Types of Roaches: A Friendly Guide to Identification

Cockroaches are notorious household pests that can be found all over the world. They come in various shapes and sizes, each with unique features and behaviors. In this article, we will explore some common types of roaches that you may encounter in your home or surroundings.

The German cockroach is one of the most frequently seen species, especially in the United States. Recognizable by its tan to light brown color and two dark brown stripes on its body, these roaches can be a major nuisance in homes and food-handling areas.

Another type of roach to be aware of is the Oriental cockroach, commonly referred to as a “waterbug.” This species is larger and darker in color compared to the German cockroach, with adult males having short wings while females lack wings entirely. They are typically found outdoors, but can also make their way inside buildings and cause infestations. Understanding the different types of cockroaches and their characteristics can help you better address and prevent potential infestations.

Understanding Cockroaches

Cockroaches are insects that have been around for millions of years. They are known for their persistence and adaptability, making them difficult to control. In this section, you’ll learn about the different species of cockroaches and their characteristics.

There are thousands of cockroach species in the world, but only a few of them are considered pests. The most common species found in the United States is the German cockroach. This species is tan to light brown, measures about 1/2 to 5/8 inch long, and has two dark brown stripes on its body. They reproduce quickly, with females producing four to eight egg capsules during their lifetime.

Other common cockroach species include the American, Oriental, and Brown-banded cockroaches. These species vary in size, color, and habitat preferences, but they all share some common characteristics:

  • They are nocturnal creatures, hiding during the day and becoming active at night to search for food.
  • Cockroaches are omnivorous and will eat almost anything, including decaying organic matter, food scraps, and even glue or soap.
  • They prefer warm, moist environments, often found near kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry areas.
  • Cockroaches can contaminate food, preparation surfaces, dishes, and eating utensils, potentially causing food poisoning or gastrointestinal disorders.

It’s important to note that not all cockroach species are considered pests. Some, like the wood cockroaches, live outdoors in forests and feed on decaying organic matter. They may end up indoors accidentally during the summer but are not typically a threat to your home.

Here’s a comparison table to help you understand the differences between these common pest cockroach species:

Species Size Color Habitat
German 1/2-5/8″ Tan/light brown Warm, moist areas; indoors
American 1 1

Common Types of Roaches

German Cockroach

The German Cockroach is one of the most common cockroaches found in the United States, with a size of 12 to 17 mm long. They are tan to light brown and have two dark brown stripes on their body behind the head. Some features include:

  • Females produce four to eight egg capsules in their lifetime
  • Typically infest human-made buildings such as restaurants and hospitals

American Cockroach

You might find the American Cockroach in hot, damp areas of your home, like basements and sewer pipes. These roaches are about 1.5 inches long, reddish-brown, and have a yellowish edge on the pronotum.

Brown-Banded Cockroach

Brown-banded cockroaches are about half an inch long and tan in color. They are known for having a preference for warm and dry places, typically found in higher spots like cabinets and ceilings.

Oriental Cockroach

Often referred to as a “waterbug,” the Oriental Cockroach is a large, dark brown or black insect. Males have short wings, while females are wingless. They prefer cool, damp conditions and can often be found in wet basements.

Smokybrown Cockroach

Smokybrown cockroaches are similar in appearance to American cockroaches, but with an even darker, mahogany color. They like living outdoors, but can sometimes enter houses when searching for food and water.

Asian Cockroach

Asian cockroaches look almost identical to German cockroaches, but they have the unique ability to fly. They tend to be attracted to light and live outdoors, usually in mulch or grassy areas.

Australian Cockroach

The Australian cockroach is about an inch long, reddish-brown in color, and has yellow markings on both its pronotum and wings. They primarily dwell outdoors, but may invade homes in search of food.

Florida Woods Cockroach

Also known as the Palmetto bug, Florida Woods cockroaches are large, dark brown, wingless cockroaches that prefer to live in damp, wooded areas. When disturbed, they can release a foul-smelling liquid as a defense mechanism.

Turkestan Cockroach

Turkestan cockroaches are about an inch long, with males being reddish-brown and females being dark brown or black. They are often found in sewers and water meter boxes, and can quickly infest buildings if introduced.

Surinam Cockroach

Surinam cockroaches are shiny, black or dark brown creatures, about 1 inch long. They prefer greenhouse-like environments, making them a common pest in potted plants and greenhouses.

Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach

Pennsylvania Wood cockroaches are up to an inch long and are dark brown in color. As their name suggests, they prefer moist, wooded habitats, typically living under the bark of trees and logs.

Sand Cockroach

Sand cockroaches are small, pale brown insects that prefer living in sandy soils. They are mostly nocturnal, coming out at night to feed on roots and decaying vegetation.

Green Cockroach

Green cockroaches are rarely seen and are not considered pests. They have a unique, greenish color and live in tropical environments.

Roach Habitats and Infestation Areas

Southeast Region

In the Southeast United States, cockroach infestations are common due to the region’s warm, humid climate. Common habitats include:

  • Kitchens and bathrooms: Areas with water and food sources
  • Garbage: Roaches feed on organic matter found in trash
  • Sewers: They thrive in moist, dark environments

For example, Florida’s tropical climate is ideal for roaches. To prevent infestations, seal cracks and clean regularly.

Midwest Region

In the Midwest, roaches prefer habitats with moisture and warmth. They tend to be found in:

  • Commercial buildings: Restaurants and offices with food and water sources
  • Gardens: Roaches can live among plants and mulch
  • Laundry rooms: Moisture from appliances provides ideal conditions

To keep roaches away, maintain clean surroundings and remove water sources.

Northeast Region

Cockroach infestations in the Northeast Region are often found in urban areas. Some common habitats include:

  • Apartment buildings: Shared walls allow roaches to move easily
  • Restaurants: Food and moisture sources in commercial kitchens
  • Trees: Roaches may inhabit tree holes or cracks

Sealing cracks and maintaining clean living spaces are critical in preventing infestations in this region.

Texas

In Texas, roaches are prevalent due to its hot and humid climate. Typical habitats include:

  • Bathrooms and kitchens: Areas with nearby water fixtures
  • Sinks and drains: Roaches are attracted to the moisture and food particles
  • Cracks and crevices: They can easily hide and reproduce in small spaces

To reduce the likelihood of infestations, keep your home clean and dry, and seal potential entry points.

Comparison table:

Region Common Habitats Preventive Actions
Southeast Kitchens, bathrooms, garbage, sewers Seal cracks, clean regularly
Midwest Commercial buildings, gardens, laundry rooms Clean surroundings, remove water sources
Northeast Apartment buildings, restaurants, trees Seal cracks, maintain clean living spaces
Texas Bathrooms, kitchens, sinks, drains, cracks Clean and dry, seal entry points

Physical Features of Roaches

Flying Cockroaches

Generally, roaches have wings, but not all are proficient flyers. Some species, like the flying cockroach, can take off and navigate short distances. You might be surprised by their size, as flying cockroaches can range from 12 to 17 mm in length. Their appearance is quite similar to the common German cockroach, with coloration ranging from tan to light brown and bearing two dark brown stripes on their body region just behind the head.

Roaches can adapt to various temperature conditions, and due to their ability to fly, they’re often mistaken for other insects, such as the water bug, black beetle, or fliers. In fact, flying cockroaches might catch your attention if attracted to light.

