How to Keep Cockroaches Away at Night: Simple and Effective Tips

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Cockroaches are pesky insects that can be a major nuisance in our households, often coming out at night to scavenge for food and water. These nocturnal creatures can spread diseases and contribute to allergies, making it crucial to keep them away from our living spaces. In this article, we will discuss some useful strategies to deter these unwelcome guests and maintain a clean, cockroach-free home.

One vital aspect of keeping cockroaches at bay is proper sanitation. Make sure to clean up any food spills and crumbs and store food in tightly sealed containers or the refrigerator. It’s also important to dispose of your garbage regularly, using sealed containers and emptying them daily, preferably in the evening.

Another effective measure to keep these insects out of your home is to eliminate their hiding spots. Cockroaches love to reside in crevices, so sealing any gaps or cracks around your house can go a long way in preventing their entry. Be vigilant about checking the items you bring into your home, such as grocery bags or boxes, as they can be a way for cockroaches to hitch a ride inside.

Understanding Cockroach Behavior at Night

Cockroach Types and Activity Patterns

There are several types of cockroaches, but the two most common species found in homes are the German cockroach and the American cockroach.

  • German cockroach: About 75% of its life is spent hiding in narrow cracks during the day.
  • American cockroach: Usually hides in dark, moist areas during daytime hours.

Both species are nocturnal, meaning they are more active at night.

Seeking Food, Water, and Shelter

Cockroaches venture out in search of food, water, and shelter. They will eat all human foods, plus other items such as soap, toothpaste, and hair (source). They also seek out porous surfaces like wood, cardboard, and paper, which can absorb their odor and attract other cockroaches (source).

Why Roaches Are More Active at Night

Roaches prefer dark and secluded areas, making them more active during the night. At nighttime, they can avoid exposure, search for food and water more efficiently, and reproduce undisturbed. Avoiding light and remaining hidden is crucial for their survival.

Preventing Cockroach Infestations

Cleaning and Decluttering Tips

  • Keep your home clean: Regularly clean and vacuum your home, paying special attention to the kitchen and dining areas where crumbs and food debris can accumulate.
  • Declutter: Reduce clutter, especially around the kitchen, to eliminate potential hiding places for cockroaches. Remove cardboard boxes, bags, and unnecessary items.

Keep a clean home is essential to keep cockroaches away, as emphasized by Rutgers University researchers.

Proper Food Storage

  • Sealed containers: Store all food items in tightly sealed containers or airtight bags.
  • Clean cabinets and pantry: Regularly clean the inside of cabinets, drawers, and pantry areas to remove food debris.
  • Keep counters clean: Wipe down kitchen counters daily.

Sealing Entry Points

  • Inspect doors and windows: Ensure that doors and windows close properly and there are no gaps for pests to enter.
  • Seal cracks: Examine walls and foundation for cracks and gaps; use appropriate sealants to close any entry points.
  • Check pipes and sinks: Make sure there are no leaks or gaps around pipes and sinks that may provide water access for cockroaches.
Cleaning Tip Pros Cons
Vacuuming regularly Removes crumbs and debris, decreasing cockroach attraction Requires time and effort
Sealing entry points Helps keep pests out May require professional assistance

Practicing proper cleaning, food storage, and sealing entry points are all essential steps in preventing cockroach infestations and maintaining a pest-free home.

Using Repellents and Traps

Essential Oils and Natural Remedies

  • Mint oil: A natural repellent that can be dabbed on cotton balls and placed in areas where cockroaches frequent.
  • Diatomaceous earth: A powder that can be sprinkled around your home to deter roaches, as it causes them to dehydrate and die1.
  • Borax and baking soda: Combine these two substances in equal parts, then add just enough water to make a thick paste. Spread the mixture in areas frequented by roaches.

Chemical Baits and Insecticides

  • Gel bait: Effective against roaches, can be applied in cracks and crevices where they hide2. Roaches eat the bait and bring it back to their nests, eventually killing the whole colony.
  • Boric acid: A powder that can be used as a barrier around your home. When roaches walk through the powder, it sticks to their bodies and gets ingested, killing them over time3.
Method Pros Cons
Gel bait Long-lasting effect May not work for all species
Boric acid Low toxicity to humans Takes time to work

Glue Traps and Mechanical Solutions

  • Glue strips: Capture roaches by trapping them on a sticky surface4. Place these strips strategically in areas where roaches have been spotted.
  • Sealing gaps: Locate and seal gaps and cracks in your home to prevent entry for roaches.

Further precautions:

  • Store your food in airtight containers.
  • Clean up spills promptly.
  • Dispose of garbage regularly in sealed garbage cans.

With these methods and precautions, you can effectively keep cockroaches at bay and maintain a pest-free home.

Addressing Environmental Factors

Fixing Leaks and Plumbing Issues

Cockroaches thrive in damp environments, so fixing leaks and plumbing issues is vital. One common issue is leaky faucets in the bathroom. Promptly fixing these issues can significantly reduce cockroach infestations.

  • Pros: Less moisture reduces cockroach attraction to the area.
  • Cons: Fixing plumbing issues may be costly and time-consuming.

Reducing Dampness and Humidity

Eliminate damp areas in your home by:

  • Keeping dishes clean and dry.
  • Regularly sweeping and cleaning floors to remove damp leftovers.
  • Using a dehumidifier in areas prone to dampness, such as the basement.

reduced dampness decreases the likelihood of attracting cockroaches and addressing asthma and allergies

Cockroach-Proofing Storage Areas

Follow these tips for cockroach-proofing storage areas:

  • Store food in sealed containers.
  • Use diatomaceous earth around storage areas to deter cockroaches.

