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.

American roach or Palmetto bug or Water bug Prevention Tips

How to prevent cockroaches from infesting your drains:

  1. Keep counters and appliances clean. Don’t leave food on the counters or in the kitchen sink, especially overnight.
  2. Cover drains with a stopper at night. You can use rubber drain covers or metal drain screens. Cockroaches are nocturnal, so it’s most important to block their entry at night.
  3. Clean your kitchen drain. Rinse your kitchen drain with an approved kitchen sink cleaner to remove food particles that attract roaches.
  4. Move or remove the garbage cans. The garbage cans under your kitchen or bathroom sink can attract roaches.
  5. Use roach monitors (“sticky traps”) to locate roaches. It may not be the most pleasant of tasks, but monitor what kind of roaches your traps catch. This can help you understand where they’re coming from. Note:
    1. Baby cockroaches usually stay within two feet of their hiding places.
    2. Adults usually stay within about 10 feet of their hiding places.

Use bait or insecticide to kill cockroaches. Do NOT use sprays, foggers or bombs. In addition to safety concerns, they repel the roaches, causing them to avoid the insecticide, and may cause the cockroaches to scatter to other areas.

How to eliminate cockroaches’ water sources and entry points:

  • Cease the condensation. Wrap insulation foam and tape around any pipes that produce condensation. When you remove their water source, the roaches will go elsewhere for water.
  • Seal crevices and holes around your drain pipes. You can use duct tape as a quick fix for cracks and crevices. For a longer-term solution, use silicone caulk, plaster or cement.
  • Fix leaky faucets. Standing water attracts cockroaches. Seal crevices and holes around your drain pipes with caulk, plaster or cement.
  • Address holes in your walls. Use expanding insulation foam to seal any spaces around the pipes where they come through the walls.
  • Seal your drain pipes. Use a flashlight to locate any cracks or holes in your drain pipes. If you find cracks or holes, seal them with appropriate caulk.
  • Look for gaps around the pipes under your sink. Fill these gaps with silicone sealant or urethane foam. You can fill larger holes with steel wool or copper mesh before you seal them.

Methods of killing cockroaches in your drains
Use boric acid to kill the cockroaches. Boric acid, a white powder available at hardware or home improvement stores, can be an effective tool against roaches in your drains when used correctly. Be sure to follow the directions on the label for appropriate use. While it’s lower in toxicity than other insecticides, you still want to keep boric acid away from children and pets. Replace the mixture every two weeks.

Use diatomaceous earth to kill cockroaches. Sprinkle it underneath your sink, in cupboards or along baseboards to kill cockroaches. Diatomaceous earth is not poisonous but you should still exercise caution when using around pets and children.

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