Examples of flying cockroach species:

  • American cockroach
  • Asian cockroach
  • Wood cockroach

Comparison Table: Non-Flying vs. Flying Cockroaches

Characteristic Non-Flying Flying
Wings Usually present Present
Flight ability Limited or none Can fly short distances
Attracted to light Rarely More common
Size Varies 12 to 17 mm
Appearance Similar to flying Similar to non-flying

Cockroaches Attracted to Light

Cockroaches are mainly nocturnal creatures, but some are attracted to light. This behavior might cause them to seek shelter indoors, where artificial lights can attract them. Asian cockroaches are a prime example of light-loving roaches, which can become invasive pests in your household.

Here’s why their light attraction can be an issue:

  • Increases the risk of disease transmission: Roaches, in general, can carry diseases from their waste or bacteria on their body, so having them near your living spaces can put your health at risk.
  • Intrusion into your home: Light-loving roaches are more likely to enter your home and infest dark, secluded areas, making it harder to eradicate them.

In conclusion, understanding the physical features of roaches can help you better identify and address potential infestations. By being aware of their size, appearance, and flying ability, you can take appropriate measures to keep your home roach-free.

Less Common Types of Roaches

Brown Cockroach

The Brown Cockroach is a less common type of roach often found in urban environments. They are slightly larger than their cousins, the German cockroach. Here are some characteristics of the Brown Cockroach:

  • Dark brown to black color
  • Approximately 1.2 inches in length

Water Bug

Water Bugs, or Oriental cockroaches, are often mistaken for roaches due to their similar appearance. These insects thrive in damp environments, such as basements and sewers. Some features of Water Bugs include:

  • Shiny black or dark brown body
  • Approximately 1 inch in length for females, 0.8 inches for males

Drains Cockroach

The Drains Cockroach resides primarily in drainage systems, making them a less common sight in most households. They prefer dark and damp areas. Key characteristics of Drains Cockroach are:

  • Brownish color
  • Usually smaller in size, around 0.5 inches

Smoky Brown Cockroach

The Smoky Brown Cockroach is a less frequently encountered species, often found in southern states. They prefer warm and humid conditions. Notable features include:

  • Dark brown or mahogany color
  • Approximately 1.5 inches in length

Palmetto Bug

Palmetto Bugs are a general term for large roaches, usually referring to the American cockroach. They can be found in warm, humid environments. Features of Palmetto Bugs are:

  • Reddish-brown color
  • Can be up to 2 inches in length

Woods Cockroach

The Woods Cockroach lives outdoors in wooded/forested habitats and feeds on decaying organic matter. They are common in the Northeast and can be a nuisance when they accidentally invade homes. Characteristics of Woods Cockroach include:

  • Light brown to tan color
  • Approximately 0.5 to 1 inch in length

By understanding these less common types of roaches, you can better identify and tackle any potential infestations in your home or property.

Roach Prevention and Infestation Management

Managing a roach infestation can be challenging, but with the right strategies, you can prevent and control these pesky insects. Here are some tips for roach prevention and infestation management.

First and foremost, maintain a clean living environment. Roaches thrive in cluttered, dirty spaces, so regularly removing garbage and keeping food in sealed containers will help deter them. To further prevent infestations:

  • Clean up spills and crumbs immediately
  • Seal any cracks or gaps in walls and windows
  • Remove sources of standing water

In the event of a roach infestation, consider using store-bought baits and trapping methods. These traps can help to control the population until you can address the root cause of the infestation.

If the problem persists, it may be time to call in the professionals. A pest control service can identify the specific type of roach and apply the appropriate treatments to eliminate the infestation.

Always remember, prevention is the best form of infestation management. By maintaining a clean and sealed environment, you can keep your home roach-free and comfortable for you and your family.

Cockroach Related Health Issues

You might be surprised to learn that cockroaches can also cause some health issues. These pests carry various diseases and bacteria which can lead to health concerns.

For example, cockroaches have been found to carry food-borne pathogens like Escherichia coli O157, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, and Salmonella enterica, just to name a few. When they walk around your home, they can easily contaminate food and surfaces, increasing the risk of you contracting these illnesses.

In addition to diseases, cockroach infestations may also contribute to worsening asthma symptoms. Their body parts, feces, and saliva contain allergens that can trigger asthma attacks or allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

Here are some ways these critters can affect your health:

  • Carry and spread various bacteria
  • Contaminate food sources and surfaces
  • Trigger asthma and allergic reactions

To keep your home and family safe from these health issues, it’s essential to maintain a clean environment, remove any sources of food and water for these pests, and use proper cockroach control methods such as baits when needed.

Remember, a clean home is less attractive to cockroaches and can prevent many of these health issues.

Roach Around Your Home

You might notice roaches in different areas of your home, especially at night when they are most active. There are a few common types of roaches you might find in your household. These sneaky critters often look for food sources to survive and can be found in your kitchen, bedroom, and living room.

In your kitchen, roaches may hide inside appliances, under cabinets, and even in the pantry. To control their population, it’s important to clean up food spills and store food in bug-proof containers. One effective method of controlling German cockroaches is to declutter and vacuum in these areas.

In bedrooms and living rooms, roaches tend to lurk in dark corners, behind furniture, and under clutter. To make these areas less inviting, keep them clean and minimize clutter.

  • Some general tips to control roaches around your home include:
    • Keeping your home clean and clutter-free
    • Sealing gaps where roaches can enter your home
    • Regularly taking out the trash

Wood cockroaches are common in wooded or forested regions. If you live in such an area, you may have an increased chance of finding these roaches in your home, especially during the summer when they become accidental invaders. To prevent their entry, make sure your windows and doors are well-sealed.

Maintaining a clean home and being aware of potential hiding spots for roaches can help you prevent an infestation and keep your living space comfortable. Remember, prevention is key when dealing with these persistent pests.

Reader Emails

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 – Marine Isopod: Beach Cockroach

 

Hi,
Thanks for taking the time to look. Realize this is not a true insect, but many of the “bugs” you i.d. are not, so hope you can tell me what this little (about an inch long) tank is! It was seen on a beach on Cedar Key in Florida in late summer. Thanks in advance for any help.
Jacque Merritt

Hi Jacque,
This is a Marine Isopod. We are not sure if it is Ligia occidentalis, which is found on the west coast, or some other species in the genus. It is sometimes called a Beach Cockroach Rock Louse or Sea Slater
.

Update:  June 7, 2017:  We are now confident, thanks to this Bugguide posting, that this is probably Ligia exotica.

Letter 2 – Red Headed Cockroaches in South Africa

 

Subject:  What is this
Geographic location of the bug:  Cape town south africa
Date: 07/31/2018
Time: 11:34 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this on my patio area
How you want your letter signed:  Any

Red Headed Cockroaches

Dear Any,
These are Red Headed Cockroaches,
Deropeltis erythrocephala, and we verified their identity on iNaturalist and iSpot.  This is an outdoor species that will not infest your home and you have no need to be concerned regarding this sighting on your patio.