Comparison of German and American Cockroaches:

Feature German Cockroaches American Cockroaches
Preferred Hiding Spots Kitchen counters and small spaces Sewer systems and damp, dark areas in old buildings
Allergen Production High-risk to humans with allergies and asthma Lower risk compared to German cockroaches
Food Sources Leftovers, bacteria Various food sources, less dependent on human leftovers
Life Cycle Faster breeding rate Slower breeding rate compared to German cockroaches
Difficulty to Exterminate Usually requires a pest control expert Easier to manage with basic cleaning and DIY pest control

In conclusion, addressing environmental factors like leaks, dampness, and storage areas can help to keep cockroaches away at night. Remember to maintain a clean and dry home to deter these uninvited guests.


  1. Diatomaceous Earth and its Benefits

  2. Cockroach Baiting Strategies

  3. How to Use Boric Acid for Cockroach Control

  4. Tips for Using Cockroach Glue Traps

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Unknown Cockroach from Hawaii is Harlequin Cockroach


tasty looking cockroach
October 2, 2009
i have a cockroach that sort of resembles an oriental cockroach, but the pattern on its back differs from an oriental cockroach. it is a bit smaller than 1 1/2 inches. I got this cockroach from Ewa Beach, Hawaii.
Ewa Beach, Hawaii

Harlequin Cockroach

Hi curious,
Hawaii is the home of numerous introduced species that are crowding out the endemic wildlife.  We are posting your image in the hopes that someone will write in with a species identification.  Unless it is a wingless species, it is an immature individual.

October 3, 2009
A special thanks to Karl who identified this Harlequin Cockroach,
Neostylopyga rhombifolia, a Southeast Asian species that has become established elsewhere in the world, including Hawaii.  For more information read Karl’s comment and check out this website:

Letter 2 – Worst Story Ever: Cockroach Infestation in Poland cured with Borax Potato Balls


cockroach infestation cured by pharmacist
May 4, 2011 7:55 pm
Hi there.  This is possibly a candidate for Worst Stories Ever…I don’t know if you approve of killing cockroaches, so perhaps this will be an unwelcome post, but I have a feeling you don’t approve of them living in your home with you. 🙂
I have a story about my grandma in Poland who, through her pharmacist’s suggestion, was able to end her horrible cockroach infestation with nothing more than what she had around the house and an hour of her time.
My grandma lives in a very old building and has not had the money to do any upkeep for many years.  After visiting her one time I looked forward to my next visit, as she raised me, and was horrified upon getting there, to find out that she was dealing with a cockroach infestation.  Although an animal fan, I am beyond scared when it comes to crawly things that live with you.  They were in the fridge, on the floor, walked on top of the couch, and fell on my hand once when I opened the light.  She was already used to it.  I barely survived staying there 2 weeks, but a year later I got the news that the infestation was over.
How is this possible?  I was dreading my grandmother coming down with some illness and having nightmares of them taking over the house, and here they just disappeared?  Apparently she had gone to the pharmacy, as she often needed to for her meds, and happen to mention the problem.  The pharmacist told her the cure-all and within a couple of weeks (if not faster) it was over.
She boiled some potatoes till they were soft, and rolled them into balls with (sorry I’m not sure) either borax or another laundry detergent, and placed them around the house, and in the closets, etc.  The balls disappeared and they’ve never returned.
Is this a known solution? I don’t care either way though – I’ve never been so thankful for a mass murder! 🙂
Signature: Maggie

Hi Maggie,
We do not think less of your grandmother for using the described method to rid her home of Cockroaches.  Boric Acid is a well known insect deterrent.  Here is an interesting account we found on the internet.  Here is an account of Borax used to deter ants.

Letter 3 – Wood Roach


Thinking the worst, hoping for the best.
March 31, 2010
When I first saw this bug it was at night & it flew from my hallway to my livingroom. By the time I went to get a container to catch it to find out what it was, it was gone. About ten minutes later it was flying towards one of my livingroom lights. As I attempted to catch it, it ran pretty quickly on the floor. My husband has tried to calm my nerves by saying that it’s just a water bug that’s come in the house. We live in the country & we recently had high water & our septic backed up in the yard because of the creek behind the house. I don’t believe him & think that it’s a type of roach. This is the largest one that I’ve seen in the house. & the last time that I saw a similar bug was over 2 years ago when we had high water & our septic pipes f ell. I have two young children & am worried that I may have the start of an infestation. I put a 32v standard auto fuse (sorry no coins near by) beside it to show you how big it is.
Nervous Ninny
Eastern Ohio

Wood Roach

Dear Nervous Ninny,
Calm your nerves.  Yes it is a Cockroach, but luckily it is not a species that infests homes.  This is a Wood Roach in the genus Parcoblatta.  Wood Roaches are much happier outside in the woods, but they are attracted to light.  Again, let us reiterate that Wood Roaches do not infest homes.  You can read more about them on BugGuide.  You are our third letter today from Ohio, including one from our home town Youngstown.  We wonder, perhaps, if there was some local publicity.

Letter 4 – Turkestan Cockroaches


Unknown bug next to American cockroach
Location: So Cal Hi Desert City of Adelanto zip 92301
July 30, 2011 7:54 pm
I was having trouble with the American cockroach in my lawn, but not in the house. This morning I sprayed around the house and the lawn and I found this dark brown striped bug by some dead cockroaches. What is is? I only found one so far as compared to many dead cockroaches that came out of my lawn after I sprayed.
Signature: Bill Riechel

Male Turkestan Cockroach (above) and female

Hi Bill,
These are both Cockroaches.  The individual you are calling the American Cockroach is lighter than we would expect.  How large was the dark brown striped Cockroach?  American Cockroaches are quite large.  We are going to try to get some assistance from Eric Eaton on this identification.

