- Common Name(s): American Cockroach, Palmetto Bug, Water Bug
- Order: Blattodea
- Family: Blattidae
- Common Species: Periplaneta americana
- Commonly Confused With: Giant Water Bugs, Smoky Brown Roaches, Australian Roaches
How to Identify?
American roaches are reddish brown to dark brown in coloration with a faint yellowish circle on the area directly behind their head. They range from 1-2 inches in length and both the males and females are capable of flight. Juvenile roaches have a color similar to the adults, but they do not have wings until they reach their adult stage. They also are unable to reproduce until reaching adulthood.
Where do they live?
These roaches are most commonly found outside. They tend to live in the trees and woods around homes, but they have also been known to live in the sewer system and storm drains. They like any damp, dark location, such as: piled up leaves, under mulch or straw, under decorative borders or stones, etc. They make their way into the home under broken or missing door sweeps, through cracks or crevices on the home, using plumbing voids, and more. One major way they gain entry into home is through the attic. This is due to their habitation of trees and use of a gliding flight from trees to the roof of your home. Once inside they can be found all around the home, but they are seen most commonly in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and basements.
What do they eat?
Outside the home they are foragers, feasting on plant particles, cellulose particles, fungus, small insects, dead insects, and more. Inside the home, in addition to looking for water, they feed on crumbs that are left lying around, food that has fallen under appliances, dishes stacked in the sink, and even pet food that is not properly stored or picked up at night. One reason these roaches are so common inside is their search for a water source. Just like humans, they need water to survive!
What do they do?
Since these are opportunistic insects these roaches come inside in search of food, water, or shelter. They will not infest a home the way german roaches will, but they can still become an issue if left untreated. While these roaches can be seen during the day they are most active at night.
These insects cannot bite and transfer disease chemically, like mosquitoes. However, they are often mechanical vectors of disease. Their search for food and water can take them through some pretty nasty places. After they crawl through those areas they may end up on your dishes, food, or toothbrush transferring all sorts of bacteria from their body to the item.