American Cockroaches are also known as a "water bug" or "palmetto bug".

The American roach is reddish-brown, about 1.5 inches long or longer, winged, but seldom fly. American Cockroaches prefer decaying organic matter, but being scavengers will eat anything. Sweets are attractive to the American roach. They also will feed on starchy items like book bindings, and the back of wall paper. Habits and Biology of American Cockroaches: Females produce many egg capsules, having 14-16 eggs hatching in 50-55 days into grayish-brown "nymphs". As the American cockroaches mature they become more reddish-brown in appearance. Adults and nymphs can be found in a variety of places. In the North,they are commonly found in steam heat tunnels or in large institutional buildings.They more commonly congregate in open spaces instead of small crack and crevices.

When indoors,they can be located in dark, moist areas like basements and crawl spaces. Other likely areas indoors would be around bathtubs, floor drains,and sewers. Outside the American roach can be found in moist, shady areas like:yards, hollow trees, woodpiles,and mulch. At times they can be found under roof shingles or attics. Usually they will live outside,but will wander inside in search for food and water or during extremes in weather conditions.

Recommendations for American Roach Control:

  • Caulk all penetrations through ground level walls.
  • Stop water leaks, screen equipment overflow drains, and take overflow water away from buildings; keep drain traps full or capped.
  • Remove rotting leaves from window wells.
  • Move garbage cans out of preferred moist habitat.
  • Ventilate moist spaces.
Generally speaking, control measures should concentrate on the outside of the building and points of entry. This is called a "perimeter or barrier" treatment.

The German cockroach has three developmental stages: egg, nymph, and adult.

Females produce a light brown, purse-shaped egg capsule that is less than 1/4 inch long and contains two rows of eggs. Each capsule contains up to 48 eggs (usually 30 to 48), and adult females usually produce from four to eight egg capsules during their lifetime. At room temperature, one capsule is produced about every 6 weeks. Egg capsules are carried, protruding from the abdomen, until hatching time when they are deposited into crevices and other sheltered locations. It usually takes 28 days for the capsule to hatch from the time it begins to form. Formation of the next egg capsule usually begins within a couple of weeks. The length of the egg stage varies from 14 to 35 days, with six to seven nymphal stages (instars) occurring over a period of 6 to 31 weeks. The life span of the adult female varies from 20 to 30 weeks. In one year over 10,000 descendants can be produced, assuming two generations per year.

Adult German cockroaches are 1/2 to 5/8 inch long and tan to light brown. Although they have fully developed wings, they do not fly. Nymphs are similar in appearance to adults except that they are smaller and lack wings. The German cockroach is best identified by its small size and by two dark parallel lines running from the back of the head to the wings. It is usually found in kitchens (near dishwashers, stoves, and sinks) and in bathrooms of homes.

German cockroaches usually prefer a moist environment with a relatively high degree of warmth. The insects are mostly scavengers and will feed on a wide variety of foods. They are especially fond of starches, sweets, grease, and meat products. In many locations, garbage is a principal food source. As with other species, German cockroaches are mostly active at night, when they forage for food, water, and mates. During the day they hide in cracks and crevices and other dark sites that provide a warm and humid environment. Their relatively wide, flat bodies enable them to move in and out of cracks and narrow openings with ease. They may be seen during the daytime, particularly if a heavy population is present or if there is some other stress, such as a lack of food or water or an application of pesticides.

The German cockroach is the most successful of the species infesting buildings. There are several reasons for this cockroach’s persistence and the difficulty of controlling it. German cockroaches produce a larger number of eggs per capsule and they undergo the shortest time from hatching until sexual maturity, resulting in a rapid population growth. A greater number of nymphs hatch successfully because the female carries the egg capsule during the entire time the embryos are developing within the eggs. Also, and most importantly, German cockroaches are smaller than most other cockroaches and can conceal themselves in many places inaccessible to individuals of the larger species.

The Brown Banded Cockroach is often confused with the German Roach, but its habits are different.

They are often brought in dwellings in furniture. Commonly found in the southern states, but may be found in warmer parts of buildings in the northern states.

Brown Banded Cockroach Appearance:

They are light brown,about 1/2 inch long. They have two light, irregular bands along their wings. The German Roach has two dark,distinctive bands behind their heads.

Brown Banded Roach Diet:

They prefer starchy materials, but being scavengers will eat almost anything.


Habits and Biology of Brown Banded Cockroaches:

The female will only carry the egg capsule for one or two days,then attach it to a protected surface. Each capsule contains 14-18 eggs, the young reach maturity in about 160 days. You can find these light brown egg capsules usually under or to the sides of a surface,well protected. They don't require the same moisture resources as the German Roach,so they are commonly found in furniture,or on the walls and ceilings. They are not as commonly found in they kitchen and bathrooms, as the German Roach,but can be found near refrigerator motors and other major appliances. Also look behind pictures and in closets. They are rarely seen during the day and may fly. They prefer dry and warm places and may be scattered throughout the building.

Woods Cockroach Appearance:

Woods roaches are very similar in appearance to the American roach; flat, oval body, long antennae, spiny legs, chestnut brown color. They are slightly smaller than the American Cockroach, about 3/4 to 1 1/4 inch long. The adults, especially the males, appear tan because of the color of their wings. Adults and large nymphs of the wood roach can be recognized by a pale, creamy white or transparent stripe on their outer edge. The pale edge extends onto the first 1/3 of the front wings of the adults.

Woods Roach Diet: They prefer decaying organic matter

Habits and Biology of Woods Cockroaches:

The Woods roaches are attracted to light, much different than the other roaches. Females deposit their egg capsules outdoors under old logs, stumps and firewood. Females produce about 30 capsules containing up to 32 eggs each. The egg incubation period is about one month, with nymphs hatching in the summer and maturing the following spring (May or June). There is one generation per year and, in some cases, the life cycle takes two years. At dusk, males may begin taking short flights and are often seen in the headlights of the automobiles by persons driving through wooded areas. Woods cockroaches are active during the winter and can be found in firewood after pulling the bark away. These cockroaches are usually found in groups. Compared to domestic roaches, woods cockroaches are less likely to flee when approached and do not survive indoors. Over wintering occurs outdoors as a partially grown nymph. When disturbed, nymphs are active even in freezing weather. Adults are present May through early October.

Recommendations for Wood Roach Control

Since woods cockroaches do not establish themselves indoors and their presence is temporary (a few weeks) during the spring, chemical control measures are rarely needed.

It is not practical to treat firewood or other areas away from the dwelling because males can fly in from a distance. Also, to limit the risk of exposure to toxic chemical fumes when burning firewood, non-chemical preventive practices are preferred. Occasionally, populations can build in crawl spaces under the house.