Adults are approximately 1-1/2 inches long (38mm).


The adult is a shiny reddish brown to dark brown and has a yellow margin on the pronotum (region directly behind the head). Immature American cockroaches are also reddish brown to dark brown in color and often have yellow markings on the abdomen.

Indoor populations tend to forage outdoors during warm weather. Likewise, during the winter months, populations established outdoors will venture inside seeking moisture and warmth.

This is generally an outdoor species, living in wood piles, decaying trees, palm trees and in sewer systems. Cockroaches have flattened bodies that allow them to enter homes through cracks around loose-fitting doors and windows, and where electric lines or pipes pass through walls. They are mainly active at night and hide in cracks and crevices during the day, preferring dark moist sites in attics and basements.

They are also commonly associated with boiler rooms, sewers, steam tunnels, and other warm, moist locations. In residential and commercial buildings, American cockroaches usually infest basements, crawl spaces, bathrooms, and decorative landscaping.

American cockroaches are a "peridomestic species" this means that they generally live outdoors. However, populations can also move indoors and live in human structures. American cockroaches usually live in moist, humid environments but can survive in dry areas if they have access to water. The cockroaches prefer temperatures between 70°F and 85°F and will not survive 15°F. In structures, American cockroaches are common in areas where food is prepared or stored and moisture is plentiful. Indoor populations tend to forage outdoors during warm weather. Likewise, during the winter months, populations established outdoors will venture inside seeking moisture and warmth.

Cockroaches eat almost anything including meats and grease, starchy foods, sweets, baked goods, leather, wallpaper paste, book bindings and sizing. Adults are capable of gliding flights.

American cockroaches feed on a wide variety of materials, including cosmetics, beer, potted plant shoots, wallpaper paste, soap, postage stamps, and fermenting fruit. They can foul human food, clothing, paper goods, and surfaces with their feces and body parts. American cockroaches also produce a strong unpleasant odor. This characteristic odor is not only detectable in infested buildings but is also transferred to items that the cockroaches crawl across when foraging. When American cockroaches aggregate, their presence is primarily an aesthetic nuisance. However, members of this species are also known to carry infectious bacteria on their bodies and in their gut. These bacteria may be transferred to food and other items that the cockroaches contact. Several bacteria commonly associated with American cockroaches are known to cause food poisoning, dysentery, and diarrhea in humans. American cockroaches also produce allergens on their bodies and in their fecal material. While American cockroaches are not considered to be major culprits of human respiratory problems like some other cockroach species, they have been implicated as a cause of allergic dermatitis and childhood asthma.

Palmetto bug Prevention Tips

Inspect bags, boxes, cartons, etc. for evidence of American cockroaches before they are brought into a building. Cockroach evidence includes feces, body parts, or live cockroaches. If evidence is found, do not allow the container into the building until it is emptied and all its contents inspected. Use expandable foam or caulk to block pipe chases and conduit access to prevent cockroaches from moving between one location and another inside a building. Weatherproof windows and doors, screen vents in the attics and crawlspaces, and trim trees and shrubs that are close to the structure. In buildings that are frequently unoccupied, flush toilets regularly to prevent American cockroaches from entering through plumbing traps.

Eliminate as many moisture sources as possible. Fix leaking pipes, store recyclables (cans and bottles) outside the structure, insulate pipes to prevent condensation, and do not leave water standing in the sink. Eliminate all cockroach food sources. Clean up spilled pet food every day. Use a vacuum attachment to remove fallen crumbs from behind the stove and between cabinets. Avoid leaving unwashed dishes on counter tops and keep food in tightly sealed containers. Rinse cans and bottles before putting them in the trash or recycling. Take the trash out every night and place it in dumpsters or receptacles with tight fitting lids. Remove clutter. American cockroaches can use boxes, bags, paper goods, old clothes, and magazines as places to hide. Eliminating cockroach harborage areas will make the environment much less conducive to cockroach infestation.

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