Red Headed Cockroaches

Letter 3 – Recently Introduced Cockroach

 

What bug is this?
Location:  Northern California, USA
September 5, 2010 1:41 am
We keep finding these bugs around our house. They are coming from the outside, they come in when we open the doors or windows. They are also all around the outside of the house and the walls outside of the house. Some are brown with a yellow stripe on its back. They move fast, so we thought they might be some kind of roach, but we are not sure what kind of bug it is.
Signature:  Carly

Cockroach

Hi Carly,
We did not recognize your Cockroach, which we had believed to be an immature nymph, but we located it on BugGuide, and it is a recently introduced species that has become established in California, and it is a wingless species,
Phyllodromica trivittata.  According to BugGuide it is:  “Recently introduced into California, apparently now in Marin, Petaluma and Cotati” and “Reports of high abundance both indoors and outdoors make it likely that reproduction is occurring outdoors with subsequent invasion of nearby structures. As this species adapts to this new environment, studies will need to be conducted to confirm this.”  BugGuide also reports:  “Known from dry habitats around the Mediterranean. It has been recorded from Morocco; Algeria; Spain; Italy (Sardinia Island); Italy (Sicily); Libya; and Israel. Given that it has not been recorded as being a pest in buildings in those countries (as far as I’m aware) it is unlikely to invade buildings in the USA. Comment by George Beccaloni (The Natural History Museum, London, UK).

Cockroach

Letter 4 – Pale Bordered Field Cockroach

 

firefly look alike
Hi,
I saw this guy crawling around a garden in Houston, Tx and could not identify him (or her). At first glance, I thought it was a firefly, but of course he isn’t. He moved pretty quickly and looks like a roach. He was about 3/4" long and wouldn’t stand still for a good picture. Thanks
Daniel

hi Daniel,
This is a Pale Bordered Field Cockroach, Pseudomops septentrionalis. It is an outdoor species that visits flowers and does not infest homes.

Letter 5 – Pennsylvania Wood Roach

 

Subject: Brown Bug
Location: West Milford, NJ 07480
November 14, 2015 6:47 pm
I had some oak logs delivered this week. When I split a round quite a few of these came running out. The oak came from Clifton, NJ.
Signature: Geoffrey Syme

Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach
Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach

Dear Geoffrey,
This is a Cockroach, probably a Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach.  You have no cause for concern as it is an outdoor species that will not infest homes.  Females are wingless and males have wings, so your individual is a female. 

Letter 6 – Oriental Cockroach or Water Bug

 

Subject: What Kind Of Bug Is This
Location: United States, NJ
April 12, 2014 7:27 pm
hello..this kind of bug ended up in my house two different times..im wondering what it is..if you could help that would be great
Signature: not sure

Oriental Cockroach
Oriental Cockroach

Though it is commonly called a Water Bug, this is an Oriental Cockroach, Blatta orientalis, and it is one of the species of pestiferous Cockroaches that is closely associated with human habitation.  They can become especially numerous in cool, damp places including basements and sewers.  According to BugGuide, they are:  “Omnivorous but prefers starchy or sugary foods. Often associated with garbage or decaying organic matter, indoors or out. Can survive one month without food as long as water is available, or two weeks with neither food nor water.”  Flushing it down the toilet, which is what it appears might happen immediately after this image was taken, will likely introduce it to more of its kin. 

Letter 7 – Mardi Gras Cockroach from Australia

 

Subject: Whats that bug?
Location: Kalgoorlie, WA
January 14, 2013 11:06 am
Hi Bugman,
I wondered if you would be able to help identify this bug? I found it 14/1/13 in my back yard in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. It’s body was about 2-2.5 ins long, it looks like a cockroach, but i’m really not sure. Thanks!
Signature: Jenny, Kalgoorlie, WA

Mardi Gras Cockroach

Hi Jenny,
You were very astute to recognize this as a Cockroach since it is considerably more colorful than most Cockroaches that people are familiar with.  We quickly identified it as a Bush Cockroach,
Polyzosteria mitchelli, on the Esperance Blog.  We try our best to find credible verification of identifications that we discover on blogs, and BioLib as well as the Agriculture of Western Australia websites confirmed that identification.  Esperance Fauna refers to this species as the Mardi Gras Cockroach and indicates:  “… Polyzosteria mitchelli would have to be one of the most striking with its brilliant color combination. It is mainly recorded from the semi-arid areas of WA, SA and NSW, where always a delight to encounter.  I have found it (usually on shrubby vegetation) from coastal heath to inland mallee flora, including saltlakes and granite outcrops, so although not common, it is very widespread. Growing to 5 cm (2”) in length, it is quite stout and not very fast when compared to the troublesome introduced species that commonly invade houses. The local forms have a bronze background colouration, but apparently metallic green shades have been found in SA.”  Thank you for supplying us with a marvelous addition to our What’s That Bug? Downunder tag.

Mardi Gras Cockroach

Letter 8 – Introduced Cockroach expands its range in California

 

Subject: Phyllodromica trivittata
Location: Vallejo, Solano County, CA.
September 10, 2012 9:55 pm
Hi Mr. Marlos,
I’m an entomologist living in the San Francisco Bay Area and I just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that I have found Phyllodromica trivittata in Vallejo in Solano County and that it probably came in on wood a friend brought me from Walnut Creek in Contra Costa County. It appears our friend is spreading quite quickly.
Signature: Greg Johnson – Entomologist and Crop and Soil Scientist.

Introduced Cockroach

Hi Greg,
Thanks for informing us about the range expansion of this introduced species of Cockroach.  According to BugGuide, it is already reported from California and Nevada.

Invasive Cockroach

 

Letter 9 – Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

 

Madagascar Hissing Roach
February 27, 2010
Hey, I don’t see any Madagascar Hissing Roaches on your site, so I
thought I might contribute!
His name is Eero, means “Ever-Ruler” and I was letting him crawl around on my pantleg in these pictures (was in a dark room using flash so his colors showed up better) sure it’s just brown, but I think it’s a pretty fade of black-brown and kind of a golden color.
I say “he” because of the big horn like protrusions on his thorax, females have a smooth top
Tara
Captive

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Hi Tara,
Thanks for sending us photos of this popular pet insect.

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Letter 10 – Mating Bush Cockroaches from Australia

 

bug love OUCH
May 16, 2010
Hi guys,
Congratulations on the 10,000th post. Hope you like this shot of Australian Bush Cockroaches mating. Sorry don’t have a species name for this one. My first thought was Ouch, that’s gotta hurt.
Aussietrev
Queensland Australia

Mating Bush Cockroaches

Hi Trevor,
Thanks so much for sending in your photo of mating Bush Cockroaches.  We have seen other images of mating Cockroaches, but nothing with this degree of penetration.

Letter 11 – Metamorphosis of a Cockroach

 

Subject: Found in my silverware drawer
Location: Spring hill, Florida
May 4, 2014 8:49 pm
Living in Spring Hill, Florida we sometimes get water bugs but I have never seen thus before?
Signature: N.G.

Metamorphosis of a Cockroach
Metamorphosis of a Cockroach

Dear N.G.,
This sure looks like a Cockroach molting to us.  The exoskeleton of an insect is rigid and does not expand, so when it is time for an insect to grow or metamorphose, it splits its skin and emerges with a new exoskeleton that allows it to increase in size or to change its appearance.  The new exoskeleton if often lighter in color until it hardens and darkens.

