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Common Cockroach Species


There are several thousand species of cockroaches, but these four species account for the bulk of interior cockroach infestation in the United States. Do-it-yourself cockroach control begins with identifying the correct specie.

German Cockroaches

German cockroach (Blatella germanica) The German Cockroach (Blattella germanica) is the roach that exterminators are most often called upon to control in the United States.

Adult German cockroaches average about five-eighths of an inch long. They have long antennae which they use to detect chemicals, moisture, air currents, and probably sound waves and vibrations in their environment.

German cockroaches prefer warm, moist areas, and are frequently found in kitchens and bathrooms. Thousands of german cockroaches can occupy a single kitchen.

American Cockroaches

American cockroaches (Periplaneta americanus). Photo courtesy of Pioneer Pest Management.American Cockroaches (Periplaneta americana) are large roaches, ranging in length up to an inch and a half. These are the roaches that people usually are talking about when they say "You could have put a saddle on it."

American cockroaches prefer dark, moist, warm areas. They are commonly found in basements, steam tunnels, boiler rooms, rubble foundations, and similar places. Often they aren't even noticed until a light is turned on, and they scurry away rapidly.

Adult American cockroaches of both sexes have working wings and at least some flight capability, but oddly enough, they seldom fly.

Brown-Banded Cockroaches

Brown-banded cockroach (Supella longipalpa)Brown-banded Cockroaches (Supella longipalpa) are about half an inch in length as adults. Adults of both sexes have wings, although only the males fly.

Brown-banded cockroaches have two light-colored bands running across the base of their wings, hence the name "brown-banded cockroach."

Compared to other common roaches (such as the german cockroach, as which they often are mis-identified), brown-banded cockroaches tend to prefer drier conditions. They're commonly found in bedrooms (especially in the cabinets and night tables), in closets, behind peeling wallpaper, and inside electrical and electronic equipment.

Oriental Cockroaches

Oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis)Oriental Cockroaches (Blatta orientalis) are black or very dark brown in color and roughly an inch in length. Adult males' wings reach about three-quarters down their abdomens, but they cannot fly. Adult females have only small wing pads.

Oriental cockroaches tend to live outdoors when the weather is warm, but they readily move inside during extremes of heat, cold, or drought. They can commonly be found in garbage storage areas, basements, and under porches and decks. They're often found along sill plates in unfinished basements and crawl spaces.


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