There are about 4,600 species of cockroaches, but only six of them commonly become irritating pests: the German cockroach, the Oriental cockroach, the American cockroach, the Turkestan cockroach, the Smoky brown cockroach, and the Brown-banded cockroach. Indeed, there are about 4,594 other species of roaches other than these six; however, they don’t normally take refuge within the human habitat. Every once in a while you may find one of these cockroaches crawling into your house when temperatures rise but have no fear; it probably isn’t your typical harmful pest that should be worried about.
Identifying the specific type of cockroach plays a key role in choosing the correct method to eliminate it. Belonging to the superorder Dictyoptera, cockroaches are polyneopterous insects that grow in medium to large sizes. It is considerably easy to spot a cockroach, and while some roaches have a noticeable odor, others are odor-free. These flattened, large, broad pests have long antennae and a pronotum, which is the visible section behind the roach’s head that is shaped almost like a shield.
Many people confuse beetles with cockroaches, though there are some distinct features that separate beetles from roaches. For instance, while beetles have hard forewings, also known as Elytra, roaches have wings that consist of various membranes. However, small cockroaches that have yet to become adults lack wings.
Cockroaches are nocturnal insects and tend to separate from their group when they are disturbed. Among the six species of roaches mentioned above, the Brown-banded and the German cockroaches are the ones you should worry about the most! These two species have a tendency to invade buildings and homes inhabited by people. The remaining four species live outdoors and rarely intrude into buildings.
I will now go over the various types of roaches that you should be looking out for. Remember, identification is a crucial part in determining the appropriate method of extermination!
The German cockroach
Size: 0.5 inches.
Color: Light brown with about two stripes on their pronotum.
Dwelling Locations: Places with storage and food areas, homes, bathrooms, kitchens, warehouses, etc.
Among all the species of cockroaches, the German cockroach is considered the most harmful since it can invade numerous buildings and structures, especially those that contain multiple families. Needless to say, this cockroach puts all the other cockroaches in bad light thanks to its ability to destroy homes.
These cockroaches thrive in places with warmer temperatures and studies have shown that they can’t inhabit structures or places with cold temperatures. In fact, it is commonly known that these roaches can’t survive in places that aren’t inhabited by humans. For the most part, the German cockroaches dwell in locations that contain an abundant supply of water, food, and heat.
The Brown-banded Cockroach
Size: 0.5 inches.
Color: Adult males are light golden-tan and females are usually dark brown. Both male and female adults have colored bands on their abdomen, sides of their pronotum, and wings.
Dwelling Locations: Kitchens, clutter, hollow legs of any furniture, warm areas, etc.
The Supella longipalpa, otherwise known as the Brown-banded cockroach isn’t as popular or as destructive as the German cockroach. These pests seek warm hiding places and nest in places where the temperatures are at least 80 degrees F. Their favorite locations are warm places such as electrical components in televisions, refrigerators, and radios.
These roaches love starchy food and are often seen at places that store paper (for example, offices). Since they prefer locations that aren’t air-conditioned, they search for hospitals, warehouses, animal rearing facilities, and kitchens. Adult males will fly when they are disturbed, but females don’t fly. Females glue their egg cases (which are typically a quarter-inch long) to ceilings, closets, spaces beneath furniture, and other dark places. The eggs incubate for many weeks before they hatch and every female cockroach (including her children) has the capacity to produce more than 600 new roaches every single year! That’s a lot of cockroaches!
The Oriental Cockroach
Size: 1.25 inches.
Color: Adult males are almost black in color and have wings that are usually shorter than their bodies. Adult females are also black in color but their wings are commonly underdeveloped.
Dwelling Locations: Places that are damp and cool are usually preferred. These roaches love areas such as garages, drains, woodpiles, ivy, and basements.
The Blatta Orientalis, otherwise known as the Oriental cockroach is oftentimes referred to as either the black beetle or a water bug. Found in damp, wet areas, these roaches survive in temperatures that are colder and often multiply to huge numbers when given the chance.
These roaches tend to move slower compared to the other species of roaches and come out at night in search of food within buildings and other damp areas. Oriental roaches can’t fly and don’t have the ability to walk on vertical, smooth surfaces. Therefore, they are commonly seen stuck in tubs and sinks. Similar to Brown-banded roaches, the Oriental roach also deposits egg cases that are dark red or brownish in color.
The Smoky Brown Cockroach
Size: 1.5 inches.
Color: Nymphs are usually dark brown in color. Their pronotum is slightly darker than their body and is almost black.
Dwelling Locations: Places that are damp and cool are usually preferred. They also like trees, attics, shrubs, planter boxes, and other vegetation.
Similar to Oriental roaches, these guys love to reside in garages, basements, and water meter boxes. You’ll also find them dwelling in trees and other vegetation. However, Smokybrown roaches are also commonly found in attics since they love the upper levels of buildings, unlike others that prefer lower levels.
Females are known to carry their egg cases, which are dark brown and blackish in color. They carry it for an entire day before delivering the goods. Each egg case can be at least 3/8th of an inch long. The cases typically produce at least 40-45 nymphs when they hatch. Hatching can occur anywhere within 24-70 days, depending on the temperature.
The American Cockroach
Size: 2 inches.
Color: Adults are usually reddish-brown in color. Their pronotum has a lighter color when compared to the body.
Dwelling Locations: Places that are warm and humid are usually preferred. They also love outdoor locations such as zoos, animal rearing facilities, storm drains, steam tunnels, and sewers. The Periplaneta Americana, also known as the American cockroach, loves environments that exceed at least 82 degrees F. Commonly dwelling in zoos and other warm locations, they are known to travel from sewers to buildings and reside in lower levels. Adult females attach their egg cases to protected surfaces, allowing them to incubate for at least 2 months.
The Turkestan Cockroach
Size: 1 inch.
Color: Adult females have colored markings that are cream in color. These markings are present behind its head and around the wings, which are short and have a yellow-colored tan. The wings also have stripes around the edges.
Dwelling Locations: The Blattalateralis, also known as the Turkestan cockroach, is found within concrete cracks, litters of leaves, plants and other compost piles. Also found in sewer systems, they are generally mistaken for roaches from other species. Adult females are very similar to Oriental roaches. The nymphs are usually dark red and black.
The Field Cockroach
Size: 0.5 inches
Color: Adults are usually grayish or olive-brown in color. Additionally, they have two stripes on the pronotum, including stripes between their eyes.
Dwelling Locations: Similar to Turkestan roaches, even these little guys like to reside in leaf litters and other plant debris. The Blatellavaga, also known as the field cockroach, is usually found outdoors but may invade your indoor area when the temperature is too hot to bear. They are olive in color, albeit darker when compared to German roaches; however, they are commonly mistaken for them. It takes about 3 months for a nymph to grow into an adult cockroach. Adult female field roaches tend to carry the egg cases, each case having the capacity to produce at least 30-40 roaches.