Common Types of Cockroaches

In this article, we will share 5 of the most common types of cockroaches spotted at homes.

There are over 4,000 types of cockroaches in the world, and about 70 species can be found in the United States (check out this post for interesting facts). However, most species of roaches rarely invade homes (for example, the brown-hooded and western wood cockroaches prefer to live outside in the Pacific Northwest area).

Good news is, you do not need to know all 70 species but just have to learn to identify a few common ones at home. Like any other pests, different species of cockroaches share many common characteristics; but not all roaches are created equal.

Regardless of species, cockroaches share certain types of commonalities:

Shared roach commonalities
  • Most roaches can grow to between 0.7 inches to 3 inches in length (excluding the antennae on the roach’s head).
  • One of the most distinctive features of a cockroach is the shield-shaped pronotum behind the head.
  • Most roaches are a reddish-brown to black in color with oval-shaped bodies that often appear flattened.
  • Cockroaches that that are growing and have recently shed their exoskeleton, tend to be whitish temporarily.
  • Not all species of cockroaches can fly though almost all of them have wings.
  • All roaches can move really fast and studies have shown that some species can even travel at speeds of up to three miles per hour.

Learning to identify the types of roaches is not that tough if you know where to look.

Knowing how to differentiate the types of roaches at home can help you choose the most effective roach killer methods to get rid of them (i.e Roach SprayRoach Bait)

If we are like us, who used to think that cockroaches are all the same (we didn’t even know there are different species), this article might shed some light.

Here are 5 of the most common types of roaches found at home:

American Cockroach

>> Largest in size

  • Size: 1 – 3 inches
  • Color: brown, reddish-brown
  • Special Features: light-yellow edges on pronotum (yellowish figure 8 patterns on the back of their head)
  • Region Found: Entire United States
  • Favorite Hangout: Warm and damp areas – sewers, drains, kitchens, basements, bathrooms, Outdoor.
  • Flight Ability: both male & female can take flight

American cockroachAmerican cockroaches (commonly known as ‘palmetto bugs’) are not only found all over the United States, but they are also commonly found all over the world. They are the largest house-infesting cockroaches and can survive up to two years, which is much longer than other types of roaches.

The American cockroach reddish-brown or dark brown in color and can grow up to 3 inches long. The wings of the males are longer but both males and females have the ability to take flight.

Like any roaches, they are commonly found in warm, dark areas and wet areas such as basements, drains, sewers and will eat almost anything.

They are most with the temperature of 70 degrees or higher and can survive lower temperatures with the right conditions.

Brownbanded Cockroach

>> Smaller size than American or Asian cockroaches

  • Size: 0.5 inches
  • Color: Dark-brown body and golden-tan wing tips; females have dark-brown bodies and reddish-brown wings
  • Special Features: light-yellow bands on wing tips, abdomen, and sides of pronotum
  • Region Found: All over United States
  • Favorite Hangout: warm and dry indoor spots like ceilings, behind picture frames and clocks, in book/ magazine clutter and inside electric devices. They also prefer higher locations like upper cabinets
  • Flight Ability: only males can fly

While most roaches like warm and wet areas, this species prefer warm and areas that are dry, like up high (i.e behind pictures on walls) and the inside of home appliances (i.e. electronics, television, and refrigerator) and stays away from water.

[May: that’s why it’s possible to find German and brown-banded roaches inhabit in the same house, but rarely find them hiding in the same spots.]Brownbanded Cockroach

The Brown-banded Cockroach prefers starchy foods (like glue and paper based items like newspaper and old magazines) and often hides its egg cases inside or under furniture.

Color-wise, females have a dark brown body base while the males are golden-tan in color. Both genders have light bands across their abdomen and wings (that’s how they get their name).

Though more likely to jump, the males will take flight if disturbed (the females can’t fly).

German Cockroach

>> Smaller than American and Asian cockroaches

  • Size: 0.6 inches
  • Color: light-brown to tan
  • Special features: two dark and parallel stripes on pronotum
  • Region found: All over the United States
  • Favorite hangout: warm and humid places at home and areas near water sources with food (i.e in the kitchens, around storage areas and bathrooms)
  • Flight ability: can easily glide but barely can fly

The German cockroach is the most common type of cockroach found in America.

They are excellent at breeding where a single female can give birth to more than 30,000 cockroaches in one year (though not all of them will survive for long). 1 egg case of the German cockroach (known as Ootheca) can hatch about 20 – 40 baby cockroaches, German Cockroachand the mother roach carries the eggs with her until they are ready to hatch (unlike other species). Making them extra persistent and more difficult to get rid of.

The German roach can only grow to one-half to five-eighths of an inch long, which is smaller than its American counterpart. Thanks to their small size, they can hide in places that other roaches cannot fit, which also makes them really hard to find when there’s an infestation.

German roaches are tan or light brown colored and have dark, parallel lines running from behind their heads to their wings. While they have wings, these roaches do not take flight.

They are usually found in environments that are both moist and warm. Common areas include the kitchens, bathrooms, near the sinks, stoves, and dishwashers.

Like other cockroaches, they eat a wide variety of things; but prefer grease, meat and other starchy foods.

Oriental Cockroach

  • Size: 1.25 inches
  • Color: dark-brown or black
  • Special features: Dark and glossy appearance
  • Favorite Hangout: Dark, cooling and moist area with decaying organic matter (i.e sewers, damp basements)
  • Flight ability: Nope
  • Region found: North, Northwest, Midwest and Southern side of United States
The Oriental cockroach is sometimes called “water bug” or “black beetle” as they come out of drains and have smooth, shiny and dark body color. Oriental CockroachThey give off a strong smell and are considered one of the dirtiest of all the cockroaches.

Oriental roaches can grow to about 1.25 inches long and neither the males nor females can fly. They are also not as fast as other cockroaches.

They enjoy moist areas, find comfort in dark spots that are out of sight from humans, which makes them hard to be gotten rid of. Indoor, they are commonly found in basements or anywhere with good source of water, and usually venture into the house in search of food. Outdoors, they are often found in sewers, in leaf piles, garages, woodpiles and near areas where pet food is stored.

Smoky brown cockroaches

>> Slightly smaller than the American roachSmoky brown cockroaches

  • Size: 1.5 inches
  • Color: dark-mahogany, black pronotum
  • Special features: wings are longer than its body
  • Region found: Southeastern side of United States
  • Favorite hangout: attics & gutters
  • Flight ability: both adult males and females can fly excellently

The smoky brown cockroach dehydrates quickly; hence they love places that are moist and damp. They are excellent fliers and are active at night. Lights are usually what attract them to enter homes.

Now that you know how to differentiate the common types of cockroaches at home, which of these roach species are spotted in your home?

Which species have you encountered in the past? Or what you see at home is not the same as any in the list?! Feel free to leave a comment to let us know.

Having identified the species of roach in your home is the first step; now is time to find the best roach killer to get rid of them.