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Pictures of Cockroaches

What Does a Cockroach Look Like?

Of the 55 types of cockroaches that live in the United States, only five in the Mid-Atlantic region can thrive indoors. These pests have many similar features, including flat, oval bodies, long antennae, and six spiny legs. However, differences in their appearance like color, size, and wing length distinguish each type.

It’s easy to mistake lookalike pests such as beetles and crickets for cockroaches. Since other insects and even different cockroach species vary in their habits and habitats, identifying an infestation ensures the most effective pest control tactics for the job. Check out the photo gallery below for some useful cockroach identification tips.

American Cockroach

american cockroach illustration

Sketch of an American cockroach

image of american cockroach from top pictures of cockroaches, cockroach pictures

Top image of an American cockroach

What does a cockroach look like? images of cockroaches

Top view image of an American cockroach

image of american cockroach legs and wings

Side view image of an American cockroach

American cockroaches are large insects with flattened, reddish-brown bodies and matching wings. From the side, you can see that cockroaches have exposed wings rather than wings covered by a hard outer casing. This trait helps to separate them from beetles that may look like cockroaches.

top view picture of american cockroach

Close-up image of an American cockroaches back

Wing length varies between male and female American cockroaches. Males have long wings that extend past the tips of their abdomens, while females’ wings are about the same length as their abdomens.

image of american cockroach underside with measuring tape

Photo of an American cockroach against a ruler for scale

The largest home-infesting species in the area, American cockroach adults grow to between one and a half inches and two inches in length. Pests in the early stages of the cockroach life cycle are often different sizes. Nymphs may only measure a few millimeters after they hatch.

photo of american cockroach on cardboard

As pictured here, American cockroaches gather in dark, warm, and damp places such as under sinks, behind appliances, or within debris like cardboard.

american cockroach head and antennae image

Close-up photo of an American cockroach head   

closeup picture of american cockroach

Close up image of an American cockroach

image of one american cockroach on top of another   multiple american cockroaches inside cardboard structure

American cockroaches hiding in debris

American Cockroach Ootheca (Eggs)
american cockroach egg with measuring tape for scale

American cockroach egg measured against a ruler

american cockroach egg closeup   american cockroach egg side view

Close up images of an American cockroach egg capsule

American cockroaches lay around 14 to 16 eggs inside a protective case. These purse-shaped egg capsules are around five-sixteenths of an inch long and reddish-brown.

closeup photo of american cockroach carrying eggs   american cockroach carrying ootheca

A female American cockroach pictured laying an egg case

Female American cockroaches produce egg capsules inside their bodies and deposit them from the ends of their abdomens. They then use secretions from their mouths to glue down their egg cases. Dark brown capsules stuck to walls or the undersides of objects in hidden areas may be American cockroach eggs.

Brown-banded Cockroach

photo of female brownbanded cockroach climbing on cardboard

Image of a brown-banded cockroach on debris

female brownbanded cockroach crawling

female brownbanded cockroach overhead picture

image of female brownbanded cockroach - top side view

Overhead images of brown-banded cockroaches

At around a half-inch long, brown-banded cockroaches are one of the area’s smaller species. These pests have the same flat, oval shape as other cockroaches, but their pale brown color and the lighter bands on their wings and abdomens help to distinguish them.

photo of male brownbanded cockroach

male brownbanded cockroach crawling

Close-up images of a male brown-banded cockroach

photo of female and male brownbanded cockroaches

A female and male brown banded cockroach

image of female on top of male brownbanded cockroach

Image of a male and female brown-banded cockroaches

Male brown-banded cockroaches have light brown wings that cover their abdomens. Females have short wings that leave half of their dark- and light-banded backs exposed. Males will readily take flight when disturbed, which can aid in identifying them. German, American, and Oriental cockroaches rarely fly.

picture of several female brownbanded cockroaches

As pictured here, brown-banded cockroaches frequent many of the same cluttered spots as other roaches, though they choose dry areas over damp ones.

German Cockroaches

In addition to its small size, the German cockroach is characterized by a pair of dark stripes that run parallel to each other down the back of the insect.
german cockroach illustration

Illustration of a German cockroach

german cockroach image from top

Picture of a German cockroach

The most common species in houses, apartments, and businesses, the German cockroach is also one of the smallest. The pests grow to about a half-inch in length and have light brown bodies with darker brown marks

german cockroach image from top and side view

Top view image of a German cockroach

photo of german cockroach from front - head view

Front view image of a German cockroach

One of the most noticeable parts of a German cockroach’s appearance is the pair of dark lines running parallel from their head to their wings. These stripes start at the shield behind the insect’s head.

male german cockroach image

Close-up photo of a German cockroach’s back and wings

Adult German cockroaches’ pale gold wings reach the tips of their abdomens. These pests may occasionally flutter their wings to break a fall, but they prefer crawling to reach their destination.

photo of german cockroach from side

Side view image of a German cockroach

Because of German cockroaches’ tan and brown markings and love of dark, moist spaces, people sometimes mistake these pests for camel crickets. However, German cockroaches have smaller, solid-colored hind legs and tend to scurry across surfaces rather than jump.

overhead picture of male german cockroach   underside of german cockroach

Picture of the top and under-side of a German cockroach

German cockroaches have six legs covered in fine spines. The pair of legs furthest from the head is the longest. The cockroach in the first of this photo set is missing a leg, which won’t slow it down at all. These hardy pests can continue to move and reproduce with a lost limb and regrow legs in a few months.

back and underside of german cockroaches

Photo of baby German cockroach nymphs

While most baby cockroaches look like tiny adults, variations in their appearance may help pinpoint the species. Wingless German cockroach nymphs are smaller and darker than adults, though they still sport two, distinct stripes.

german cockroach on its back

Image of a male German cockroach

side view of german cockroach

Photo of a female German cockroach

Male and female German cockroaches feature a few visible differences. Males, such as the one in the top photo, have narrow, tapered lower bodies. Females are stout with more rounded abdomens than males. An egg case is also sometimes visible protruding from a female’s body.

photo of several german cockroachesPictured here within cardboard debris, German cockroaches are small enough to squeeze into even more out-of-the-way places that other roaches may not be able to reach.