Letter 12 – Metamorphosis of a Cockroach

 

Subject: confused
Location: florida
November 19, 2012 12:26 pm
What’s this big?
Signature: english

Metamorphosis of a Cockroach

Dear english,
We wish your photo had more detail.  We believe you have photographed the metamorphosis of a Naiad, the aquatic nymph of a flying insect with incomplete metamorphosis.  Some insects that have larvae known as Naiads include Dragonflies, Damselflies, Mayflies, and Stoneflies.  There is something that does not seem quite right about any of those possibilities.  The head of this insect looks almost like that of a Grasshopper, but the hind legs are not long enough for a Grasshopper.  It it turns out that this is the metamorphosis of some land insect like a Cricket, then this would be a documentation of the Metamorphosis of a Nymph, which is a term with a larger umbrella.  All Naiads are nymphs, but not all nymphs are Naiads.  This Tree Cricket Information page with photos and videos is pretty awesome.

Update: 
We just received a comment that believes this may be a Cockroach Metamorphosis.  That is a very good possibility.  The morphology looks correct.

Letter 13 – Mitchell’s Diurnal Cockroach from Australia

 

Subject:  brown  bug with yellow stripes and blue legs
Geographic location of the bug:  150km north east of Esperance Western Australia
Date: 03/16/2018
Time: 06:28 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I saw this bug while at work. Looks a big like a cockroach.
How you want your letter signed:  GT

Mitchell’s Diurnal Cockroach

Dear GT,
Quite some time ago, we first identified this colorful Cockroach,
Polyzosteria mitchelli, as a Mardis Gras Cockroach, a name we found on Esperance Fauna where it is described as:  “most striking with its brilliant color combination. It is mainly recorded from the semi-arid areas of WA, SA and NSW, where always a delight to encounter.”   Getty Images uses the common name Mitchell’s Diurnal Cockroach.

Letter 14 – Molting Cockroach from the Caribbean

 

originally sent 12/23/2007) Strange Looking Bug
Hello Bugman,
I live in St Vincent and the Grenadines, on an island called Mustique. I was cleaning up outside when I saw this strange looking bug. At first I thought it was two bugs fighting with each other but on a closer look I think the bug was actually climbing out of its shell. Am I right? Is this a cockroach? Thank you for such a great site.
Tanya Clarijs

Hi Tanya,
Sorry we were unable to answer or post your letter originally. You are correct. This is a newly molted Cockroach. Its color will darken as its new exoskeleton hardens.

Letter 15 – Mystery Roaches are Rhinoceros Cockroaches

 

What’s this bug….please?
Hi Bugman,
We (my son) have found a heap of bugs roaming around the property. We would like to know what they are and what they are doing? They appeared after a large storm event and are just walking around everywhere. My dog also ate some. I will let you know if the dog dies 🙂 Thanks for any info…
Regards
Anthony (and Daemon)

Hi Anthony and Daemon,
These are some species of Roach, but we didn’t recognize them. We found a matching photo on BugGuide, but with no information. We wrote to Eric Eaton, and here is his response: “Depends on where they are. If this image is from Florida, it is probably of the broad Keys roach, Hemiblabera tenebricosa. If they smelled really bad, then maybe they are the stinking cockroach, Eurycotis floridana, found from Mississippi to Florida and Georgia. Without examining the specimens I can’t rule out other possibilities, including nymphs of other roaches, but if they were over 30 mm, then the above two possibilities are best. Eric” We wish you had included a location which is one of the things we request.

Correction (06/11/2006)
mystery roaches
The Mystery roaches on your page are most likely the heaviest roaches in the world. The photographer is almost certainly from Australia if he got these in the wild. These beauties are Macropanesthia rhinoceros, or the Rhinoceros cockroach, in the family Blaberidae. I’ll send you a picture of some specimens I photographed in the LA County Museum (as well as a photo of a specimen of the longest roach Megaloblatta longipennis). These guys are monsters in real life, but live a pretty calm 10 years or more eating Eucalyptus litter.
Paul Lenhart
University of Texas at El Paso

Letter 16 – Oriental Cockroach

 

Xmas present included a @&*#$ bug!
Wed, Jan 14, 2009 at 8:11 AM
I got a box for Xmas and did find this bug inside (dead). The box came from a US warehouse which got it from China. So the Question we are all asking to you: is the Cockroach from China or the US? We need an answer if possible as we have a bet situation here. The bug was flushed and I cannot give you more images sorry. More Info: the bug routed from China near HK then Illinois then Minnesota then to Ohio. Thanks.
Donation is the way to an answer!
China or North American Bug

Oriental Cockroach
Oriental Cockroach

Dear Donater
A donation is not truly the way to an answer.  That is more the luck of the draw when it comes to us opening emails, which happens at random or because a subject line catches our attention.  In your case, it was our vivid imagination regarding the implied foul language of your heading.  Sadly, we don’t know if your cockroach originated in China or the U.S., but we are fairly certain it is the Oriental Cockroach, Blatta orientalis, sometimes called a Water Bug.  The reason we are uncertain where your specimen originated is due in part to the misty origin of the species.  According to a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) website:  “The origin of the oriental cockroach, Blatta orientalis Linnaeus, is uncertain, but it is thought to be from Africa or south Russia. It is a major household pest in parts of the northwest, mid-west, and southern United States.”  Since the species now has such a wide distribution, it is impossible to surmise where your specimen crawled into the box.

Letter 17 – Oriental Cockroach

 

Subject: Gag, second of these I’ve killed
Location: Toronto, Ontario in Fall
October 16, 2013 8:18 pm
Hi, I’d love to know what this little monster is… I had a bed bug infestation three years ago and I’d love to nip this in the bud, before it becomes something.
Thanks,
Harmonie
Signature: Bug-a-phobic

Oriental Cockroach
Oriental Cockroach

Dear Bug-a-phobic,
We are not going to chastise you for killing an Oriental Cockroach or Water Bug.

Letter 18 – Oriental Cockroach

 

Subject: ID wanted for this insect
Location: 64111
July 7, 2017 4:52 am
Saw in kc Missouri early july 2017. Wings seem too short for its body.
Signature: Kathy H.

Oriental Cockroach

Based on this BugGuide image, we believe your Cockroach may be an Oriental Cockroach.  According to BugGuide:  “Flightless. Males have wings covering 3/4 of their body length; females have only rudimentary wing stubs.”  Based on this image from our archives, we would not rule out that this is a female Turkestan Cockroach, though BugGuide does not list any Missouri sightings.

Letter 19 – Pale Bordered Field Cockroach

 

pls help identify
I have no idea how you got into this job but it is pretty cool. Any idea what bug this is? We found about 7 of them in the house today all of a sudden. It’s total body length is about the width of a nickel. We live in Austin, TX in a subdivision with no new construction around us. Thanks!
Steve Shoaff

Hi Steve,
The perplexing information in your letter is finding 7 Pale Bordered Field Cockroaches, Pseudomops septentrionalis, in your home. This is an outdoor species that does not infest homes. All Cockroaches have a bad reputation because of a few pestilent species. Perhaps they were attracted to lights. Though German Cockroaches shun light, others like Wood Cockroaches are attracted to lights.