Male Turkestan Cockroach (above) and female

As we continued to browse BugGuide, we found this unidentified Cockroach from Riverside California.  This may be a new introduction, or a newly discovered native species.  Hopefully, we will get some additional information.

Female Turkestan Cockroach (left) and male

Eric Eaton provides and identification
August 1, 2011
Male (right) and female (left) Turkestan Cockroach, Blatta lateralis.  They are a common “outdoor” roach in urban areas here in Tucson.

Ed. Note:  See BugGuide

Update from Bill
August 3, 2011
Subject: Turkestan Cockroach
Location: Adelanto, CA 92301
August 3, 2011 3:45 pm
When I wrote the other day for bug ID I was wrong on the lighter color cockroach as I thought it was an American, but is only about 1” long and in my research I found that it is the male Turkestan cockroach. I have now caught a female and have attached a set of photos here, but in al my searching I was never able to ID the bigger striped bug which is about 1.5” long.
Signature: Bill Riechel

Turkestan Cockroaches, female above

Ed. Note:  August 4, 2011
We are in agreement with Bill that he now has a pair of Turkestan Cockroaches, and we feel that the previously submitted images contain the unknown Cockroach that is similar to one posted to
BugGuide.  We are going to recontact Eric Eaton to ask him to revisit his original identification.

Hi Daniel:
So you don’t think it could be a drown female that is bloated as per Eric’s answer?
The body segments match in number and the strip on the wing buds is the same and if it was swollen then the head maybe pushed out from under its protective shell.  I don’t know!
I am going to try and catch a live female and drop her in a bucket of water for a couple of days to see if I can duplicate the swelling effect from drowning.
Last night I inspected my lawn area where the heaviest concentration of the roaches were and even with a flash light I could find none, nor did I even see any possible movement.  I used “Bayer Advanced Complete Insect Control”  in the quart bottle that attaches to you hose.  I did all around the house 2 feet up the stucco and 2 feet out from the house on my gravel that surrounds most of the house and my lawn.
I then sprayed “Ortho Home Defense Max”  around the house at the bottom of the stucco where the stucco breather strip is.  The next morning when I walked around the house I found more dead Turkestan males, 3 dead black widows and a few dead silverfish.
I have only seen 9 females as compared to numerous males.  What is the normal ratio of females to males?
Thanks for all the help!

Eric Eaton confirms his original identification
The “unknown” roach is a bloated, probably drowned, female Turkestan Roach, plain and simple.

Update:  Scientific Experiment verifies identity
August 8, 2011
Hi Daniel & Eric:
I found a female Turkestan cockroach and put her in a cup of water and it took two days for her to swell up and expose the white bands of her body segments, also her head came out from under the protection of the shell to look just like the one I pictured for ID.



Letter 5 – Spotted Mediterranean Cockroach


Subject:  confusion about this bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Gloucester, MA
Date: 06/29/2018
Time: 07:32 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi! Every summer we find these, especially on the porch (climbing around on people in the hammock!), and up in the bedrooms. They look a little like cockroaches except they don’t care about light and they prefer dry places and we never see them in the house when it’s under 65° outside, which doesn’t seem to match any cockroach I ever heard of.   Also they only seem to come in the one form and they are small, around half an inch long, and very fast.  No obvious stripes or markings, just a shiny brown. Any help would be appreciated!
How you want your letter signed:  Tara

Spotted Mediterranean Cockroach

Dear Tara,
This is indeed a Cockroach, and based on BugGuide images, we have identified it as a Spotted Mediterranean Cockroach,
Ectobius pallidus.  According to BugGuide:  “earliest record in our area: MA 1948.”  According to a comment posted to a BugGuide posting:  “A species that prefers to live and breed outdoors rather than indoors, nothing to worry about! 🙂 Any individuals that make it indoors will soon perish from lack of appropriate food and water if they can’t find their way back outside.”

Letter 6 – Red-Head Roach from South Africa


Subject: identify bug
Location: Bedfordview, Gauteng, South Africa
September 12, 2016 9:15 am
Hi There,
Please see attached pic.
I saw it on my balcony and took a pic as really not sure what it is, to my surprise I had a broom on the balcony when I moved it there were a lot more of them in the brush.
Please be so kind as to identify and provide more info.
Much appreciated
Signature: Adele Beukes-de Lange

Red Headed Cockroach
Red-Head Roach

Dear Adele,
Thanks to this iSpot image and this iSpot image, we at first speculated that this is a Red Headed Cockroach,
Deropeltis erythrocephala, though we had some doubts as to the species as your individual has black legs and the wings seem different, both of which are contrary to the other iSpot images.  We continued to search and we believe we found a better match with the Red-Head Roach, Oxyhaloa deusta, on Roach Crossing.  This iSpot image is a much closer match.

Letter 7 – Sand Roach, we believe


Subject: Pale Cockroach?
Location: Montecito Heights, CA
June 22, 2012 12:50 pm
I am hoping you can help me with this little guy/girl? I found him on my glass door at night so I imagine it was attracted to the light. I thought it was a moth at first but it moves more like a slow spastic cockroach – and rather looks like one.
I kept him in a jar for a couple of days till I finally had the chance to photograph him this morning.
What I observed: Hid under the dirt & debris I had put in the jar for him. Didn’t seem interested in either the tomato or rice I put in but I figured the moisture would still be helpful.
When I set him free on my spinach he just hunkered down so I took more pictures. Tends to play dead rather than flee when disturbed. Wings appear a milky moth grey/brown and are somewhat translucent on top. Never got a good look at his other pair of wings. Approximately 1″ long & 3/8″ wide. Found nothing on the web that looked like him but I am thinking some kind of imported cockroach. In any event, whatever it is – it’s in my spinach plants now.
Thank you for any help on this 🙂
Signature: joAnn

