There are several cockroaches commonly found in the United States. Only a few can infest structures and survive. The others can be found outside. Cockroaches can inhabit sewers and moist areas around and under homes, and within structures. Varying by type, roaches can be from ½ inch to over 1.5 inches in length. Cockroaches have several stages of development before becoming adults. These nymphs are smaller and often look similar to one another.
The American Roach is a rather large reddish brown cockroach with a lighter marking on the area behind its head. Found throughout the United States, both inside and outside structures, American Roaches favor moist areas and can be found in sewers. The long life cycle presence of nymphs can indicate a large infestation. Sometimes, when found in trees in the southeastern and western U.S., they are called a palmetto bug.
The brown banded roach is a commonly found tan colored roach about ½ inch long when mature. It has brown bands across its body, and is similar in size to the German roach, but prefers dryer warmer areas. Brown banded roaches can infest structures and are often introduced through rented material, e.g., furniture and appliances. These roaches also have a longer life cycle then the German roach.
German roaches are smaller ½ inch tan colored with stripes on the back running the length of the body. German roaches commonly infest structures. They have a short life cycle and fast reproduction, so numbers can build up rapidly. They can also be introduced with transport deliveries, or through infested materials.
The Oriental roach is dark brown to black roach with poorly developed wings. It favors moist areas and is often called a water bug. A long life cycle when nymphs are present would indicate a large Oriental roach infestation.
The smokybrown roach is large roach that generally lives outside in crawl spaces and in or around structures in mulch and trees. It is also called the palmetto bug in some areas of the country. The name denotes its color: a deep brown color. Smokybrown roaches also have a long life cycle.
Wood roaches can be brought into structures on firewood. The adults differ in appearance, with the males having wings, allowing them to fly to lights. Females look similar to Oriental roaches but are much smaller. They do not generally infest structures.
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