mid-Missouri Pest Information: Cockroaches

Cockroach Identification

When dealing with cockroaches, it’s best to hire a professional – they can be very good at hiding and even better at hiding their eggs. They reproduce very quickly and in a short time, could get out of hand. The inside of your home is a great place for them to thrive with unlimited food, water, warmth and places to hide. Roaches can be a pest all year long! They can be brought in by deliveries, grocery bags, used appliances and electronics and personal items like purses or backpacks. Some roaches can even carry and transfer disease and a variety of pathogenic organisms such as food poisoning, diarrhea and other illnesses.

German Cockroach

Photo of a German Roach

The German cockroach is by far the most common and biggest nuisance of all roaches. They are light brown to tan in color with 2 dark stripes on their head. Immature roaches are dark brown to black in color with a pale stripe on their backs. The German cockroach prefers living in warm, humid areas and are usually found in kitchens and bathrooms, but may spread to other areas in a bad case. German roaches can be brought into a structure on grocery sacks and boxes or inside infested refrigerators, microwaves, television sets, etc. Due to their rapid reproduction rate, an infestation can become extremely bad unless treated immediately. They will feed on almost anything with nutritional value such as food, glue, soap, etc. It is possible for the German cockroach to travel outdoors and from house to house during summer months.

Oriental Cockroach

Photo of an Oriental Cockroach

This common roach is also called a “water roach” or “water bug” and is shiny and black to dark reddish-brown. The Oriental roach prefers to spend its life outside under debris, stones, mulch, etc. but may occasionally stumble indoors. When found inside, they are usually in basements, cellars, and around water pipes.

Brown Banded Cockroach

Photo of a Brown Banded Cockroach

Adult brown banded roaches have pale brown bands running across their wings, and immature roaches have pale brown bands running across their body. Adult roaches have a brown liberty-bell shaped pattern on their head, and their wings get lighter toward the tips. Brownbanded cockroaches prefer warm areas (over 80 degrees) and can be found throughout structures. They prefer residing in higher areas of rooms and appliances, so be sure to check in and along drop ceilings and anything high on a wall—like picture frames and wall moldings. They can also be found in motors, electronics, appliances, outlets and light switch covers, and even up in light fixtures!

Wood Roach

Photo of a Wood Roach

Pennsylvania Wood roaches can range in color from a light honey shade to a chestnut brown. The males are fully winged and good fliers, while the females have very short, functionless wings. Pennsylvania wood roaches are mostly found outdoors under the loose bark of dead trees, in tree holes, in woodpiles, under cedar-shake shingles, siding, and in and around gutters. The male roach is attracted to light, and may be found flying around porch lights and windows at night.

American Cockcroach

Photo of an American Cockroach

These large roaches are reddish brown in color with a pale brown to yellowish band across the bottom of their head shield. Adults have full sets of wings, and immature American roaches are shiny and uniformly grayish-brown in color. While the American cockroach may be found in houses, they are more common in restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals, and other commercial buildings where they infest basements, food-storage, prep areas, and steam tunnels. They may enter structures through sewer drains or may be brought in by an outside source. American roaches can infest any structure, but, it’s more than likely that they’ll infest an older building.

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