Possibly Sand Roach

August 12, 2012
Dear Bugman,
Last night I found another live specimen of my unknown cockroach. (There have been a couple in the Daddy Long Legs webs this week.)
I am completely baffled by it – and quite enamored with the patterns on it’s wings.
As far as behavior, they seem attracted to light and they tend to flutter/scuttle in an electric shock sort of way. Not sure if this is normal or maybe they are nearing the end of their life span.
In any event, here are the pictures I just took. I am planning on freeing him tonight.
joAnn Ortiz
Rose Hills/Montecito Heights, CA 90032

Possibly Sand Roach

Hi joAnn,
Greetings from the other side of the Historic Arroyo Parkway.  We are your neighbors in Mount Washington, so we share many of the same species.  We believe this is a Sand Roach in the genus
Arenivaga, though the markings on your specimen do not exactly match the images posted to BugGuide.  Sand Roaches are frequently attracted to lights and the behavior you describe is very consistent with Sand Roaches.  We are going to contact Eric Eaton to see if he can confirm or dispute our identification.  Now that we have responded, we want to apologize for not responding to your original submission.  Especially during the summer when identification requests are especially numerous, our small staff is only able answer a fraction of the mail we receive.

Eric Eaton confirms Sand Roach identity
Yep, it is a male.  Females are wingless and rarely surface from under the sand.

Letter 8 – Venezuelan Cockroach


Venezuelan bug.
Hi Bugman!
I’m a Brit living in Venezuela. I found you while trying to identify (unsuccessfully) a new visitor to our home. We get used to seeing all kinds of weird bugs, but after 12 years here, this is the first time I’ve seen a bug like this one. I guess it’s some sort of cockroach by the underside, but its top shell is like some kind of armour with a translucent "helmet".

Unlike cockroaches we’re used to, this one was fairly slow-moving, and "scuttled" rather than running, somewhat like a woodlouse. It wouldn’t scuttle far, and then seemed to "hunker down" and wait for some aggressive movement before moving again. It doesn’t have wings like the big roaches that fly in from outside, and the "shell" seems to be sticky, with debris stuck to it. My wife didn’t sympathize with my curiosity, and I had to zap it with bug spray to quieten her down. She wouldn’t let me keep it either, so I hope it wasn’t an important bug, because it’s gone to cockroach heaven now. I’ve attached three pictures.
Fascinating website – Congratulations. I spent an interesting couple of hours reading all your entries. Is there anything particularly interesting about the bug I’ve sent? I’d love to know.
Best wishes from Venezuela.
Terence Jeal

Hi Terrence,
I am not going to be able to help you with an exact species identification, but it is a species of Cockroach from the Order Blattodea. Hogue, one of our favorite experts, sums things up nicely when he writes: “Cockroaches are much maligned insects. A few pesky species ave given a bad name to the whole order of thousands of species, including more than fifty in North America. The few ‘bad’ cockroaches are common household pests in most warm parts of the world. By far the majority of kinds, however, are very interesting ‘wild’ cockroaches that inhabit caves, burrow in sand dunes, live in ant nests, or exhibit other unusual life histories. Cockroaches are also not all drably colored like the familiar household varieties. Many tropical species sport yellow, red, green, and othe colors on their bodies and wings and are quiet beautiful.” Thanks for sending in the photos of a very interesting looking cockroach.

Letter 9 – Rubber Roach


Subject: What is this?
Location: Midwest
November 9, 2016 12:15 pm
I woke up to find this in my kitchen. It was dead and about 3inches long. It was on the flatter side and looked to have those ” prickly” things coming off its legs.
We have the occasional spider and silverfish but nothing like this.
If it helps we live in Illinois . Lake in the hills to be exact.
Signature: Steph

Rubber Roach
Rubber Roach

Dear Steph,
Someone is the butt of a practical joke, but we are not certain if it is you or us.  While we were able to locate numerous Rubber Roaches online, including this Ebay set, we could not locate an exact visual match to your Rubber Roach.

You are exactly right. I’M the joke. My 12 yr old daughter thought it would be funny and decided to tell me last night.
Damn kids lol. Sorry for wasting your time .

Hi again Stephanie,
No need to apologize.  We are not a stodgy insect identification site, and we try our best to interject humor into our responses.  Fake insects are getting more and more realistic.

Letter 10 – Sand Cockroach


Upon returning from the movies (Prestige has grown on us) we inspected the insects that were attracted to the garage light at our Mt Washington, Los Angeles offices. We have been seeing Painted Arachnis Moths lately and they are laying eggs on the wooden siding. Tonight, to our glee, there was a Sand Cockroach in the genus Arenivaga. This winged male was attracted to the light. Most members of the Cockroach order are benign creatures that do not infest homes, and the Sand Cockroach is one of the native species that should not cause homemakers any grief. This genus is often found near sand dunes and in areas with sandy soil.

Letter 11 – Sand Cockroach


Subject:  What’s this bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Northeastern Arizona
Date: 09/03/2017
Time: 12:19 AM EDT
He takes small little skitters at a time. Never more than a second long stride. Kind reminded me of a cockroach but also like a beetle. Is it dangerous to my kids?
How you want your letter signed:  Curious Momma

Male Sand Cockroach

Dear Curious Momma,
Based on this BugGuide image, we are quite confident you encountered a male Sand Cockroach in the genus
Arenivaga, a harmless group that does not invade homes, but since males can fly and since they are attracted to lights, they are sometimes encountered indoors.  Flightless female Sand Cockroaches are generally found underground.

