Table of Contents
- 1 HOW DO I KNOW IF IT’S A COCKROACH?
- 2 WHAT DOES A GERMAN COCKROACH LOOK LIKE?
- 3 WHAT DOES AN AMERICAN COCKROACH LOOK LIKE?
- 4 WHAT DOES A BROWN-BANDED COCKROACH LOOK LIKE?
- 5 WHAT DOES AN ORIENTAL COCKROACH LOOK LIKE?
- 6 WHAT DOES A SMOKY-BROWN COCKROACH LOOK LIKE?
- 7 GET RID OF ROACHES FOR GOOD WITH JOSHUA’S PEST CONTROL
- 8 SOURCES
- 9 AUTHOR BIO
Cockroaches are insects that fall within the order Blattodea. There are around 4,600 different species, though not all of them call the United States home.
Most roaches look similar. They have long, thread-like antennae that are sometimes as long as their bodies. They have oval-shaped bodies that may appear brown, reddish brown, tan, or black.
Some roaches have wings. Others do not. Still, they’ll catch your eye since they’re slightly shiny.
Almost all roaches prefer to live in humid, moist environments. They also prefer the dark, which means you may see them more often at night or when the lights are off.
Still, there are other insects that can be confused with roaches. How will you know that you’re dealing with cockroaches and not something else? Here’s what you need to know.
HOW DO I KNOW IF IT’S A COCKROACH?
Cockroaches are oval-shaped, usually brown, have six legs, and have long antennae. They’re fairly large, usually between a half-inch and two inches.
If you see a bug that looks like that, there’s a risk that it could be a cockroach, but there are other signs that can help you verify whether it’s a roach. Here are a few early signs of a roach infestation that might indicate that it’s time to call in our pest control service:
IT SMELLS WEIRD INSIDE
Cockroaches create an unusual smell that might be one of the first indicators of their presence. Their smell can be described as musty, oily, or moist. In any case, if your home starts to take on an unusual smell when it had none before, it’s time to look into what kinds of pests might be hiding out there.
YOU SEE DROPPINGS
Roaches leave smears and droppings behind when they travel. Their droppings may look like dark specks or coffee grounds. If you see fecal matter like this, put roaches on your list of possible culprits.
YOU FIND EXOSKELETONS
Roaches can’t grow without shedding their exoskeletons. You may find their skins in dark, moist places, such as crawl spaces, when an infestation is present.
YOU FIND EGG CASES
As an infestation grows, it’s more likely that you’ll stumble upon egg cases. All roach species are different, so where you’ll find egg cases varies. Look for red or brown oblong cases (or several clumped together).
YOUR ALLERGIES ARE GOING HAYWIRE
One of the first signs of an infestation is having your allergies act up. Many people are allergic to roaches, so if you have new or worsening allergies with no other apparent cause, it may be time to look into the possibility of a hidden roach infestation.
THERE ARE DEAD ROACHES
It’s never nice to find insects in your home, but if you’re finding dead roaches, then you could be dealing with a much bigger infestation. Don’t panic, though, since not all kinds of roaches breed and live in houses. Some, like smoky-brown roaches, prefer breeding outside and tend to be less problematic than German roaches, for example.
If you do find roaches inside, you can take some quick steps to minimize the infestation. Removing all food sources, like pet food or access to pantries, can help. You can also repair any damage to the home that is causing moisture to collect, like leaky pipes.
With that said, roaches can be tough to get rid of, so calling our experts is a good idea. We can help identify the specific kind of roach you’re dealing with and take the right steps to get them out of your home.
WHAT DOES A GERMAN COCKROACH LOOK LIKE?
German roaches (Blattella germanica) are extremely common—in fact, they’re the most common species in the entire world.
German roaches tend to invade human spaces, so it’s not uncommon to see them. They are different from the smoky-brown roaches, which tend to stay away from human habitats and instead live in outdoor, wooded areas.
They also stand apart from other kinds of roaches because they grow large (up to ⅝ inches long and sometimes larger) and are light brown or tan rather than dark brown or black. Females are usually darker than males, and both sexes have nearly parallel stripes running down their backs.
These roaches can fly, but they choose not to under most circumstances. They run instead, skittering across surfaces in kitchens or bathrooms with ease.
Like other roaches, the German cockroach is oval-shaped and has six legs. It’s found all over the U.S.
WHAT DOES AN AMERICAN COCKROACH LOOK LIKE?
An American roach (Periplaneta americana) is the largest cockroach of the peridomestic (living in or around human habitats) variety. They are usually around 4 cm—nearly two inches—long. This kind of roach is usually reddish brown. It can also have a yellow or pale brown band around its pronotum (the platelike structure that covers the thorax).
Males and females have cerci (sensory appendages) at the tip of the abdomen. They look like a short pair of pincers. Male cerci are made up of 18 to 19 segments, while female’ cerci have only 13 or 14. Males also have styli, which are finger-like appendages, and you’ll see them between the cerci.
WHAT DOES A BROWN-BANDED COCKROACH LOOK LIKE?
Brown-banded cockroaches (Supella longipalpa) are small cockroaches that grow to only around a half-inch long. They have six legs and are shaped like an oval.
Their coloration is overall brown, but they do have banding across the wings. The banding is lighter than the rest of the body.
Males are usually darker than females, and they also have full wings, while females have underdeveloped wings.
As far as living environments go, these roaches are found all over the U.S.
WHAT DOES AN ORIENTAL COCKROACH LOOK LIKE?
Oriental roaches (Blatta orientalis) are among the larger roach species and can sometimes grow up to an inch long. They have six legs and are shiny black in color. They, like other kinds of roaches, are oval-shaped, too.
Females tend to be longer than males, growing up to 32 mm. Males usually reach only 25 mm. Females have no wings, but males do (although they are small, three-quarter wings).
These roaches tend to live in the northern parts of the U.S.
WHAT DOES A SMOKY-BROWN COCKROACH LOOK LIKE?
The smoky-brown roach (Periplaneta fuliginosa) grows between 25 and 38 mm long. It’s usually darkly colored, appearing as deep brown or black.
Interestingly, unlike other kinds of roaches, this type’s males and females both have wings and are great fliers. They have no significant markings when they’re adults, but nymphs go from black to brown to brown with a white mark on the mesothorax as they grow. Coloration is a good way to know how old the roach might be and the likelihood that eggs have hatched in your home.
GET RID OF ROACHES FOR GOOD WITH JOSHUA’S PEST CONTROL
Whether you’ve found a living roach or stumbled upon unusual coffee ground-like messes on your counters, it’s time to look into what you can do to identify the problem and eliminate it.
If you’ve found roaches in your home or suspect they’re the problem, it’s time to take a step back and let the professionals come in to help. Roaches are notoriously difficult to get rid of, but we have the tools and experience at Joshua’s Pest Control necessary to help.
Courtney Enzor has worked in the pest control industry for about a decade. From helping you build a fly trap to giving you the best tips for identifying various bugs, she loves answering all your pest-related questions and sharing her pest-related expertise through writing. At the end of the day, she hopes her content will help people avoid mishaps and keep families happy and healthy!