What is this thing?
Location: Northern Colorado
October 30, 2011 11:29 am
Last week cleaning out underneath our kids bed we found this bug. My wife threw it outside in the snow and it died pretty quick. Then she took pictures. I looked it up on the internet and the only match I found was a Hissing Madagascar Cockroach. Here is my issue. We have never had one as a pet and have lived in this house for 7 years. The people before us have lived here for 30 years. Our friend saw this bug 2 weeks earlier, other than that we haven’t seen anything like this. How did it get into our house and is it what I found on the internet?
Signature: Freaked Out In Colorado
Dear Freaked Out In Colorado,
We agree that this is a Cockroach, and we cannot immediately disregard that it is a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach. We believe it may be a Brown Hooded Cockroach or Wingless Wood Roach, Cryptocercus punctulatus, but we are waiting to confirm that identification with Eric Eaton. The Brown Hooded Cockroach is the closest match we were able to locate on BugGuide, however, the range is listed as: “Disjuct distribution in North America, occuring in mountainous areas of Oregon and northern California, as well as the Appalachian mountains in the eastern U.S.” Is your location mountainous, or high altitude? If our identification is correct, this is not a species of Cockroach that infests homes. According to BugGuide: “This species feeds on rotting logs, and is not a house pest like many other roaches, in fact it might be considered an important recycler of nutrients in decomposing wood.” Insects are amazingly adept at entering homes through small cracks in the foundation as well as via windows and doors, even if they are not species that find the human comforts to their liking.
I do live at high elevations. We are located in Fort Collins right next to the mountains. The roach measured between 50 to 60mm. Last thing, my wife said it never hissed while she was trying to get it.
Update from Eric Eaton
October 30, 2011
I agree this is most likely a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach. The Brown Hooded Roach looks different and does not occur in Colorado.
Update: October 31, 2011
If Eric Eaton is correct, the question now becomes how did a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach get under the bed. Here is what we know: Boys like bugs. Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches are available in pet stores and they reproduce well in captivity. Children play jokes on one another. We would not discount that either the child living in the home or a visiting friend either intentionally or accidentally released a domesticated Madagascar Hissing Cockroach in the bedroom.
So what are the odds that there are more in my house? By the way thanks for the help.
We strongly doubt that they are reproducing in your home.