Male Sand Cockroach

Letter 12 – Sand Cockroach


Subject:  Reminds me of a trilobite
Geographic location of the bug:  Colorado
Date: 09/08/2018
Time: 10:56 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this bug crawling in a basement in northern Colorado,  it’s about as big as the tip of my thumb and reminded me of the ancient trilobite! Any idea as to what it really is?
How you want your letter signed:  Thank you

Sand Cockroach

This is a Sand Cockroach in the genus Arenivaga, a group that does not infest homes.  Here is a BugGuide image for comparison.

Letter 13 – Wood Cockroach we believe


Subject: Very odd bug… An albino cockroach?
Location: SE Virginia
January 28, 2016 1:07 pm
I saw this bug in Norfolk, VA on an unseasonably warm day in January- 65 degrees. Our weather has fluctuated from 30 degrees and snow to 60 and sunny with a weeks time.
The bug was on a city sidewalk near a building’s door. It appeared to have be steeped in and was barely alive. I have never seen anything like it, nor has anyone I’ve asked.
It looked to me like a moth at first, but it’s wings were more like that of a cockroach.
Signature: Thank you in advance!Kara in VA

Wood Cockroach
Wood Cockroach

Hi Kara,
You are correct that this is a Cockroach.  We believe it is a Wood Cockroach,
Parcoblatta fulvescens, based on this BugGuide image.  The species is reported from Virginia.  Wood Cockroaches are not a threat to humans.  They do not infest dwellings.

Wood Cockroach
Wood Cockroach

Letter 14 – Sand Cockroach from Mexico


Subject: Grey round bug
Location: Mexico city
February 2, 2014 12:33 am
Hope you can help me, sorry if
My english is not that good, i found today a very strange bug on my room, its february 1st and I’m located in Mexico city, its round with no antenna visible unless you turn it upaide down, it looks like a roach, but not shure, inaccidentally step on it, and in the photos i took are the guts out, thanks a lot!
Signature: Martin

Sand Cockroach
Sand Cockroach

Hola Martin,
This insect looks like a Cockroach because it is a Cockroach, more specifically, a female Sand Cockroach.  Sand Cockroaches are outdoor insects that do not infest homes.  The female is wingless and the winged male looks more like a usual Cockroach.


Letter 15 – Sand Cockroach from Turkmenistan, we believe


Subject: bug found in Turkmenistan
Location: Turkmenistan
November 19, 2013 4:11 pm
on the street in Ashgabat I found a very strange animal, looking nearly like a fossile. But still walking along the street. I stopped and touched it with a little stick, because this little friend seemed not to have wings. And really: he showed some kind of ”alarm-colour” – and stopped.
The animal was surely about 6-7 cm and quite impressing. I helped him off the street (dangerous) and kept thinking, what bug this would have been. I hope you can help me.
All the best from Estonia
Ute Wohlrab
Signature: Ute Wohlrab

Sand Cockroach, we believe
Sand Cockroach, we believe

Dear Ute,
We believe this is some species of Sand Cockroach.  We cannot say for certain that it is the same species as the Sand Cockroach found in Egypt, but it might be.  Female Sand Cockroaches are flightless, like your individual, and males look more like familiar Cockroaches.

Dear Daniel,
thank you very much for your answer, I didn’t expect to get so early to know about my animal. If you want to add my question and the pictures to your website, please feel free to do so – as Turkmenistan is quite a “locked” country, very many reports you propably wont get from there.
Does the size fit? My one was about 6-7 cm, maybe even a bit bigger. And are they rare?
Thank you anyway for your help! I was already searching all kinds of lobsters, shrimps and other strange animals…
All the best to you from Estonia
Ute Wohlrab
PS: If I meet one again, I promise to make better pics for you!

Letter 16 – Roach


Subject:  What is it?
Geographic location of the bug:  Chehalis, Washington
Date: 03/25/2019
Time: 08:49 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This is the second time I have found one of these on my property. This one was on my concrete front porch.  It is in a quart canning jar in photo.
How you want your letter signed:  Blonder


Dear Blonder,
This is a Cockroach, though we do not believe it is one of the species that commonly infests homes and businesses.  We will attempt to determine its species, or at least its genus.

Letter 17 – Scorpion eats Cockroach


Scorpion Eats Some Dinner
Location: El Paso, TX
June 1, 2011 4:14 am
I would like to share some neat pictures with you and the readers. This scorpion was right outside the back door. I went out with the dogs a little later to keep them away, though I expected it to have wandered off by then. So it was quite a site to see it had caught a roach! I have never seen a scorpion with a fresh catch, so in true nerd fashion, I took lots of pictures and some video. It’s gruesome, but interesting! Hope you enjoy!
Signature: Jen

Scorpion eats Cockroach

Hi Jen,
Thanks so much for sending your marvelous photos of a Scorpion feeding on a Cockroach.  We try to encourage our readership to allow predatory species like spiders, solifugids and house centipedes to live in and near their homes as a means of keeping noxious species like cockroaches at bay, but we are never sure how effective we are.  Your photos are definitely worth thousands of words.

Scorpion eats Cockroach

Letter 18 – Surinam Cockroach


flying beetle
September 20, 2009
what is this bug
wm in arizona
mesa, az

Surinam Cockroach
Surinam Cockroach

Hi wm in arizona,
This is a Cockroach, and we believe it is the Surinam Cockroach, Pycnoscelus surinamensis, even though BugGuide does not report the species from Arizona.  It is reported in Texas and Florida as well as other southern states.  According to BugGuide, the Surinam Cockroach:  “Reproduces through parthenogenesis in the US, where no males are found. It has two sexes in some parts of the world (Europe and Indo-Malaysia), though. Unlike many roaches, the egg capsule is retained inside the female’s abdomen until young are ready to emerge. Usually described as giving birth to live young, however Modern Pest Services site below seems to show that the egg capsule is ejected from the female.

