Are There Different Types of Cockroaches?

by Gwen Case
The cockroach crawling around faucet.

They skitter away when you flick on the lights. They leave egg cases and germs around your home. Cockroaches are dreaded pests that bring images of bulging eyes and dirty brown bodies to mind.

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But what if you see a bug that doesn't quite match your mental picture of a roach?

Are There Different Types of Cockroaches?

There are many types of cockroaches, and not all of these pests look the same. There are thousands of species of roaches, and around 50 of those are potential pests to humans.

Many kinds of cockroaches prefer to live outdoors in wild habitats. However, cockroaches that do enjoy human habitats can become a major nuisance and sanitation issue.

Although not all types of cockroaches look the same, they share some distinctive features:

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Different Types of Cockroaches

A few common types of cockroaches are found in North America. Common types of cockroaches vary by region, but the following kinds frequently invade homes and buildings in North America.

German Cockroach

German cockroaches (blatella germanica) are light brown with darker stripes, and they are the most common type of roach to infest dwellings in the United States. These small cockroaches are often found in boiler rooms, in kitchens and near furnaces. Due to their small size, they can easily move between units in apartment buildings. Humans may inadvertently transport the bugs and their eggs via food containers, garbage and other objects.

Brownbanded Cockroach

This type of roach is similar in appearance to the German cockroach, but it's slightly smaller. Brownbanded cockroaches prefer warm temperatures and are often found behind appliances or in ceilings.

American Cockroach

Many people think of these large, dark-brown insects when they think of cockroaches. A male can be up to 2 inches long. This type of roach is less likely to be found in homes as they prefer warm, wet areas with less traffic. Commercial buildings, boiler rooms and sewers may have infestations of these roaches.

Oriental Cockroach

A distinctive feature of this medium-sized cockroach is its unpleasant odor. The Oriental cockroach will infest homes. They typically prefer dark, wet areas like basements or crawl spaces, and they don't need as much heat as many other types of cockroaches.

Wood Cockroach

People generally don't need to worry about this type of cockroach, as it's typically unable to survive or reproduce indoors. Wood roaches live in woodpiles or debris outside homes and may occasionally make it indoors, but an infestation is unlikely.

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Bugs That Look Like Cockroaches But Are Not Cockroaches

Figuring out whether you're dealing with actual cockroaches can be useful, since other pests may be less problematic or may need to be dealt with differently. Brown insects with long antennae or rear appendages can be confused for cockroaches. Some examples include:

  • Crickets
  • Earwigs, also known as water bugs
  • Various types of beetles

If you can't tell what type of bug you're dealing with, an exterminator or other expert can help.

How Do You Get Rid of Cockroaches?

Cockroaches can be difficult to eliminate because they reproduce quickly and can live for weeks without food. Because problematic cockroach species are drawn to human food, the following steps are essential for eliminating roaches:

  • Keep food in sealed containers
  • Take the garbage out every night or keep it sealed
  • Clean all crumbs and food debris from counters and floors

You may be able to eradicate a small infestation with insecticide or roach spray from a hardware or grocery store. However, larger infestations can be more challenging, especially if roaches hide behind walls or in difficult-to-reach areas. In these cases, help from a professional may be required.

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Elocal Editorial Content is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Editorial Content should not be used as a substitute for advice from a licensed professional in your state reviewing your issue. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the eLocal Editorial Team and other third-party content providers do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of eLocal or its affiliate companies. Use of eLocal Editorial Content is subject to the

Website Terms and Conditions.

The eLocal Editorial Team operates independently of eLocal USA's marketing and sales decisions.

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