American cockroach

American Cockroach Control: Protect Your Home


What Do American Cockroaches Look Like?
American Cockroaches

  • Size: The largest pest cockroach species, American cockroaches measure about 1 1/2 to 2 inches (38 to 51 mm) in length as adults.
  • Color: Reddish-brown in color, the American cockroach features a distinctive yellow pattern that marks the back of the head and helps distinguish the insect from other species of cockroaches.
  • Characteristics: American cockroaches are flattened and oval in shape with fully developed wings that differ in length according to sex. The veiny and leathery appendages are as long as the abdomen on females and slightly longer on males. Despite possessing wings, American cockroaches are poor to moderate fliers and prefer to run instead. Nymphs resemble smaller, wingless versions of adults.

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  • Larger in size than other common cockroach species in the United States, American cockroaches are regarded as peridomestic insects that typically live outdoors. However, in colder states such as those in the Mid-Atlantic region, they live indoors year-round.
  • The insects are closely associated with bakeries, grocery stores, restaurants and other commercial facilities involved in the preparation or storage of food but may invade offices and other kinds of buildings as well.
  • Like other pest cockroaches, the American cockroach can be a nuisance and, in the most serious cases, a carrier of various diseases.


What Do American Cockroaches Eat?
Many different food sources make up the American cockroach diet. The insects feed on things like:

  • Baked goods
  • Beer
  • Cosmetics
  • Flakes of dead skin
  • Glue
  • Hair
  • Manuscripts and bookbindings
  • Pet food
  • Soap
  • Wallpaper paste.

In particular, the pests tend to prefer fermenting food and other decaying organic matter.


Life Cycle
The life cycle of the American cockroach begins in an egg and culminates in adulthood. In between, the insects go through a nymphal stage of development characterized by the completion of 10 to 13 molts.

At room temperature, development from egg to adult finishes in about 20 months.

The eggs hatch from a capsule that the female carries for a day or two before she drops it or uses her saliva to attach it to a protected surface.

Each capsule contains an average of 14 to 16 eggs, which take about a month or two to hatch.

After completing the necessary number of molts, American cockroach nymphs become adults and live as long as 15 months in the right conditions.


American cockroaches are often found in:

  • Boiler rooms
  • Kitchens
  • Steam tunnels of commercial buildings like bakeries, grocery stores and restaurants.
  • Basements
  • Crawl spaces
  • Sewers
  • Dark spaces with plenty of warmth and moisture.

Ideal temperatures for American cockroaches range from 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Problems Caused by American Cockroaches

  • Germs: American cockroaches contaminate food and household surfaces by leaving germs and bacteria behind while foraging.
  • Pathogens: Due to the unsanitary environments that the insects typically live in or pass through, the secondhand germs and bacteria can cause medical issues like food poisoning or diarrhea in humans. American cockroaches may also spread contaminants by urinating or defecating on food items, kitchen surfaces and utensils directly.
  • Odor: Furthermore, the pests emit secretions that produce an unpleasant, lingering odor and can compromise the taste of food. Other problems caused by the American cockroach stem from the allergens contained in the feces and molted skin casings of the insects.

Signs of Infestation

The characteristic odor American cockroaches produce can signal the presence of an infestation problem.

In fact, experienced pest control professionals can frequently smell an infestation before seeing any physical evidence of one.

Further signs of an American cockroach infestation include:

Prevention Tips

To prevent an American cockroach infestation, home and business owners must eliminate sources of food and moisture.

Simply practicing good sanitation habits can reduce or eliminate some of the most common food sources for cockroaches such as:

  • Spills: Cleaning up spills
  • Food: Sweeping up crumbs
  • Dishes: Washing dirty dishes
  • Garbage: Emptying the trash daily

Likewise, fixing leaky pipes and keeping crawlspaces properly ventilated helps remove the moisture the insects need to survive.

Other prevention tips involve:

  • Entry Points: Elimination of potential access points by caulking cracks and crevices
  • Caps Pipes: Sealing the openings around pipes
  • Packages: Inspecting incoming packages for American cockroaches prior to bringing the items inside.

Tips for Removal from Home

  • Insecticides: A variety of pesticide options exist to aid in the removal of cockroach infestations. Many popular retailers sell baits in various forms including dusts, gels and granules.
  • Foggers: Aerosol foggers and residual sprays are also available for in-home use.

However, implementing baits often requires specialized equipment along with knowledge of cockroach behavior and tendencies, while sprays and foggers may actually exacerbate the infestation problem by causing the insects to scatter rather than die.

Call the Professionals
With the necessary knowledge and tools at their disposal, professional pest control specialists remain best equipped to deal with American cockroach infestations successfully.

Furthermore, licensed pest control professionals have access to the quickest and most effective methods of cockroach removal.

Call for service: (877) 250-3857

Learn more about cockroach control and Western’s comprehensive Home Pest Control Plans.