american cockroach eating crumbs off kitchen floor

American Cockroaches

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What do American cockroaches look like?

American cockroaches, sometimes referred to as waterbugs, are among the most prevalent roach species in the United States. They are large insects with reddish-brown oval-shaped bodies and a yellowish-brown band around their heads. Adult American cockroaches average about 1.5 inches in length but can exceed 2 inches in length. They boast six legs adorned with spines. Male American cockroaches have wings that span their entire backs, while females only have short wing stubs at the base of their abdomens. 

american cockroach crawling on food

Pest Facts

Did you know?

  • American cockroaches are natives of Africa not North America and arrived in the U.S. on cargo ships.
  • American cockroaches can live up to a month without food but will not last beyond a week without water.
  • American cockroaches can run 3.4 miles per hour.


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When are american cockroaches most active?

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Biology & behaviors of American cockroaches

The American cockroach undergoes a three-phase cycle of development, comprising the egg, nymph and adult stages. The female roach will lay her eggs in a protective capsule called an ootheca. Each ootheca contains up to 16 eggs that hatch within 6 to 8 weeks. After hatching, the nymphs go through several molts before becoming adults. Nymphs are usually light brown or tan with darker stripes on their bodies and have wings that are not fully developed yet.

Habits and behaviors of American cockroaches include scavenging for food scraps, decaying organic matter such as leaves or wood chips, garbage cans, sewers, drains, and other moist areas where they can find moisture. They prefer dark places but may also be found in bathrooms or kitchens during the day if there’s enough food available for them there. 

Where are you likely to find American roaches indoors?

American cockroaches are most likely to infest areas in the home that have access to moisture and food. Common areas for American cockroach infestations include kitchens, bathrooms, basements, attics, laundry rooms and garages; they may also be found around drains and pipes or behind large appliances.

American cockroaches are also quite common in commercial facilities including restaurants, food processing plants, and hospitals.

What do American cockroaches eat?

American cockroaches are omnivores which means they will eat both plants and animals. Although they are not picky eaters, they do have a preference for starchy, sweet, and greasy foods as well as meat. 

Signs of an American cockroach infestation

One sure sign of a cockroach infestation is spotting them scurrying across your floor or countertops at night when you turn on the lights. You may also find small droppings near their hiding spots which resemble coffee grounds or pepper flakes. Roaches will leave greasy stains along walls where they’ve been walking as well as shed skins from molting. 

Are American cockroaches dangerous?

Yes, American cockroaches should be considered a threat to both health and property. These insects carry viruses, bacteria, and parasites on their bodies and introduce them to both homes and businesses. Diarrhea, dysentery, and salmonella (food poisoning) are all serious health concerns related to this pest. Some individuals may experience a cockroach allergy and in some cases that can trigger an allergic reaction. 

How do you get rid of American cockroaches?

If you’ve found cockroaches in your home or business, contact Greenway Pest Solutions today. Offering accurate identification and effective treatments that exterminate American cockroaches as well as other types of roaches, our local team of pest control specialists have the knowledge, tools, and experience to curb cockroach activity.

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