Surinam Cockroach
Surinam Cockroach

Letter 19 – Suriname Cockroach


bug id
Dear Bugman,
These bugs are all over my lawn in NorthEast Florida. Never seen one in the house but when I mow the lawn dozens of them scurry up the side of the house. I can’t figure out if they’re some kind of chinch bug or roach, or what. We do have some lawn damage consisting mostly of surfaced roots in random circular spots where no green grass grows. HELP ME PLEASE!!
Jacksonville, Florida

This is a Surinam Cockroach, Pycnoscelus surinamensis. It is native to the humid tropics but has been reported from Florida, Texas and Louisiana. It is also a greenhouse pest.

Letter 20 – Tree Cockroach from Swaziland


Subject: Beetle
Location: Swaziland
February 23, 2013 4:00 am
I saw this beetle at the entrance to an old mine shaft in the hills of Piggs Peak, Swaziland and would like to know what it is.
Signature: Jacs

Tree Cockroach
Tree Cockroach

Hi Jacs,
This is not a Beetle.  It is a Cockroach.  We thought it might be difficult to identify as some African Insects are not well represented on the internet.  We quickly found it identified as a Tree Cockroach,
Gyna caffrorum, on the Ndumo Game Reserve website.  The Allpet Roaches Forum indicates it was recently introduced to Cockroach fanciers in Europe.  The Virginia Cheeseman website of entomology supplies provides the common name Ghost Porcelain Cockroach, though we suspect that is a marketing ploy to get folks to purchase them as pets.

Thank you very much for the info. It’s great to identify insects, birds etc.

Letter 21 – Unknown Cockroach from Costa Rica


Subject: Darth Vader Cockroach
Location: Southern Pacific Mid-level forest, Costa Rica
January 25, 2015 11:49 am
Hi! This is a follow-up submission with another couple of photos. The roach is not B.dubia. It doesn’t have the same markings, shape of pronotum is different, and it climbs glass. So WHAT is it? It is from Central America. Not an indoor pest. Very uncommon.
Signature: Mary B. Thorman


Hi Mary,
Thanks so much for providing additional excellent images of this mysterious Cockroach as a followup to your nine year old original submission.  We hope this new posting will generate a positive identification for you.


Letter 22 – Wood Cockroach


Subject:  Cockroach or no!??
Geographic location of the bug:  Seabrook New Hampshire USA
Date: 06/12/2018
Time: 09:59 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello! Found this little bugger in the corner of my bedroom.. he didn’t scatter away when the light was turned on and didn’t move when I got close. Please help me relax! Is this something I should be worried about infesting my home? Thank you for your time.
How you want your letter signed:  Concerned home owner

Male Wood Cockroach

Dear Concerned home owner,
This is a male Wood Cockroach, and it will not infest your home, but they are attracted to lights.  We suspect it is a Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach,
Parcoblatta pennsylvanica, based on this BugGuide image.  According to the Colonial Pest Control Blog:  “You may have already figured out that you are more likely to be visited by wood roaches if you live in a wooded area. These cockroaches are common in woods where they feed on decaying organic matter. Around homes, wood roaches can sometimes be found in gutters, potted plants, under cedar shake or other wood siding, or in firewood. Wood cockroaches are seldom seen except during their mating season which lasts from late May into June in our area.”

Letter 23 – Wood Cockroach Identified:


I am an Urban Entomologist at Clemson University in South Carolina. I noticed the cockroach photo sent to you from Jennifer on 12/24/05. To me, the species in her house looks like a late instar, native wood cockroach, probably Parcoblatta lata. They are not found in grocery stores like German cockroaches. These non-pest species can be found in wooded areas and around the outside of homes. On occasion, one will wander indoors, but they do not establish indoor infestations. As you correctly pointed out, she has nothing to fear from this incidental intruder. They are actually pretty cool little woodland creatures, not nasty home dewelling pests.
Eric Benson

Letter 24 – Wood Cockroaches and Woodlice cohabitate in wood pile


Subject: Wood roaches?
Location: South Central Kansas
March 17, 2014 11:02 am
Hi there!
I found these guys under an old wood-pile I was moving. It’s pretty cold out still here in my part of Kansas (highs in the 50s-60s F, but lows in the 30s F lately) and they were under the lowest level of the pile, in the leaf litter and bark at the bottom. I’ve also found a few random specimens in my basement since last fall, but they die quickly, I think because it’s too dry. Am I right in guessing these are Parcoblatta sp. (aka wood roaches) of some sort?
P.S. I know the gray/silver ones are isopods. 😀 There were thousands of them under the pile, too… made catching the roaches interesting.
Signature: – Angela, amateur bug nut

Wood Cockroaches and Woodlice
Wood Cockroaches and Woodlice

Hi Angela, amateur bug nut,
Thanks so much for sending us your gorgeous photo of Wood Cockroaches in the genus
Parcoblatta and their wood pile roommates, terrestrial isopods commonly called Woodlice or Sowbugs.  It is not possible to identify your Wood Cockroaches to the species level.  According to BugGuide:  “in males, wings cover the abdomen; adult females typically have small wingpads (tegmina). Older nymphs may also have prominent wingbuds. Nymphs of different spp. are impossible to tell apart based on known characters; identification of adult females is difficult or not possible, depending on the species and geographic location. Only the adult males have the characters that can definitively identify the species in this genus. Unfortunately, the characters needed are covered by wings, and so identification of living males is not usually possible.”  Your observation that they die quickly in the home is supported by BugGuide which states:  “indoors, they wander aimlessly during the day (rather than congregating in a particular room and being active at night), do not breed, and will die within a few days due to insufficient moisture.”

