American Cockroach

The American cockroach is a prevalent pest. It’s one of the common house-infesting pests in the U.S. You may assume that this roach is native to North America due to its name. However, that’s now the case as it came from Africa through trans-oceanic trade.

Read on to learn more about the American roach, how to identify this pest and prevention methods.

Facts, Identification, and Control

Also known as the Palmetto or water bug, the American cockroach can fly short distances, and rarely bites.

Latin Name

Periplaneta Americana


The American Cockroach measures about three inches in length. These roaches have a reddish-brown color, and their head has a yellow band outline. You’ll notice a figure-eight pattern on the back of its head.

Facts About American Cockroach

Male roaches have longer wings than females. Also, the American cockroach nymph has a gray-brown color that later change to reddish-brown as they mature. The female makes protective cases for its eggs.

The American cockroach eggs are contained in a capsule-like case. There are about sixteen eggs. Once the eggs hatch, nymphs come out and shed their skin. It takes at least five months for an egg to become an adult if there’s enough food.

Where Do They Live?

Where do cockroaches live? American roaches prefer the outdoors, and they’ll live in damp and warm areas like under mulch and flowerbeds. They can also live on trees, the reason some people refer to them as palmetto bugs.

They go indoors when looking for food or water. American cockroaches will settle in basements, laundry rooms, bathrooms, and kitchens.

What Do They Eat?

American cockroaches feed on algae, wood particles, leaves, and fungi. They can also consume small insects, pet food, crumbs, and other scraps they come across.

How Did I Get American Cockroach?

American cockroaches get indoors when they need food or water. You can get them if you have gaps and cracks in your house. They can get in through the garage and basement windows.

How Serious are American Cockroach Problems?

American cockroaches can cause problems like:

Being a Nuisance

These roaches congregate in groups and can be a nuisance to any homeowner. You don’t want a situation where you’re hosting guests, and cockroaches fly all over.

Spread Diseases

American roaches can spread diseases as they pick up bacteria from the sewage and decaying matter. They transfer these germs to food surfaces or contaminate any open food.

Research also shows that their shed skin can cause allergies and asthma. They are also carriers of cholera, dysentery, and diarrhea.

What Can I Do About American Cockroaches?

If you suspect that you have American roaches, you need to act fast by sealing all cracks and crevices. You can reduce their population by limiting their food and water sources. Cover and store your food in airtight containers. Clean your dishes after a meal, and dispose of any leftovers in trash bags.

You may need to contact a pest control professional if you’re not sure of the cockroach you’re dealing with.

Signs of an American Cockroach Infestation

You may have an American cockroach infestation if you notice their droppings in dark areas like in pantries and basements. Their droppings are blunt on the ends and have ridges on the sides.

If you spot an American roach running fast or flying into a dark place, you may have an infestation. Another indication of an infestation is egg capsules. Their cases are blackish or reddish-brown.

You can come across these cases in kitchens, basements, or laundry rooms. These roaches can also place the capsules in sheds and garages.

American cockroaches produce an odor that has a musty smell. The chemical allows the roaches to gather in groups.

American Cockroach Prevention and Control Tips

You can control the number of roaches in your home by:

Eliminating Potential Food Sources

If you have food lying around, including pet foods cover and store them appropriately. Do not leave leftovers on the sinks, and always clean your dishes after eating. Also, practice proper garbage disposal and remove trash promptly.

Seal Points of Entry

Eliminate all points of entry like cracks or crevices around your house. Check for any spaces in your doors and windows that could allow these roaches inside.

Set up a Trap

You can apply bait gels or set up a trap in vulnerable areas. Set up the bait station every six feet where the cockroaches are likely to travel. Basement walls and kitchen baseboards are ideal places to start.

American Cockroach Professional Pest Control

Getting a professional pest control company to come to inspect your house for an American roach infestation is crucial. They have staff who are trained to identify areas of the roaches activity, find out the causes of the problem, and look for entryways that could allow the roaches into your home.

They’ll advise on the right treatment methods, and may suggest an integrated pest management approach.