There are over 4000 species of cockroaches that belong to the Order Blattodea, Kingdom Animalia, and Class Insecta. The most common cockroaches found in and around homes and humans in the United States include the German cockroach, Oriental cockroach, and the American cockroach. Some cockroaches can fly and others cannot! All cockroaches undergo incomplete metamorphosis which includes the egg, nymph, and adult as part of development stages. Cockroaches infest homes, businesses, various forms of transportation, sewers and more spreading bacteria, pathogens and more throughout the places they travel. Proper identification and specific methods of treatment are needed to properly control populations interfering with humans. It is best to consult a professional when seeking to gain control of cockroaches in or outside your home or business.
American cockroaches are approximately 1.5 to 2.5 inches in length as adults which make them the largest of the house infesting cockroaches in the world. Adults live anywhere from just under half a year on up to two years or more. Like other cockroaches, American cockroaches undergo incomplete metamorphosis (egg, nymph, adult). An American cockroach can go from egg to adult in just under half a year at max speed but usually, egg sacs take around 1.5 months to hatch and nymphs around 8-10 months to develop! Oothecae, egg sacs carried by the females (about 7-14 per lifetime), can hold about 7-16 eggs.
The American cockroach, also known as the “palmetto bug” as they are often found living in trees, are found in dense populations throughout Florida but have a worldwide distribution. American Cockroaches are generally found outdoors and prefer dark, damp, undisturbed, warm environments (preferably temperatures around 80 degrees Fahrenheit) but will infest indoors if conditions are right. In larger populations, you may notice a musty odor given off by the cockroaches which are pheromones that cause them to aggregate together. The droppings for American cockroaches, rigid on the sides and blunted on the tips, are often mistaken for mouse droppings by many people.
American cockroaches will consider almost anything for its diet with algae, fungi and other insects being on the outside menu and food crumbs, spilled syrups, feces, insects and more being on the inside menu! Often American cockroaches, carriers of many diseases and pathogens, enter homes under unsealed doors and windows, pipe ways, and garages. Once inside, American cockroaches are often noted in restrooms, kitchens, basements, sump pump areas, roof voids, and laundry areas. Seek professional help for control if you are experiencing issues with American cockroaches!
German Cockroaches are found throughout the entire world, including the State of Florida. They are fantastic hitchhikers, often hitching rides inside of homes and businesses via boxes, bags, food, and infested appliances. They are smaller than most other cockroaches and infest indoors in moist, warm areas typically frequented by humans such as kitchens, bathrooms and other areas inside of commercial facilities, under sinks, electrical outlets, inside electronics including POS systems, computers, flat screens and more. They can be identified by two parallel longitudinal lines that run the length of the body which are brown to dark brown. Adults will grow to approximately 12mm-16mm in size.
Undergoing three life stages (egg, nymph, adult) like other insects that undergo incomplete metamorphosis, German cockroaches need just about 100 days to complete their lifecycle, and adults may live up to 200 days. A pregnant, also known as “gravid”, German cockroach can be noted by the protruding egg capsule under the abdomen which carries between 30 and 40 eggs! She will produce about 5 egg capsules throughout her lifetime. The German cockroach is not a cockroach to take lightly because when conditions are ideal, populations can explode in size quickly.
It typically takes three or more services to control German cockroach populations depending on the severity of the infestation at hand. It is imperative to keep the infested area as clean and dry as possible as German cockroaches can feed on almost any food source and can transport pathogens that can cause food poisoning, allergic reactions, trigger asthma attacks, dysentery and more. Often control is difficult to achieve and requires a professional. Seek professional help if you are experiencing issues with German cockroaches!
The Oriental cockroach is dark brown to reddish-brown in color; however, it can also have a dark black appearance. Oriental cockroaches grow to be between 20mm-25mm in length, and the males of this species rarely fly but can, while females cannot fly at all. The males have wings that cover approximately 3/4 of the abdomen where the females only have small wing pads covering just a couple segments at the top of the body. Found in dark, very moist, protected areas, Oriental cockroaches are huge fans of plumbing pipe ways, leaking pipes, air duct condensation, sewers, sump pumps, wet mulch, thick wet vegetation and drains.
Oriental cockroaches will feed on everything from garbage to decaying organic matter which enables them to spread filth and disease when crossing otherwise clean surfaces. Effective Oriental cockroach control often entails effective moisture control of the affected area and proper use of insecticides including liquids, baits, dusts, and aerosols by an experienced pest professional.
The Asian cockroach, commonly confused with the German cockroach, is approximately 13mm-16mm in size as a mature adult and is a sandy tan to dark brown color with two dark longitudinal stripes on its head. The best way to decipher an Asian cockroach from a German cockroach is by looking at the wings, location, and behavior. Unlike that of a German cockroach, an Asian cockroach is primarily found outdoors, has longer, more slender wings, is attracted to light and will fly if disturbed. Asian cockroaches will breed on the exterior in large quantities during spring and summer months. Often, Asian cockroaches find their way inside due to light and/or unsealed doors and windows which falsely cause alarm to occupants on the inside thinking they are German cockroaches. Proper exterior treatments from a pest professional should control area populations to satisfactory levels.
Australian cockroaches, found predominately outdoors, appear similar to the American cockroach but is smaller in size coming in at about 30mm-35mm in size with distinct yellow lines/bands on the upper forewings. Australian cockroaches are commonly referred to as “greenhouse” cockroaches for their preference of hot and humid conditions and can be found entering attics and crawl spaces of structures when conditions are right or surrounding populations are high. It should be noted that the Australian cockroach is a great flyer and can reproduce quite quickly. If you are struggling with Australian cockroaches in or directly around your home or business, consider setting up a residential pest service plan or adding cockroaches to your commercial pest service.
The size of the Florida woods cockroach is not as big as the American cockroach but still notably large with adults coming in at around 1.2inches to 1.6inches in length and approximately 1inch in width! Florida woods cockroaches generally live up to a year or more and are slow-moving compared to other cockroaches when disturbed. The Florida woods cockroach ranges from reddish-brown to almost pitch black in color. This species has no developed wings for flight and takes about 150 days to develop from an egg to a mature adult. This cockroach has a special defense mechanism that enables it to spray predators, up to once every 30 days, with a defensive smelly alarm pheromone if it becomes spooked! This same pheromone alerts other area Florida woods cockroaches that trouble is near.
The Florida woods cockroach, native to the southeastern United States, is generally found outdoors in damp, dark environments feeding on mostly decaying plant matter like leaves, bark, mold and more. When found inside, it is usually the result of hitchhiking on a plant, organic debris, firewood or wondering in through unsealed windows or doors. The Florida woods cockroach does not do well on the interior of buildings. Seek professional help if you are experiencing issues with Florida woods cockroaches!
Smoky brown cockroaches, typically outdoor cockroaches, named for their smoky brown color, are quite large coming in around 1.5 inches on average. The smoky brown cockroach is found in parts of Texas and along the Gulf Coast of the United States. Strong fliers that are attracted to light, smoky brown cockroaches are often are found entering unscreened attics of homes at night, foraging around trash receptacles, in palm tree canopy’s, tree holes and around other things such as left out pet food. Relocate firewood away from structures, seal up doors, windows, and screen all other openings of your home or business for optimal control of smoky brown cockroaches.
If you are struggling with smoky brown cockroaches, consider setting up a residential pest service plan or adding cockroaches to your commercial pest service.