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
- 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.
|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.
|May not work for all species
|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.
- 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:
|Preferred Hiding Spots
|Kitchen counters and small spaces
|Sewer systems and damp, dark areas in old buildings
|High-risk to humans with allergies and asthma
|Lower risk compared to German cockroaches
|Various food sources, less dependent on human leftovers
|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.
Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com 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
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: http://www.gotroaches.com/blog/2006/05/25/harlequin-roach-neostylopyga-rhombifolia/
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! 🙂
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
Signature: Adele Beukes-de Lange
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 🙂
August 12, 2012
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.
Rose Hills/Montecito Heights, CA 90032
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
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.
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?
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.
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
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
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.
Letter 12 – Sand Cockroach
Subject: Reminds me of a trilobite
Geographic location of the bug: Colorado
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
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
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.
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!
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
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
Signature: Ute Wohlrab
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.
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
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
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
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!
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.
Letter 18 – Surinam Cockroach
September 20, 2009
what is this bug
wm in arizona
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.“
Letter 19 – Suriname Cockroach
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!!
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
Letter 24 – Wood Cockroaches and Woodlice cohabitate in wood pile
Subject: Wood roaches?
Location: South Central Kansas
March 17, 2014 11:02 am
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
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.”
Letter 25 – Young Brown Banded Cockroach
Tiny Kitchen-Loving Beetle
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
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”