German Cockroach Ootheca (Eggs)
german cockroaches - one with egg capsule

Photo of a German cockroach and egg case

German cockroach egg cases are less than one-quarter inch long and pale yellow or brown with a ridged surface. These details distinguish them from smoother, darker Oriental and American cockroach egg capsules.

german cockroach on back with egg capsule   german cockroach underside with egg capsule closeup picture of german cockroach egg capsule

Pictures of a German cockroach female laying an egg case

Female German cockroaches carry capsules jutting from their abdomens until the eggs are ready to hatch. When the young are about to emerge, females deposit egg cases in a sheltered crevice. These egg-laying practices make it especially tough to notice a German cockroach infestation in the early stages.

Oriental Cockroach

oriental cockroach illustration

Drawing of an Oriental cockroach

oriental cockroach overhead image

Picture of an Oriental cockroach

Key factors in Oriental cockroach identification are the pests’ dark color, large size, and slow movements. These insects appear reddish-brown to black and grow to roughly one and a quarter inches long. They are flightless, so a slow crawl is the Oriental cockroach’s only way to get around.oriental cockroach climbing   picture of several oriental cockroaches

Close-up images of Oriental cockroaches

Several other elements of the Oriental cockroach’s appearance set them apart. Adult males’ short wings cover three-fourths of their abdomens, and females’ tiny wing pads are barely visible. Both sexes also tend to appear greasy or shiny.

oriental cockroach from front - view of head

Front view of an Oriental cockroach

Oriental cockroaches, which people sometimes call water bugs, prefer cool, moist places. However, these pests lack the large front claws of a true giant water bug. As you can see in the photo, a cockroach’s front legs are its shortest pair.

oriental cockroaches on wood

Image of Oriental cockroaches outdoors

image of oriental cockroach from side

Picture of an Oriental cockroach indoors

Unlike German cockroaches, which rarely live outside homes, Oriental cockroaches are indoor and outdoor pests. It’s typical to spot them in flowerbeds, basements, or ground floor rooms rather than high places. Since this species has no body markings, observing their habits can separate them from similar-looking smokybrown cockroaches.

Smokybrown Cockroach

smokybrown cockroach picture   photo of smokybrown cockroach with measuring tape for scale

Overhead images of a smokeybrown cockroach

Although rarer in the area and usually an outdoor pest, smokybrown cockroaches can move into homes. These glossy, mahogany-brown insects are about the same size and color as Oriental cockroaches.

smokybrown cockroach overhead view

Picture of an adult smokeybrown cockroach

One of the key differences between this species and Oriental cockroaches are their wings. Both male and female smokybrown cockroaches have dark brown wings as long as their abdomens. These pests are strong and frequent fliers, so their movement is another way to tell them apart from sluggish, land-bound Oriental cockroaches.

closeup of smokybrown cockroach wings

Image of a smokybrown cockroach nymph’s abdomen

The half-grown wings and light bands on the abdomen of this smokybrown cockroach mark it as a nymph. Young cockroaches need these patterns to blend into vegetation and avoid predators. As the pests mature, their wings grow longer, and their markings fade into a uniform, dark brown.

dark shell and wings of smokybrown cockroach

Close-up photo of a smokybrown cockroach’s head

Oriental, American, and smokybrown cockroaches are the three largest species in the area. With their similar size, shape, and wing length, identifying an infestation can be tough. However, unlike the American variety, a smokybrown cockroach has a dark, unmarked shield behind its head.

photo of smokybrown cockroach - front view

Front-facing picture of a smokybrown cockroach

Thanks to their dark coloring and oval shape, may beetles are another pest that look like the smokybrown cockroach. Antennae are the key to telling these two insects apart. May beetles have short, clubbed antennae. Smokybrown cockroach antennae are long and slender.

smokybrown cockroach next to ruler   side view of smokybrown cockroach

Top and side view photos of smokybrown cockroaches

Like the other large cockroach species in the area, these insects can measure about one and a quarter inches when fully grown. The two, short-winged nymphs pictured here haven’t reached their adult length.</

Smokybrown Cockroach Ootheca (Eggs)
smokybrown cockroach egg capsule next to ruler

Smokeybrown cockroach egg case measured up against a ruler

picture of a smokybrown cockroach and egg capsule   image of a smokybrown cockroach and egg with penny for scale

smokybrown cockroach egg capsule size photo with penny

Size comparison images of smokybrown cockroach eggs

Smokybrown cockroach egg cases are purse-shaped and around three-eighths of an inch in length. These dark brown capsules are around the size and color of a black bean and are smaller than a penny

photo of a smokybrown cockroach and ootheca

closeup photo of smokybrown cockroach egg capsule

Smokeybrown cockroach egg cases

Along with their size and dark color, special camouflage can make smokybrown cockroach eggs hard to spot. Females use sticky secretions to paste their capsules to objects and bury them in materials like mulch or dirt to hide them from sight.

Why Cockroach Identification Matters

Every part of a cockroach, from its shell to its body oils, can trigger allergies and contaminate food. As a result, determining the cause of an infestation is vital to keeping your home or work environment safe and healthy. Offering years of experience in identifying pests, the experts at Western Pest Services can help you pinpoint the problem for effective removal.

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