment with Ehrlich today.

Bugs that look like cockroaches

There are bugs that look a lot like cockroaches, and might incite panic if mistaken for the bothersome pest. If you're lucky, you don't have a cockroach infestation at all.  Here are a few of the most common bugs mistaken for cockroaches:

  • Crickets - Crickets may be similar to cockroaches in color, but their back legs are made for jumping and are much longer than cockroach back legs.
  • Ground beetles - Ground beetles are often mistaken for cockroaches, but their wings are hardened, while cockroach wings, if present, are soft and leathery.
  • June bugs - Also known as June beetles, these cockroach look-alikes are harmless. You'll definitely hear them coming, as they make a loud buzzing sound in flight.
  • Water bugs - Cockroaches and water bugs can look very similar, but water bugs are generally bigger. Also, water bugs can survive for an extended period of time in the water, while cockroaches prefer land.
  • Asian longhorned beetles - As their name suggests, the Asian longhorned beetle has very long, segmented antennae extending from the head. The antennae might even exceed body length.

  • Leaf footed bugs - Named for the leaf shapes on the hind legs, leaf footed bugs have a more narrow body than that of cockroaches. Additionally, their wings often have a zigzag pattern on them, whereas cockroach wings, when present, do not.

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