Letter 20 – Probably Immature Surinam Cockroach

 

Subject: What kind of roach is this?
Location: Southern Louisiana
May 30, 2016 2:26 am
Usually I see flying cockroaches or the wingless females, this one I’ve never come across. It’s darker in color with shorter legs and antennae. I never kill anything I find indoors, but I like to observe them before setting them free outside.
I was just curious since this one isn’t the usual kind I find.
Thanks!
Signature: #buglivesmatter

Female Sand Cockroach
Probably Immature Surinam Cockroach

Dear #buglivesmatter,
At first we thought that this was a flightless female Sand Cockroach in the genus
Arenivaga, and though BugGuide does not list any species in Louisiana, that just means no one in Louisiana has submitted any images to the site.  There are several species listed in nearby Texas, including the Boll’s Sandroach, which is pictured here on BugGuide.  The more we looked at your individual, the more we began to doubt that it was a Sand Cockroach.  We now believe, based on this BugGuide image, that it is an immature Surinam Cockroach, Pycnoscelus surinamensis, a species that according to BugGuide has “Nymphs look similar to the Oriental cockroach but can be easily distinguished by the rough appearence of the posterior abdomen.”  It is difficult to make out that detail in your image, so we would not rule out that it might be an immature Oriental Cockroach.  Of the Surinam Cockroach, BugGuide notes:  “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.”

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

110 thoughts on “Types of Roaches: A Friendly Guide to Identification”

  1. We found a beach house a few doors down from where I grew up in Hermosa Beach, and, it was spotless, even though it was an old, old beach cottage. We rented it and the first night there we got up to see to our new baby, turned on the light and cockroaches were everywhere, families of them. Grossed us out. We were more than just a little upset, it was creepy, and we felt it dangerous to our baby’s health. A neighbor in her brand new home next door had the same problem, and had read up on them at the library, telling us what she learned. To get rid of them, wash everything in borax powder, using it in your final rinse (just like recommended for final rinses for baby clothing and diapers), as the cockroaches (and other bugs) have microscopic hairs on their legs and bodies, and will track the Borax powder back to where they live, and eventually, over a short period of time (not overnight), they will die as it dries dries up their protective coatings and they die from that happening. It kills a lot of bugs, bed bugs, spiders, etc. It is inexpensive and so safe. It helps in fire protection as well. We put it everywhere, under our house even to the point it looked as though it had snowed there. We put it under our beds, between the matress pad and the mattress’s, between the mattress’s, up on closet shelves, along basebords, working it into the carpeting there so it doesn’t show, down in our couches, chairs, and under them as well. Put it up in your attic, on the floor of your closets, under your sinks, and on shelves in your kitchen and bathroom. If you don’t want it to be seen there, just disolve some in water and wipe down your cupboards. Put it under your stove and refrigerator as well and for the dorm problem, put up a bulletin board alert and hold a day for everyone to do the same, it will save you a lot of heart ache and the yuck factor will be way down. You’ll all smell a lot better as well if you put a bit in the final rinse of your bedding and clothing. Ha. It helps your clothing and bedding last longer as well.

    Reply
  2. Yes, Virginia, Giant Hissing Cockroaches are edible. My illustrious colleague, David George Gordon, recommends soaking them in lemon juice for a couple hours before cooking them, so as to remove the waxy layer on the exoskeleton [which seals them against the onslaught of pathogens in their environment; same technique useful for other roaches].

    The muscles that power the legs turn white upon cooking; tastes a little like lobster. This is not so surprising.

    Dave
    http://www.smallstockfoods.com

    Reply
  3. I have seen these Seawall Bugs/Roaches since I moved back to Florida in ’58. You can use them for Bait, if you can catch some! Saltwater panfish eat ’em up! Pretty soft, but the fish like ’em!

    Reply
  4. I just wanted to report a sighting of the newly introduced Phyllodromica trivittata in Rohnert Park, CA which is just north or Petaluma. Sorry that we didn’t get a picture of it. My son spotted it when we were swimming in a pool. Like everybody else has confirmed, it is very rapid. It doesn’t seem too shy as it quickly crawled onto my finger when it had the chance. We left it where we found it and were excited to look for it on this website. Thanks again for all of the good information. You guys are awesome.

    Reply
  5. Hiya, live in Northern Ireland, tonight my two dogs went out for normal night time pee, when I went to get them they we’re playing with a big wasp like cockroach, what the nunder god is it? Please help as soon as possible !!!

    Reply
  6. I live in Tempe, AZ and am battling an infestation of these. The last time I was in Petaluma, CA was over 4 years ago and I’ve never seen these until now.

    Reply
  7. These bugs have been spreading like crazy at wall beach, nanoose bay BC Canada. I am concerned they are a non native species as I have lived on the beach for 35 years and I have only started seeing them in the last 6 years. Do they have any natural predators?

    Reply
  8. Found TWO in same 12 hour period in Cloverdale, CA. waited until dark and scoured the house but found no more evidence so hoping they do colonize and sometimes ‘accidentally’ come inside…
    never really had experience with a pest inside of any sort so hoping its a fluke….
    going to try not to follow instinct to burn down my house.

    Reply
  9. Found TWO in same 12 hour period in Cloverdale, CA. waited until dark and scoured the house but found no more evidence so hoping they do colonize and sometimes ‘accidentally’ come inside…
    never really had experience with a pest inside of any sort so hoping its a fluke….
    going to try not to follow instinct to burn down my house.

    Reply
    • House-Burn-Down-ing is reserved for Lice! Keep your house, just sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth (garden grade not pool filter stuff), and be prepared to not vacuum for a week or two. Really should only have to put it around the perimeters, right next to outside doors, and around any other gaps to the outside. Another site recommended sealing up every gap/crack to keep them outside. I’m going to be doing Bemeficial Nematodes for termites (that might be lurking; no damage), which might also kill these in egg/baby form while on or in ground.
      I’ve only found two of these little guys, hope my DE attack does the trick.. Fingers crossed.

      Reply
  10. I just discovered these one week ago. They are outside near the house. On the outside stairs. Inside the basement. And now I just found one on the window sill when I opened the window. They move FAST. So far I see them at dusk or at night.

    I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, specifically Port Costa, CA 94569. Contra Costa County, on the South side of the Carquinez Strait.

    Reply
  11. I just discovered these one week ago. They are outside near the house. On the outside stairs. Inside the basement. And now I just found one on the window sill when I opened the window. They move FAST. So far I see them at dusk or at night.

    I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, specifically Port Costa, CA 94569. Contra Costa County, on the South side of the Carquinez Strait.

    Reply
  12. I have seen them in my backyard in Cloverdale, CA. They seem to live in leaf litter and are flushed out with a hose. There is more on this pdf. CALIFORNIA PLANT PEST & DISEASE REPORT
    Volume 25, Jan. 2008 – Dec. 2009

    Reply
  13. I have seen them in my backyard in Cloverdale, CA. They seem to live in leaf litter and are flushed out with a hose. There is more on this pdf. CALIFORNIA PLANT PEST & DISEASE REPORT
    Volume 25, Jan. 2008 – Dec. 2009

    Reply
  14. I live in Santa Rosa Ca. I have found hundreds and hundreds over the last couple months. Only a few have been spotted indoors. Anyone want to come collect them let me know, I found tons of them on a trail!

    Reply
  15. Bodega Bay (Sonoma Co.) – We’ve had them for two years. The ground appears to be rolling with them when it’s warm, thus taking the fun out of yard work 🙁 Finding more of them in the house, at least a couple a day. Disappear over winter. I’ve also seen them in Tomales.

    Reply
    • Found my first one in the house. There seem to be less outside after making a concerted effort to clean up the leaf litter. I could be WAY wrong on that, I suppose.