Wood Cockroaches
Wood Cockroaches


Letter 25 – Young Brown Banded Cockroach


Tiny Kitchen-Loving Beetle
Dear Bugman,
My roommate and I have spotted several of these little beetles wandering around our kitchen area. We even found one in our microwave! At first I thought they were baby cockroaches, but they don’t act like any of the cockroaches I’ve encountered in Orange County, California. As we’ve only lived in our apartment about two months, I can’t tell you when they started appearing. The one I took a picture of is about .25cm in length and has a pretty flat profile. It’s antennae are about as long as he is and are in constant motion. I checked around on the web for other beetles but I have been unsuccessful in finding out about this one. Any help you can lend us would be appreciated. Thanks! Sincerely,
Marlene in Orange, California

Hi Marlene,
This is an immature Cockroach. We will see if Eric Eaton can provide a species name for us. Eric quickly wrote back: “The immature cockroach is probably a brown-banded cockroach, Supella longipalpa. They tend to be found in electric appliances that, even when not running, are warm and cozy:-) Look for them behind picture frames as well. More information can be found searching on the scientific name and then visiting .edu and .gov websites for the most accurate facts. Eric”


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46 Comments. Leave new

  • whatever kind of cockroach that is, it’s beautiful. the pattern looks almost like tortoise shell.

  • This appears to be a Harlequin Cockroach, Neostylopyga rhombifolia (Blattodea: Blattidae). They are native to southeast Asia but have become established in northern Australia, Mexico, Arizona, and they have been reported from Hawaii. They are a flightless, egg-laying cockroach. Regards. K

    • I found one in my car it’s huge. Yes it looks like Harlequin Coacha Roach. I’m also from Ewa Beach.

  • joeybean424
    May 21, 2010 12:05 am

    I was also wondering what kind of bug this was. I live in Cincinnati, Ohio and within the past 2 weeks, my garage has become infested with them. I thought we had some how gotten cockroaches, I never heard of the wood one’s before. Then, tonight, a HUGE one was on our wall and when I went to kill it, it took off flying……….scarey! We don’t have any firewood or wood around our house, but a few months ago, I bought about 10 bags of dog food……I was wondering if they could have been brought in with them.

  • That looks like an Oriental Cockroach, commonly called a Water Bug in the High Desert. They generally prefer living outdoors where they can find lots of water (hence the common name), but will often come indoors around the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room or garage. Having worked in the High Desert for Dewey Pest Control for the past few years, I have noticed that complaints about this pest have become extremely common, to the point where I would guess at least 70% of households in the Inland Empire have seen them around the house. Unfortunately, since they are so common it is extremely difficult to eradicate them from your property without a professional service coming out regularly. If you are interested in getting a service, call me at 760-617-1598 and I will be able to get you half price on our initial service.

    • Thank you for your input, and we are sure that at Dewey you know your pests, and we agree that it is a Cockroach. We found a photo of an unidentified Cockroach on BugGuide, and we are in agreement with BugGuide that this is an unfamiliar species and not the Oriental Cockroach,Blatta orientalis, commonly called a Water Bug.

  • Oh, and that offer is available to anyone living just about anywhere in the state of California.

  • Ah, well I guess I need to leave the identification to our technicians and stay in the office then!

  • the turistan cockroaches are now permiating norther california especial from redding to yubacity they are harder to get rid of than americans or orientals they seem to be more active at night but the males love to slip under doors when they see night some times its all i see outside now!@

  • About 8 to 10 months ago, a large section of woods were cut down in our neighborhood for someone to build a new large home. Afterwars we started noticing very large roach looking bugs around and in our house. We were told they were Wood Beetles (they look like extra large roaches) and that they would not infest our home. We only saw a couple of them until just recently and now we have noticed tiny ones (they don’t look the same as the roaches we’ve seen in the past) in the bathroom and about once or twice a week a large one on the wall. How do we get rid of them?

  • I found one in my apartment the other day too, I flipped out! My apartment manager called Terminex, and he said what you explained it is a wood roach and is happier outside, he just got lost.
    No need to worry 🙂 Flatwoods, KY.

    • Wow, we are impressed that an exterminator would pass up a job that way. We have a generally suspicious opinion of exterminators which we believe might spray more often than needed.

  • I found one in my apartment the other day too, I flipped out! My apartment manager called Terminex, and he said what you explained it is a wood roach and is happier outside, he just got lost.
    No need to worry 🙂 Flatwoods, KY.

  • ok I love bugs! I mean my nickname is school was bug because of all the random information I had about bugs! spiders are my favorite and I can do every type of bug EXCEPT roaches! I don’t do roaches and I just found this bug climbing up my wall, so thank god its a lost roach (still ew) and I don’t have to move! or burn my house down! it climbed out beside my AC before I caught it but not before I got a good look! so thank you for easing my worries!

  • ps also from ohio, just moved here. is this gonna be a common thing in ohio, first stink bugs now wood roaches!?

  • Thank you for this post. One of my students here at the international school in Ashgabat found the same kind of cockroach, and we were having trouble identifying it. It is now a pet in my classroom.

  • What a beauty!

  • I have found 4 of these roaches at my campet. Have never seen them since year. They like to come out when i have company.

  • chastity heilman
    June 15, 2015 11:47 pm

    I live in Arizona and have noticed these every night. I am not a fan of cockroaches and so I have been staying clear of these. How do I get rid of them? I don’t want to harm them plus my porch seems to have become the local insect hangout. I have currently noticed cicadas, praying mantis, walking sticks, lady bugs, damsel flies, and various kinds of moths. Is there a reason as to why all these insects have chosen my porch as their local hangout?

  • I would have freaked out screaming and hollering if there was one of those bugs around me and trying to fly away if I try to kill it. I don’t like bugs. Multiples of big cockroaches oming out of drains like the kitchen and bathroom sinks and the shower/tub drain, I’d frantically leave the house in tears.

