Cockroaches have been around for millions of years. Throughout the years they have evolved to being one of the most adaptable pests in the world. There are about 4,000 species of cockroaches in the world and about 70 of those species of cockroaches are found in the United States.

Cockroaches prefer warmer environments and that is why they are found in places that we call home. Cockroaches can spread 33 different types of bacteria and can cause things like asthma and allergies, especially in children.

American Cockroach

Color: Reddish brown with yellowish figure 8 on the back of the head
Size: 1 ¼”- 2 1/8”
Shape: Oval
Wings: Yes
Legs: 6
Antennae: Yes
Region: Found worldwide

American Cockroach

Though the name American Cockroach makes it seem like they are only found in the United States, they are actually very common throughout the whole world. The American Cockroach prefers their living conditions to be outdoors, but it is not uncommon to find an infestation indoors. This specie of cockroach is the most common cockroach that is found in sewers as the right atmosphere of shady and humid areas are provided.

Like all cockroaches, the American Cockroach will not grow their wings until they become of adult age. A female American Cockroach can produce up to 150 offspring per year.

Cockroaches can bite, but it is rare if they do. If swelling or infection occurs at the bite site, seek medical attention. As far as their diet is concerned, they prefer to eat about anything like plants and other insects for instance. Cockroaches are dirty little pests and can cause illnesses like food poisoning if they have come in contact with food or utensils. They also shed their skin which releases allergens and can cause asthma and allergic reactions, especially in children.

Brown Banded Cockroach

Color: Brown
Size: ½”
Shape: Oval
Wings: Yes
Legs: 6
Antennae: Yes
Region: Found throughout the United States

The Brown Banded Cockroach gets its name from the brown band that streaks across its back. They are considered the smallest of all species of cockroaches. Because of their small stature, they prefer living in places like under the kitchen cabinets and behind pictures frames hung on walls.  The Brown Banded Cockroach does produce at an alarming rate given their lifespan of only 5-6 months. A female Brown Banded Cockroach will about 14 egg capsules in her lifetime. One egg capsule contains 10-18 eggs.

The Brown Banded Cockroach is primarily nocturnal but will still move throughout daytime hours. Because this specie of cockroach prefers to move in the nighttime hours, they can easily go undetected for a long period of time. Though you will likely see the actual cockroach as the first sign of an infestation, some may find their droppings which look like black speckles or smears. You may also find their egg capsules. The Brown Banded Cockroach leaves their egg capsules in places like under furniture. They look yellow and are about 5mm long.

Like all the other species of cockroaches, the Brown Banded Cockroaches biggest threat to humans is how they contaminate surfaces and foods that humans use. This causes illnesses like food poisoning which can be deadly to some.

American Cockroach in house.
Brown Banded Cockroach

Oriental Cockroaches

Color: Shiny black
Size: 1”
Shape: Oval
Wings: Yes and No
Legs: 6
Antennae: Yes
Region: Northern regions of the United States

Oriental Cockroach

The Oriental Cockroach is very large and dark in color with a shiny hard shell. As far as their diet goes, they prefer to munch on garbage and other organic material. They have also been known to live up to a month without food but cannot survive more than two weeks without water. Sometimes the Oriental Cockroach is referred to as being “water bugs” since they prefer dark, damp areas. The Oriental Cockroach can also be confused with a beetle as they have a shiny hard shell for their body. Males do have wings but do not fly.

Females do not have wings but have large wing pads that protect the first few segments of their bodies. To know if you have an Oriental Cockroach infestation you can look for a few of these signs. The first being sightings. This specie of cockroach prefers the warmth, so you will see them in the warmer months scurrying by in gutters, landscaping beds and in and out of sewer systems. Second, you will find their egg capsules.

These are dark brown in color and can contain up to 16 eggs. Finally, to you may smell the Oriental Cockroaches. They secrete an odorous chemical to communicate with other cockroaches. This smell is a musty odor.

German Cockroaches

Color: Brown to dark brown
Size: ½” – 5/8”
Shape: Oval
Wings: Yes
Legs: 6
Antennae: Yes
Region: Found throughout the world

German Cockroach

The German Cockroach is a very well-known indoor cockroach as it is most commonly found throughout the United States. German Cockroaches have quite the elaborate social structure. They have common shelter, social dependence, information transfer and kin recognition. German Cockroaches are found throughout the world and a well-known indoor specie of cockroach. German Cockroaches do have wings, but rarely fly as they prefer to run.

A German Cockroach infestation may begin by a stay at a house or hotel that currently has an infestation. They get into your home by simply hitching a ride in or on your luggage. And from there the German Cockroach infestation begins! They have very few natural predators so an infestation can happen very fast. They move to other rooms by using plumbing and pipes as their highway. Not only do German Cockroaches transport themselves through luggage, but also through used furniture, pre-owned electronics, and garbage containers.

They prefer climates that are warmer and more humid.

Like most cockroaches, the German Cockroach is a filthy pest that have no problem spreading their filth in our homes. Just by walking over food and utensils, they become contaminated with their feces. Which then in turn causes food poisoning, rashes and even asthma. Their droppings are very small and almost “pepper-like” to the human eye. The German Cockroach secretes a number of odorous compounds that smell musty.

German Cockroaches are scavengers and eat anything. Some examples of their diet include book bindings, toothpaste, crumbs, and soap. A female German Cockroach can lay 40 eggs at a time, but only need to mate one time to produce even more eggs. She will have 4-6 egg cases in her life. The young take about 2 months to mature with a life span of 100-200 days.