      Reply
  16. I am vacationing in Point Reyes, and the place I am renting is infested with them. It’s gross. I killed something like 15 of them today.

    They are over by the kitchen area, don’t seem to be in the bed area (thank GOD!). I just hope I don’t accidentally bring any home with myself when I leave. Revolting!

    Reply
  17. I am vacationing in Point Reyes, and the place I am renting is infested with them. It’s gross. I killed something like 15 of them today.

    They are over by the kitchen area, don’t seem to be in the bed area (thank GOD!). I just hope I don’t accidentally bring any home with myself when I leave. Revolting!

    Reply
  18. I too am having a problem with these….I live in Santa Rosa and have a large field behind my house. All my kids toys are covered in them and I do find them in my house….EW!

    Reply
  19. I too live in Santa Rosa and have found them inside as well as outside. With this many can an exterminator even get something like this under control?

    Reply
  20. We just encountered one of these little buggers in our upstairs hallway. In Youngstown Ohio. I have never seen one before, but this one was a female obviously, since it had an egg sac. I’m hoping they don’t become a problem.

    Reply
  21. None that I’m aware of, but I just moved into this house, and don’t know what the people did before me. When I saw it on my beige carpet I freaked having never seen anything like it before. It almost blended in.

    Reply
  22. We found one today, in our house in Forestville, CA. (west of Santa Rosa). I’m thankful for What’s That Bug and for people posting. We are taking the”friendly little cockroach” to our local Cooperative Extension office tomorrow. Will keep you posted. Thanks!

    Reply
  23. I work at Biella Elementary in Santa Rosa and I see them there at times-as well as my yard in Cloverdale. I emailed the Press Democrat about this but have heard nothing. I suppose it’s not newsworthy enough.

    Reply
  24. I’ve seen many in my backyard in Sonoma and they got my attention because they look like baby roaches. What really got me going was their presence in a heuchera plant. This heuchera was red and healthy till one day it was not. In a matter of a day or two, this plant looked sickly. I was going to cut away the dead leaves but realized it was a goner. I pulled it out of the ground and hundreds of these things ran away from the ground around the plant.

    Reply
  25. I live in north Napa. I found one coming out from under the refrigerator four days ago and just found one in the cabinet next to the refrigerator. It fell out as I was pulling out a tray that was standing on end. So this means I now have roaches in my house? How can I get rid of them? Will borax work? Stressing!

    Reply
    • I’m going to try diatomaceous earth (garden grade not the one for pool filter)… fingers crossed that will do it. I read they aren’t after the food like the ginormous roaches we hear about, but it might not hurt to include some borax (boron?) in the equation. Need to find out what they like to eat, and mix the borax into that.

      Reply
  26. Thanks for a great web site. These bugs have been around my house in north San Rafael (above China Camp State Park) for more than 8 years now. FYI, recently we got a cat… and they seem to be eating his kibble, but not his wet food.

    Reply
  27. I need to know what kind of bug this is..there was a few in my attic and now they are coming into my bedroom and mt daughters bedroom ..I think it’s a cockroach but I’m not sure I’m scared to let my 14 month old baby on the floor I don’t want her to pick it up or anything please help me..

    Reply
  28. I am nearly certain that this is the variety that I am seeing now on all four sides of our home in Northern CA, Suisun City CA (Solano County). Fast runners, they’re in the mulch/bark in from yard and back, the garden, and in the lawns in front and back. I see them during day hours and night if I look without trying very hard. They are all fairly small, when compared to rouches I’ve seen in the past. They don’t appear to have wings and I haven’t seen any fly.

    Reply
  29. Thank you all for the info, we have found three over the past few days in Napa, Ca.
    #3 Spotted a night 9.50 pm ish
    Small bugger with strips.

    Reply
  30. Thank you all for the info, we have found three over the past few days in Napa, Ca.
    #3 Spotted a night 9.50 pm ish
    Small bugger with strips.

    Reply
  31. Just found one in Pacifica, CA. Plenty of people travel to Sonoma, Petaluma, Napa, etc, so I’m wondering if a neighbor brought one home. We’ve had a recent neighbor come back from Portugal.

    Reply
  32. This is the first year we are seeing an abundance of these roaches in our yard in southwest Petaluma. So far, they are only outdoors, on fallen fruit, in leaf litter, in close proximity with Argentine ants, and around the garbage cans. I’ve moved the garbage cans away from the house.

    Reply
  33. I saw hundreds of these running on the rocks of The Barrington River , oart of Narragansett Bay..I’ve never seen these things before .there were so many all running together in and out of the rocks on the docks..pretty overehelming

    Reply
  34. The Isopods arrived after Superstorm Sandy 2012 in brooklyn ny…..they have eaten all the seaweed growing on rocks and seawall from highwater mark down.

    Reply
  35. We recently found these after visiting Monterey. We first foun one in our durty clothes from Monterey, one in our patio table and one in our garage. HOW DO WE GET RID OF THESE? I have small children and I can’t even imagine having these inside the house next!

    Reply
    • I have been seeing these around all sides outdoors of my mom’s house for a year or so. I see them primarily in the bark, mulch and if you were to move a rock that is used as a border in the yard there may be several. Over the course of 1-2 years, there has been just 2 found in the house. I did read somewhere that there isn’t any risk of them carrying diseases if that is any consolation, but I don’t have any link to provide you with. Pest control was considered to come out but in the end decided to forgo the pesticides as we all thought what is more harmful some bugs running around the yard and occasional one who slips into the home, or chemicals sprayed all around the home outside and maybe inside. It’s been months since we have seen any of these little bugs. There are often small children playing at the house too and chemicals although the pest control companies tell them they are kid and pet safe I take that with a grain of salt and accept the bugs.

      Reply
  36. We got rid of our lawn in N. Cal and they love the mulch around the plants. They are prolific this year. Pick up as much leaf litter as possible but that’s a pipe dream.

    Reply
  37. Windsor, California. Over the last few months I have seen these pests running around my home. The kitchen and bedroom are the most affected areas. Finally caught one. Ew.

    Reply
  38. My seawall and rip rap is covered with these things. I’m tired of seeing them. How can I get rid of them? The birds and fish appear to eat them so I concerned about just hap hazardly spraying insecticide.

    Dave

    Reply
  39. My seawall and rip rap is covered with these things. I’m tired of seeing them. How can I get rid of them? The birds and fish appear to eat them so I concerned about just hap hazardly spraying insecticide.

    Dave

    Reply
  40. found three in the last two weeks in vallejo ca. first time i have seen them . one in medicine chest, one on kitchen counter , one on computer desk just now . i hope that’s all but for me when it rains it pours. keeping my fingers crossed.

    Reply
  41. I live in Napa CA. I Have found 3 in the last week inside my house, 1 in the bathroom, 1 in the living room, and 1 in the hall closet, I haven’t seen any outside or around the property. Does any one know the best and most effective way to get rid of them? I have a 4 year old son and definitely do not need to be subjecting him to harmful chemicals. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  42. Have been seeing them
    For the past 3 years in Marshall, ca near point Reyes in west marin.
    More in the house this year, I believe they’re highjackers, coming in on shoes etc. seem outside at all hours and in the hay at our horse barn in petaluma/ cotati.
    Anyone had and success getting RID of them. Kitchen, bathroom and weirdly bedroom this fall.
    Not okay.
    We have our fair share of bug lord know and don’t need this one!
    Any advice welcome don’t like these guys.

