Did you know that there are over 4,500 different types of cockroaches in the world, but only 69 of those species can be found in the United States? While that number can seem too high for the comfort of most homeowners, you can rest assured knowing that you only need to worry about four or five different species. This is because most cockroach species rarely invade homes and prefer living in the outdoors of different regions.
But the five or six species that you have to worry about can become a real nuisance if they aren’t dealt with because, for every roach that you can see, there are probably dozens, or even hundreds, in your home that are hiding in places you can’t see.
While most roaches look the same when you first see them, knowing the type of roach you have in your home will make it much easier for you to get rid of them quickly and effectively.
GENERAL FEATURES OF A COCKROACH
Almost all roaches are between 0.7 inches to 3 inches long. They all have antennae that are located on their head – these do not count when you are figuring out the size of the roach but can help with identification.
Most roaches are reddish-brown in color, except for when they have molted, then they are whitish in color. They are all oval-shaped and appear to be flattened.
Now that we have a general idea of what a cockroach looks like let’s talk about some different types of roaches you might encounter in your home.
Appearance: American roaches are reddish brown in color with a yellowish figure eight pattern on the back of their head. They are around 1.5 inches long, and both males and females have wings that are the length of their bodies.
Region: This type of roach can be found throughout the United States.
Habitat: American roaches are often found in sewers and basements, they especially can be found around pipes and drains in these areas.
Other Facts: These are the largest type of house-infesting roaches that are commonly found. They are most active when the temperature is around 70 degrees or higher, but they can survive in colder temperatures if they are living in the right conditions. American roaches eat almost everything, but because of where they live they mostly eat garbage and plant material.
Appearance: Brown-banded roaches are brown with a pronounced banding around their wings. Female roaches are dark brown in color, while males are a golden-tan color. These roaches are about 0.5 inches long in their adult stage. The banding around their wings are light in color, and they go across their wings and abdomen.
Region: This type of roach is found throughout the United States.
Habitat: Brownbanded roaches tend to prefer warm, dry indoor areas. They are usually hiding in higher locations, such as behind pictures on walls, or behind appliances that give off heat (i.e., refrigerators).
Other Facts: Male roaches can fly if disturbed, but female roaches can’t fly at all. These roaches prefer starchy foods; this includes the glue from envelopes and even paper products. Because of the diet they prefer, Brownbanded roaches are often found in offices, hospitals, and apartments. Many effective methods that can be used to get rid of roaches might not work to get rid of Brown-banded roaches.
Appearance: German roaches are light brown to tan in color with two dark stripes located on their backs. They are oval in shape and have six legs and antennae. These roaches are only about 0.5 – 0.625 inches in length as an adult. These roaches do have wings. However, they cannot fly.
Region: These roaches are found across the United States.
Habitat: German roaches prefer warm and humid locations. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find these roaches in kitchens by sinks, dishwashers, or stoves, and bathrooms.
Other Facts: German roaches are by far the most important and most common type of cockroach. They are a nuisance, but more importantly, they have been linked to illness and allergy reactions in many people. German roaches eat a variety of things but prefer to eat meat, grease, and starchy foods.
Appearance: Oriental roaches are large, very dark in color, and have a shiny hue to them. These roaches are about 1.25 inches long when they are in the adult stage. Females have imperceptible wings, and males have short wings that aren’t the length of their body – neither of which can fly. These roaches are also referred to as water bugs and black beetles.
Region: These roaches are mostly found in the northern region of the United States.
Habitat: Oriental roaches like cool, damp places and they prefer the dark. They are often found in basements, woodpiles, drains, and even garages, but they can venture farther into a home in search of food.
Other Facts: This species of roach produces a strong smell and is considered the dirtiest of all roaches. These roaches are found both indoor and outdoor – outdoor they are more commonly found in areas where pet food is stored or distributed. They are not the fastest roach species, and they are unable to climb smooth vertical surfaces – because of this they can often be found stuck in sinks and tubs.
Appearance: Australian roaches have yellow stripes along the outer edge of their wings and around their heads. They are often confused with the American roach because of their size; they are about 1.25 inches long, and overall reddish-brown color.
Region: These roaches are often found in the southern United States but can be found in the northern states in greenhouses.
Habitat: Australian roaches prefer humid and warm climates, that’s why they are more commonly found in the southern states and greenhouses.
Other Facts: In Florida, these roaches are called “Palmetto Bugs.” These roaches are great fliers and will enter buildings where they will have access to enough food, moisture, and heat. Therefore, they are most commonly found in cracks in walls, leaf piles, attics, garbage cans, and even greenhouses. They prefer to eat plant material, decaying material, and starchy material (i.e., book bindings, clothes).
Appearance: Wood roaches are brown in color, have a stripe down their back, and antennae. These roaches can be about 1 – 1.75 inches long when they are in the adult stage. Male roaches have elongated wings that cover their abdomen and are great flyers. Female roaches do not have wings and are rarely found.
Region: These roaches are found throughout the United States.
Habitat: Wood roaches are rarely found in homes, they are mostly found living under the bark of dead trees and other moist locations (i.e., wood shingles). Although they do not breed in homes, they can be attracted to house lights and can squeeze their way through window frames.
Other Facts: Wood roaches are the easiest type of roach to get rid of since they don’t live in homes. They can easily be killed with a fly swatter, stepped on, or even flushed.
Now that you have a better idea as to what type of cockroach you have in your home, here are some good general steps that you can take to get rid of them.