Types of Cockroaches – A Guide for Identifying and Eliminating Roaches

Types of Cockroaches

While there are thousands of identified types of cockroaches crawling around the world, fewer than 50 of those cockroach types are known to cause problems for humans. They are in the same animal family as termites, and they are among the most feared residential and commercial pests.

If you have ever turned on the light and seen a brown or black bug race across a counter top or disappear under the fridge, you need to learn more about the unwanted pests taking up residence in your home or place of business. There are some serious health risks associated with roach infestation,and the occasional cockroach sighting can turn into an unmistakable problem that interferes with your quality of life rather quickly.

The links presented on this page will take you to more detailed information about some of the most common types of roaches pestering households around the world today. Use this information to identify the types of roaches crawling in and around your home so that you can learn how to eliminate them for good.

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German Cockroach

This is the type of cockroach responsible for most residential infestations in the southern U.S. as well as in other places with tropical climates. Since they need a lot of warmth and a steady supply of food to survive, they’re common indoor pests that are difficult to eliminate once a major infestation is established. This type of roach is often confused with the Asian cockroach, but the German roach prefers to live indoors while the Asian roach mostly lives outdoors.

  • Average Size: 13-16 mm
  • Color: brown with black markings
  • Flying Roaches: no
  • Indoor/Outdoor Living Environment: indoor
  • Lifespan: 100 days
  • Eggs Hatched Per Ootheca: 30-40
  • Time to Hatch: approximately 1 month
  • Average Eggs Per Lifetime: 120-400
  • Risk of Infestation: high

German cockroach information page.

American Cockroach

While this is one of the largest types of cockroaches that are commonly found in North American buildings, they aren’t as prolific as the German cockroach when it comes to infestation. They need warmth to survive, so they are common intruders in Florida and some other southern states. In the northern United States, they’re commonly found in commercial buildings and inside drainage pipes. They also make their home under wood piles or mulch, so outdoor infestations are possible.

  • Average Length: 4 cm
  • Color: reddish brown with yellow band
  • Flying Roaches: yes
  • Indoor/Outdoor Living Environment: indoor or outdoor
  • Lifespan: 1,000 days
  • Eggs Hatched Per Ootheca: 16
  • Time to Hatch: 6-8 weeks
  • Average Eggs Per Lifetime: 160
  • Risk of Infestation: high

American cockroach information page.

Oriental Cockroach

This is one of the cockroach types that thrive in damp environments, and they are often referred to as “water bugs” due to their appearance in wet areas. They are also called “black beetles” due to their unusually dark color and beetle-like shape. Since they can tolerate cooler weather better than many other types of roaches and aren’t as dependent on humans for food, these roaches are commonly found around sidewalks or the foundation of buildings. They also thrive in wet basements, crawl spaces, drains and pipes.

  • Average Length: 22-27 mm
  • Color: black or very dark brown
  • Flying Roaches: no
  • Indoor/Outdoor Living Environment: mostly outdoors
  • Lifespan: 13-34 weeks
  • Eggs Hatched Per Ootheca: 16
  • Time to Hatch: 42-81 days
  • Average Eggs Per Lifetime: 128
  • Risk of Infestation: medium to low indoors, high outdoors

Brown-Banded Cockroach

If you see roaches climbing the walls or hanging out on the ceiling in a dry environment, there’s a good chance you’ve encountered brown-banded cockroaches, often referred to as “furniture roaches.” While many other roach types need to stay close to water sources for survival, these pests do best in dry environments and enjoy climbing up to high surfaces. They feed on starchy substances, so they’re often found inside books and furniture as well as simply crawling along the ceiling or walls. Even if your home or place of business is kept clean at all times, these roaches can find adequate food supplies and can quickly take over the property.

  • Average Length: 12 mm
  • Color: light to dark brown with light bands
  • Flying Roaches: males only
  • Indoor/Outdoor Living Environment: indoor
  • Lifespan: up to 10 months
  • Eggs Hatched Per Ootheca: 14-18
  • Time to Hatch: 37-103 days
  • Average Eggs Per Lifetime: 250
  • Risk of Infestation: medium to high

Australian Cockroach

While the name may suggest that these roaches live in Australia, they are often found living in outdoor environments in Florida and other North American locations with warm climates. It’s easy to confuse them with American cockroaches, but these roaches prefer outdoor living while American roaches are often found indoors. If you have an outdoor wood pile or allow leaves to collect on the ground, you may give these roaches the perfect environment to call home. They often seek out moisture, so drains and pipes are attractive as well.