    Reply
    • Dawn,
      I doubt that this specie can get eliminated. I use a roach spray on all doorway thresholds as well as where the garage door comes down. I still see them at times in the house-but not to the point of being a pest. I get a lot of blue-belly fence lizards and they probably help to keep the numbers down. I rake up the leaf litter and they sure like the mulch in front. Chickens in your yard should help but this is here to stay.

      Reply
  43. Have been seeing them
    For the past 3 years in Marshall, ca near point Reyes in west marin.
    More in the house this year, I believe they’re highjackers, coming in on shoes etc. seem outside at all hours and in the hay at our horse barn in petaluma/ cotati.
    Anyone had and success getting RID of them. Kitchen, bathroom and weirdly bedroom this fall.
    Not okay.
    We have our fair share of bug lord know and don’t need this one!
    Any advice welcome don’t like these guys.

    Reply
    • Dawn,
      I doubt that this specie can get eliminated. I use a roach spray on all doorway thresholds as well as where the garage door comes down. I still see them at times in the house-but not to the point of being a pest. I get a lot of blue-belly fence lizards and they probably help to keep the numbers down. I rake up the leaf litter and they sure like the mulch in front. Chickens in your yard should help but this is here to stay.

      Reply
  44. We live in American Canyon (right in between Vallejo and Napa). These little guys are increasing in numbers within our house (ewwww). We’ve never seen them until recently. When I say recently, I mean within the last 2 months. They are not too bothersome. However, I am concerned since, until now, I’ve never had to worry about anything being in my cereal box. Gross. Calling an extermination service a.s.a.p and doing a thorough cleaning, again.

    Reply
    • Hi Christina, I live on Wetlands Edge Rd and they are bombarding us via the garage facing the Wetlands. Have you had any success getting rid of them? I found 2 in my room today and am freaking out. Let me Let me know what worked for you.

      Reply
  45. Found 2 of these in the last two weeks in our home 1 during day light one at night it was extreme heat outside 109 at highest so I think they came in looking for.moisture. I’m in santa rosa ca

    Reply
  46. (Updating my comment from Aug. 28, 2016) The summer of 2016 was the first year we saw these little gals in abundance in our yard in southwest Petaluma. This summer (2017) there have been very few. However, I am seeing an abundance of ground-running predaceous beetles (small carabids…not sure what species) and ground-running spiders (mainly small wolf spiders). I think these predators are helping us out, as we have never seen them this abundant before. So, to anyone who is freaking out about a sudden explosion of this new cockroach species, you might try the “do nothing” option, along with keeping your garbage cans and compost away from the house, picking up all fallen fruit, etc. It worked for me! 🙂

    Reply
  47. Found the first one on my boxspring when I was cleaning last week. Then under a pillow this week. Just found a third on the kitchen floor tonight. They are only the size of ladybugs. I hope I don’t find more, but I keep all food in ziplock bags, and no crumbs around so I’m not sure what to do. It doesn’t warrant spraying at this point, even if they could.

    Reply
  48. Just this week I’ve seen three of these in my kitchen near the sink at night. We live in Forestville, Ca
    Hadn’t seen cockroaches since my years in NYC and wasnt sure what they were but assumed they were roaches by the way they moved…creepy
    Also know where there’s one there are many more hiding. Doing home renovations might be why we’re seeing them emerge?

    Reply
  49. Just this week I’ve seen three of these in my kitchen near the sink at night. We live in Forestville, Ca
    Hadn’t seen cockroaches since my years in NYC and wasnt sure what they were but assumed they were roaches by the way they moved…creepy
    Also know where there’s one there are many more hiding. Doing home renovations might be why we’re seeing them emerge?

    Reply
  50. Just started seeing these over the past week in our house west of Sebastopol, in the kitchen, livingroom, and office. Maybe 2 or 3 a day. We keep things pretty clean around here, haven’t noticed them congregating around the cat dishes or anything like that. I suspect the woodpile, which I know has some funky wood.

    Reply
  51. Just spotted one these little buggers last night in the kitchen! I freaked. Located in Gualala Ca, few miles off the coast! I’m hoping he just ventured in from outside. As we just remodeled this house.

    Reply
  52. I live in American Canyon, California. Live across the street from the marshland and our house is infested with them. Every time we open the garage about 15-20 of them come scurrying through. Last night they worked their way into bedroom and bedroom bath. Anyone have any tips to deal with them?

    Reply
  53. We just moved toTerra Linda San Rafael into our completely remodeled house . I have been finding these roaches in the house in various places. I’m going to spray doorways and put out sticky traps. August 7, 2018

    Reply
  54. We removed an old fallen barn out of our yard in Sonoma, CA, and we have a MAJOR infestation in the yard. Started finding a bunch of them in the house about a month ago, a we did a flea/roach fogger – haven’t seen them inside in a couple weeks so it seemed to work, for now anyway.
    Does anyone know how to get rid of them, especially in the yard?

    Reply
  55. We removed an old fallen barn out of our yard in Sonoma, CA, and we have a MAJOR infestation in the yard. Started finding a bunch of them in the house about a month ago, a we did a flea/roach fogger – haven’t seen them inside in a couple weeks so it seemed to work, for now anyway.
    Does anyone know how to get rid of them, especially in the yard?

    Reply
  56. We live in San Rafael and have a decent size 1 acre property. A few years ago we put down a lot of wood chips on the back yard of our property to help weed control during spring and mud during winter.

    Ever since we put down the wood chips in the yard we have been absolutely under attack from these little cockroaches, it’s absolutely insane! I was able to pinpoint the wood chips as the source, or at least breeding ground, because the first year we put them down, if you brushed patch of wood chips aside with your foot you would see hundreds of them under the surface of the chips. I thought they would dissipate over the years, as the wood chips aged and degraded, but unfortunately it has continued.

    They show up in the summer, around June, and stay until about November. They are so small that they can get through very tiny cracks under doors, around window screens, attic vents, etc. No exaggeration, I kill 3-6 a day, every day IN THE HOUSE!

    Finally this year, I recently gave up hope that they would disappear as the wood chips aged and deteriorated. I think they have now become an everlasting presence on our property. My concern is that I don’t know how we will keep them out of the house. I’m 99% sure they are breeding/laying eggs/etc outside the house and only entering the house through cracks. So I don’t think any amount of fogging or fumigating of our house would do anything. If I find a solution I will report back after talking to some pest control companies.

    Reply
    • Egad. We just moved to Terra Linda after our 1953 Eichler , bought a year ago, was completely remodeled for accessibility, new sewer, plumbing, electrical, roof, walls moved , doorways widened. The roaches seem to have moved in before us. Ugh. I haven’t pursued how to eradicate them. Please keep us informed about your efforts to do so.
      Thank you.
      Laura Barnett

      Reply
  57. We live in San Rafael and have a decent size 1 acre property. A few years ago we put down a lot of wood chips on the back yard of our property to help weed control during spring and mud during winter.

    Ever since we put down the wood chips in the yard we have been absolutely under attack from these little cockroaches, it’s absolutely insane! I was able to pinpoint the wood chips as the source, or at least breeding ground, because the first year we put them down, if you brushed patch of wood chips aside with your foot you would see hundreds of them under the surface of the chips. I thought they would dissipate over the years, as the wood chips aged and degraded, but unfortunately it has continued.