  • Hi Maggie…Apparently, me and the wife have applied the same solution at our home. The idea is that the roaches are attracted to potato and naturally they come out to grab a bite. The boric acid contained in the potato diffuses their ability since it is poisonous and eventually the pests fall sick and die.

    Hoping it works…fingers crossed!!

    PS: Suggestion was from the mother in law 😀

  • Christopher Vaughn
    October 20, 2016 4:31 pm

    Habits and Biology of Woods Cockroaches
    These roaches are attracted to light which makes them different from other roaches. Females produce about 950 eggs a year, with one generation. Eggs hatch in the summer and mature the following spring. A life cycle can last two years. Adults are present May through early October. The roaches do not survive inside buildings. In wooded areas, these cockroaches can be seen in the headlights of automobiles at dusk. The males are attracted to lights. They are active during the winter and are often found in firewood. They live in moist woodland areas. They do not come inside unless carried inside with firewood or they may wander in on their own. These roaches are not startled and begin scampering when approached. These outside roaches do not reproduce inside like the German roach. They need consistent moist conditions in their environment such as under decaying logs, wood piles or loose bark. If they are inside, it is only a temporary condition. (Info found on do it yourself pest control website)

  • Christopher Vaughn
    October 20, 2016 4:31 pm

    Habits and Biology of Woods Cockroaches
    These roaches are attracted to light which makes them different from other roaches. Females produce about 950 eggs a year, with one generation. Eggs hatch in the summer and mature the following spring. A life cycle can last two years. Adults are present May through early October. The roaches do not survive inside buildings. In wooded areas, these cockroaches can be seen in the headlights of automobiles at dusk. The males are attracted to lights. They are active during the winter and are often found in firewood. They live in moist woodland areas. They do not come inside unless carried inside with firewood or they may wander in on their own. These roaches are not startled and begin scampering when approached. These outside roaches do not reproduce inside like the German roach. They need consistent moist conditions in their environment such as under decaying logs, wood piles or loose bark. If they are inside, it is only a temporary condition. (Info found on do it yourself pest control website)

  • Looks like some of the “toys” that make it into Halloween goodies. 😉 So yea, your daughter played a good one, but betting it was an adult who set her up for this one. Lol

  • Hi, our garden is invested with Oxyhaloa deusta RED HEAD ROACH, they now move closer to the house after the heavy rains. Do they pose a danger to our healt and how would we contain their numbers if need be without harming other insects and frogs

    • We do not provide extermination advice. We don’t believe you need to worry about your health, though if plentiful, the Red-Head Roach might be a nuisance.

  • marianne hopkins
    March 4, 2017 2:16 pm


  • marianne hopkins
    March 4, 2017 2:20 pm


  • I live in the city of Colonial Heights, Va, and have been seeing these wood roaches in my home for about a year now. Some of my neighbors have said the same. I have no woods around, just a couple trees in the yard and no wood in our house. I do have a bowl of water for our dog out on the back porch and inside all the time. I put out a roach box in every room but it isn’t doing the trick. They really are getting braver and more of them, at least one or two a day or more. Sometimes I find them dead in the floor on their backs. It is very embarrassing if we have company an they are crawling up the wall or across the floor. I will try the roach bully.

  • The cockroaches ATE the potato borax balls and died. Ants will eat it too. Or at least track it back to the others which kills them too. The potato’s ensure that they WILL consume it.

  • Melissa Fuentes
    May 29, 2018 5:37 pm

    I am 55 years old. Have lived in Ohio for 45 of those years. I resided in the south for the remainder. Saw loads of roaches down there. I have NEVER seen a “wood roach” in my lifetime! Now I’m getting them in my house.
    From reading these threads I’m gonna say there needs to be some more wisdom going around than to tell people, “These are outside bugs and they do not like it in the house”. They seem to “like it in my house” just fine. No wood pill, no nothing different than the last 55 years of my life EXCEPT these new bugs in my home. We need better answers than are out on these sites currently. Hope someone can come up with some better advise.

  • Melissa Fuentes
    May 29, 2018 5:37 pm

    I am 55 years old. Have lived in Ohio for 45 of those years. I resided in the south for the remainder. Saw loads of roaches down there. I have NEVER seen a “wood roach” in my lifetime! Now I’m getting them in my house.
    From reading these threads I’m gonna say there needs to be some more wisdom going around than to tell people, “These are outside bugs and they do not like it in the house”. They seem to “like it in my house” just fine. No wood pill, no nothing different than the last 55 years of my life EXCEPT these new bugs in my home. We need better answers than are out on these sites currently. Hope someone can come up with some better advise.

  • Chris Vaughn
    May 30, 2018 9:16 am

    The best way to get rid of the is Bengal roach spray. They will invade a home to seek shelter from cold weather.

  • I live in ct where in the past two weeks I have found one a day in my house. What exactly do they eat? How do I get them out of my house? I am not a bug person and I just don’t know what to do. Please any advice will be greatly appreciated

  • Looks a lot like some male blaberinae, it is hard to be a native species.

  • I think it can even be male Madagascar cockroach.

  • I have lived in south central Ohio most of my life in the same county. When I moved about 25 years ago to where I live now I had never seen a wood roach. When I first moved here I thought I had somehow got cockroaches and was freaked out! My experiences with these bugs are that you see them occasionally sometimes more often than others and then their completely gone unlike a regular household cockroach. They also most generally fly or crawl straight into the lights of a lamp or TV again unlike the roaches most generally found in homes. I see them in my home in the early spring for a couples months.

  • I can’t help with ID, but look how cute! At least, as roaches go. The trim around the edges, the flattened thorax armor. If these make it into the pet insect trade, I imagine they would be rather popular.


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