Identifying & Eliminating American Cockroaches

Identifying & Eliminating American Cockroaches

When it comes to cockroaches, not many people come up with nice things to say. And who can blame them—cockroaches are nuisance pests that invade buildings and can spread disease.

American cockroaches are one of the most common types of cockroach found in homes and buildings throughout the United States. Despite its name, this species isn’t indigenous, however. It’s thought to have been introduced to the United States from Africa around the mid-1620s.


An American cockroach is usually 1 to 1½ inches long and has reddish-brown wings that can be used to fly short distances. Its life cycle—from egg to adult—is approximately 600 days.

The female American cockroach lays her eggs in a hardened, purse-shaped egg case and on average produces an egg case each month for 10 months, ultimately producing around 150 young in her lifetime.


American cockroaches consume decaying organic matter, such as leaves and mulch, but as with all scavengers, they will eat almost anything that’s available.

person opening sewerEnvironment

American cockroaches primarily live outdoors in moist, shady areas and are frequently found in sewers, drainage areas, mulch and wood piles. The roaches are drawn to human and animal waste, so it isn’t uncommon to also find them around dumps and sewage treatment facilities. They can also be found in many commercial spaces and large buildings.

As with all bugs, they’re attracted to places where food is prepared and stored, including places such as restaurants, grocery stores, and bakeries. American cockroaches can migrate indoors to avoid extreme weather or when searching for food or water sources.

joshua's technician treating for roachesTreatments

Having a regular pest prevention program that involves treatments throughout the year is the best way to prevent any insect from entering a structure where they don’t belong. There are a few steps you can take yourself to mitigate American cockroach populations if you spot them around your home or business.

Starting outdoors, remove piles of leaves or other natural debris that remain moist and are close to the structure or your home or business. Eliminate access to any exterior food sources that would draw these cockroaches in. Pick up pet waste and make sure garbage and recycling containers have lids that close completely. Be sure that food waste that may have been left outside is swept up and disposed of properly.

You can also inspect the outside of your home to see if there are any cracks or holes that could allow a cockroach inside—pay special attention to areas around doors and windows and caulk these openings to eliminate cockroach entry points.

Over-the-counter cockroach sprays may prove effective for the short term, but will not eliminate cockroaches alone. A professional pest control service will often use a combination of pellet baits, sticky traps, and outdoor residual sprays to produce results. Traps and baits are usually placed at the junctions of floors and walls and close to sites where cockroaches are suspected. Monitor areas where fecal matter, cast skins, egg cases or dead roaches are found.

Due to the health threats American cockroaches pose, solving the problem sooner rather than later is best for the peace of mind and health of everyone in the home or building where you’re seeing activity. Whether it’s cockroaches or other invasive insects, give us a call to help you with your home pest control needs.