    They show up in the summer, around June, and stay until about November. They are so small that they can get through very tiny cracks under doors, around window screens, attic vents, etc. No exaggeration, I kill 3-6 a day, every day IN THE HOUSE!

    Finally this year, I recently gave up hope that they would disappear as the wood chips aged and deteriorated. I think they have now become an everlasting presence on our property. My concern is that I don’t know how we will keep them out of the house. I’m 99% sure they are breeding/laying eggs/etc outside the house and only entering the house through cracks. So I don’t think any amount of fogging or fumigating of our house would do anything. If I find a solution I will report back after talking to some pest control companies.

    Reply
    • Egad. We just moved to Terra Linda after our 1953 Eichler , bought a year ago, was completely remodeled for accessibility, new sewer, plumbing, electrical, roof, walls moved , doorways widened. The roaches seem to have moved in before us. Ugh. I haven’t pursued how to eradicate them. Please keep us informed about your efforts to do so.
      Thank you.
      Laura Barnett

      Reply
  58. I live in Cloverdale. I had an invasion this summer in the front yard eating the leaves off a bunch off some type of volunteer trees that sprouted under my redwood tree. They totally ate all the leaves and left sticks. I thought they were some type of beetle. But now they have come in under the screen door into the living room. I have never seen any in the kitchen only the living room and the hall.
    Once I examined one I could tell it was some type of roach. It has been weeks of searching the Internet to finally confirm and identify them as roaches. I will be using diatomaceous earth in the yard and house to try and get rid of them.

    Reply
  59. I live in Cloverdale. I had an invasion this summer in the front yard eating the leaves off a bunch off some type of volunteer trees that sprouted under my redwood tree. They totally ate all the leaves and left sticks. I thought they were some type of beetle. But now they have come in under the screen door into the living room. I have never seen any in the kitchen only the living room and the hall.
    Once I examined one I could tell it was some type of roach. It has been weeks of searching the Internet to finally confirm and identify them as roaches. I will be using diatomaceous earth in the yard and house to try and get rid of them.

    Reply
    • I’m in Petaluma and my cat is eating /killing them when they come in the house. Seems to be the best product I have found that works….I’ve only had a couple so far this summer tho.

      Reply
  60. We have seen one or two of these in last couple of years in our house in Fremont. This week however, I already killed 4. They are very fast and unlike most roaches, run around during the daylight. I haven’t seen them outside but maybe I haven’t looked from the right spots. We also have wood chips on our yard like someone else here says, going to check under that.

    Reply
  61. Wood chips which provide habitat for these roaches are being used throughout the Bay Area and elsewhere. I think this is a fairly recent thing.

    Reply
  62. I live in Ukiah (one hr north of santa rosa. I have killed two of these bugs. One came running from flower bed that has rocks (instead of mulch). I believe it came out because I was spraying Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer. The spray did kill it but they are fast. The other one was on my front doorstep, I believe it was under my doormat, which it was running fast due to the spray as well. I have never seen them before, was freaking out thinking they were a cockroach since our local schools are infested with the Turkistan cockroaches.
    They have not been in my house or garage.
    Does anyone know what would kill them? I am thinking about just pouring the insect killer all over my yard that has dirt, rocks, flowers. I do have pets, dog and cat so using the Diatomaceous Earth is limited since it is harmful to pets.
    I was told to put the DE in our water meter box cause that is where cockroaches love to be, and I put it in my sprinkler system box too.
    Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

    Reply
  63. I live in Ukiah (one hr north of santa rosa. I have killed two of these bugs. One came running from flower bed that has rocks (instead of mulch). I believe it came out because I was spraying Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer. The spray did kill it but they are fast. The other one was on my front doorstep, I believe it was under my doormat, which it was running fast due to the spray as well. I have never seen them before, was freaking out thinking they were a cockroach since our local schools are infested with the Turkistan cockroaches.
    They have not been in my house or garage.
    Does anyone know what would kill them? I am thinking about just pouring the insect killer all over my yard that has dirt, rocks, flowers. I do have pets, dog and cat so using the Diatomaceous Earth is limited since it is harmful to pets.
    I was told to put the DE in our water meter box cause that is where cockroaches love to be, and I put it in my sprinkler system box too.
    Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

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  64. I live in Berkeley, and these are in my yard- in woodchips and rocks and are sometimes spotted in my house as well- some days we see more than others. We noticed them when we moved in to our new spot 2016. I am glad I found this spot! Thanks, all!

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    • Update. So these little suckers are everywhere outside in our Terralinda San Rafael property. My husbandry raked accumulated debris from around the house perimeter. I saw a gazillion disrupted sesame seed sized nymphs skittering across the concrete path to the soil. The roaches are definitely here to stay. They are expanding their habitat throughout the Bay Area and beyond.

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  65. Laura in Terralinda –, The first few years I noticed these little roaches, we had gazillions in the leaf litter. Now, the 4th year, we have gazillions of predaceous ground beetles (Carabidae) and wolf spiders, and I don’t see many cockroaches at all. So even if the roaches are here to stay, their predators will keep them from taking over. The only “pest control” I do is keep the garbage bins away from the house, keep debris from accumulating around the foundation, and thank the beetles and spiders. Oh, and check flower pots carefully before bringing them indoors.

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    • Thanks the roaches are everywhere now. They are here to stay. Gazillions in our garden. Nymphs that have recently hatched. I’m going to spay them with vinegar water solution. I’m cheering for the spiders and the beetles.

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  66. I had posted in 2015 I had found two in my house in Napa. We’ve moved to the country out in Vacaville and I just found one out back while playing in the sandbox. A lot of people out here use wood chips to help keep soil moist around bushes and trees and to keep weeds down. I did the latter and so I guess they are here now too!

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    • Since all the years of drought, the use of wood chips and bark is ubiquitous. Perfect environment for these critters. And so the invasion spreads.

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  67. I don’t believe that they do not infest house or garden, I have so many in my garage and in the roof of my house, its bad

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    • Hi Dwayne, please advise if you resolved this issue. Reason for asking is that we just bought a new house and we have the same problem. It started in the garage and now it has infested our whole roof ? Please 🙏 need advice. Thank you

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  68. Down to the boat ramp in chemainus BC ( Vancouver island) today , late May 2022 ,bugs all over the rocks and sea wall , first time I have ever taken notice of them…Is this the new norm or just one of those 7year cycle things????

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  69. It’s 7:41 am I’m sitting here and trying to find out what bug this is so I know now but I just want to know, I was sleeping on the couch and a big one was in my hand. So I woke up an hour ago and saw it, I put it in my cigarette pack cause I didn’t find anything else anyway the thing marked me with black marks on my palm and I can’t get it off. Is it bad or what… Did I bite me or just shit on me and why can’t it come off

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  70. Rincon Valley neighborhood of Santa Rosa, CA. I recognized these as roach nymphs, as I had encountered them when living in Kern County 40 yrs ago, but the longitudinal stripes were unfamiliar. Not happy to see them again. Rarely sighted, but saw three today after I watered some new plants on a brick-covered patio. Have not seen anything resembling an adult stage.
    I believe they live in moist corner of crawl-space. Great, a new invasive species… maybe the Argentine ants will eat them.

    Reply

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