  • Average Length: 32-25 mm
  • Color: reddish brown with light yellow bands
  • Flying Roaches: yes
  • Indoor/Outdoor Living Environment: primarily outdoors
  • Lifespan: approximately 12 months for males, up to 18 months for females
  • Eggs Hatched Per Ootheca: 24
  • Time to Hatch: 40 days
  • Average Eggs Per Lifetime: 480-720
  • Risk of Infestation: low for indoors, medium to high outdoors in warm climates

Western Wood Cockroach

These roaches are commonly found in Mexico and western states of the U.S., but they are often localized. This means that they are concentrated in certain areas rather than spread out across entire cities or states. They are typically found living in wooded locations, so you may identify them near tree stumps, on logs within a pile of firewood or underneath the bark of trees. They tend to stay in heavily wooded rural locations and aren’t common indoor pests.

  • Average Length: 9-15 mm
  • Color: dark brown, light yellow or reddish brown
  • Flying Roaches: yes
  • Indoor/Outdoor Living Environment: outdoor
  • Lifespan: up to 2 years
  • Eggs Hatched Per Ootheca: 32
  • Time to Hatch: Unknown
  • Average Eggs Per Lifetime: Unknown
  • Risk of Infestation: low

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Bug enthusiasts are often fascinated by this breed of cockroach because it features unique breathing holes that create a distinct hissing sound as air is forced through. If you’re imagining a large hissing roach living under your kitchen sink, you can rest assured that you won’t find these roaches infesting your home. They are often found in forests and prefer to live under leaves and in the dirt, so they aren’t common house pests in any part of the world. They are sometimes kept as pets, but that isn’t their preferred living environment.

  • Average Length: 5-7.5 cm
  • Color: shiny brown
  • Flying Roaches: no
  • Indoor/Outdoor Living Environment: outdoor
  • Lifespan: 2-5 years
  • Eggs Hatched Per Ootheca: 60
  • Time to Hatch: 60 days
  • Average Eggs Per Lifetime: 30-60
  • Risk of Infestation: extremely low

Asian Cockroach

When these roaches were first encountered in the southern United States, they were labelled German cockroaches. It wasn’t until their unusual behavior was observed that they were properly identified as Asian roaches. They originated from Japan but are now found in Florida. In the United States, they are often found as far north as South Carolina and as far east as Texas. While they are within the cockroach family, they are often considered garden pests due to their preference to live in the dirt amongst leaves, mulch and plant debris.

  • Average Length: 5-7.5 cm
  • Color: brown with black markings
  • Flying Roaches: yes
  • Indoor/Outdoor Living Environment: outdoor
  • Lifespan: 49 days for males, 104 days for females
  • Eggs Hatched Per Ootheca: 37
  • Time to Hatch: Unknown
  • Average Eggs Per Lifetime: 88
  • Risk of Infestation: extremely low

Smoky Brown Cockroach

These roaches look much like American cockroaches, but they are a bit smaller. They are flying scavengers always on the lookout for discarded food scraps, and they are quick to infest homes and businesses when they find humid conditions that provide lots of food. One distinguishing feature is their tendency to nest outdoors until they find suitable indoor living conditions. Once they discover an indoor location that meets their needs, they swarm in and are difficult to eliminate. You may find these roaches in Florida as well as in parts of Japan, but they aren’t as common as the American roach.

  • Average Length: 3 cm
  • Color: dark brown
  • Flying Roaches: yes
  • Indoor/Outdoor Living Environment: indoor and outdoor
  • Lifespan: 250-300 days
  • Eggs Hatched Per Ootheca: 20
  • Time to Hatch: 45 days
  • Average Eggs Per Lifetime: 140
  • Risk of Infestation: high

Surinam Cockroach

While these roaches aren’t likely to overtake your home or a commercial building, they do make themselves right at home in gardens and other outdoor settings where they can hide underneath mulch, behind plants or in small cracks. They love feeding on fresh fruits and vegetables and are known to burrow down into the ground. They are quite destructive when they infest a garden, so you need to get rid of them quickly before they destroy your plants.

  • Average Length: 18-25 mm
  • Color: dark brown or black
  • Flying Roaches: no
  • Indoor/Outdoor Living Environment: outdoor
  • Lifespan: 1 year
  • Eggs Hatched Per Ootheca: 24
  • Time to Hatch: Unknown
  • Average Eggs Per Lifetime: 72
  • Risk of Infestation: low indoors, moderate to high outdoors in tropical environments

Sand Cockroach

You won’t have to worry about an infestation of sand roaches unless your home is located close to sand dunes. They live in sand and are known to leave long grooves in the surface as they travel. Since they need a lot of heat to survive and absorb water vapor rather than living near water, they have earned the nickname “desert cockroach.” In the United States, these roaches are often seen in Colorado and California near the dunes, but they are often found in some other sandy areas of the world.

  • Average Length: 15-24 mm
  • Color: females reddish black, males brown
  • Flying Roaches: males only
  • Indoor/Outdoor Living Environment: outdoor
  • Lifespan: Unknown
  • Eggs Hatched Per Ootheca: Unknown
  • Time to Hatch: Unknown
  • Average Eggs Per Lifetime: Unknown
  • Risk of Infestation: low

Cuban Cockroach

Due to its unusual color for a roach, this is one of the most popular types for people who collect cockroaches as pets. They originated from Cuba but are now found in Florida as well as along the Gulf Coast and in parts of Texas. They prefer to live outdoors around plants, wood piles, mulch and trees, but they may go indoors due to their natural attraction to light. They are more active in the evening and nighttime than the daylight hours, so you may notice them hanging around porch or street lights in areas of infestation. It is unlikely that these roaches will nest or breed indoors.

  • Average Length: 12-18 mm
  • Color: light green with yellow markings
  • Flying Roaches: yes
  • Indoor/Outdoor Living Environment: outdoor
  • Lifespan: 20 months
  • Eggs Hatched Per Ootheca: 30
  • Time to Hatch: 2 months
  • Average Eggs Per Lifetime: unknown
  • Risk of Infestation: low

Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach

While many cockroaches common to the United States stay in the southern states for warmth, this wood roach is commonly found throughout the eastern half of the country as well as in Canada. While many other roach types have been transferred into the U.S. from other countries, this is one roach that is native to the United States. Like other types of wood cockroaches, the Pennsylvania roach can’t survive for long indoors and prefers to live underneath tree bark, in tree stumps or holes and within piles of firewood and mulch.

  • Average Length: 22-29 mm
  • Color: brown
  • Flying Roaches: males only
  • Indoor/Outdoor Living Environment: outdoor
  • Lifespan: 3 months
  • Eggs Hatched Per Ootheca: 32-36
  • Time to Hatch: 34 days
  • Average Eggs Per Lifetime: 960-1,080
  • Risk of Infestation: low indoors, moderate to high outdoors

Scientific Name of Cockroach

German Cockroach – Blattella Germanica
American Cockroach – Periplaneta Americana
Oriental Cockroach – Blatta Orientalis
Brown-Banded Cockroach – Supella Longipalpa
Australian Cockroach – Periplaneta Australasiae
Western Wood Cockroach – Parcoblatta Americana
Madagascar Hissing Cockroach – Gromphadorhina Portentosa
Asian Cockroach – Blattella Asahinai
Smoky Brown Cockroach – Periplaneta Fuliginosa
Surinam Cockroach – Pycnoscelus Surinamensis
Sand Cockroach – Arenivaga Erratica
Cuban Cockroach – Panchlora Nivea
Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach – Parcoblatta Pensylvanica

Did this guide provide the information that you needed to identify and eliminate specific types of cockroaches infesting your home or place of business? If so, feel free to leave a comment below to help others fight the battle of cockroach elimination and we’ll keep updating our main guide here. If not, please contact us with the roach type that you are interested in learning more about. Our goal is to provide thorough and accurate information for all humans interested in learning more about cockroach types.

Resources:

http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/roaches/german.htm
http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/roaches/american_cockroach.htm
http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/roaches/oriental_cockroach.htm
http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/oriental-cockroaches
http://nysipm.cornell.edu/nysipm/factsheets/buildings/brown-banded_cockroach.pdf
http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/brown-banded-cockroaches
http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/URBAN/ROACHES/australian_cockroach.htm
http://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/western_wood_cockroach
http://eol.org/pages/1074947/details
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/bugs/madagascar-hissing-cockroach/
http://agweb.okstate.edu/fourh/aitc/lessons/extras/cockroach.pdf
https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef014
http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/roaches/asian_cockroach.htm
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2006/01/11/environment/smoky-brown-cockroach/#.VuPTeuZ1jIV
https://msb.unm.edu/divisions/arthropods/resources/arthropods%20gallery/desert-sand-cockroach.html
http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/pennsylvania-wood-cockroaches

1 thought on “Types of Cockroaches – A Guide for Identifying and Eliminating Roaches”

  1. we live in Houston, TX. Recently I found 2 separate instances of a small roach that flies easily & effortlessly & for longer distances than I had ever seen any other roach do.
    It looks like the common, small indoor house roach that we see in Houston. But it flies so much & so easily.
    Is this a mutation? A new species?

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