There are several different types of roaches, but I am going to tell you about three different ones. Roaches can be a very annoying pest to have in your home. Here you can learn the differences in three common species of roaches.


American Roach








This roach is also known as the water bug, flying water bug, and in some areas of the Southern United States (especially here in Florida!) the palmetto bug. This roach a lot of people like to describe the size as “I could strap a saddle to it and ride away!”, but not to worry, they are definitely not that big. They are, however, the largest of the common species. They grow to about 1 ½ in. or more in length! The color of the American is reddish brown or yellow border on the upper surface of the body. Both male and female have well developed wings, but the male wings extend beyond the abdomen.

The female will drop her egg capsule within a day after it is formed. On occasion it is dropped in a suitable location near food sources or in a protected location. In Southern U.S. this will most likely be outside on moist or decaying wood. At other times, the capsule may be glued to a relatively hidden surface with secretions from the female’s mouth. The capsule is dark brown and symmetrically shaped, about 5/16-in. long. They are formed at a rate of about one per week until anywhere between 15-90 capsules have been produced. Each capsule contains 14-16 eggs. Nymphs will hatch in about 50-55 days.

An adult female can live up to 15 months, but males live for a shorter period of time.

When indoors, the nymphs and adults are found in the dark. Mostly in moist areas of basements and crawlspaces, as well as in and around bathtubs, clothes hampers, floor drains, pipe chases and sewers. They tend to hang out a lot around garbage as well as access sewers. They also migrate from one building to another in warmer months. In the South, this roach is abundant in alleyways, yards, hollow trees and palm trees. In Florida, studies have shown that American Roaches have been associated with trees, shrubs and woodpiles in landscape. Especially moist, shady areas.

These guys feed on several different foods. Decaying organic matter seems to be preferred. They also feed on book bindings, manuscripts, clothing or glossy paper, if those item contain starch. Syrup and other sweets are also attractive. The adults can survive up to three months without food, but only about a month without water.

Even though the adults have well developed wings, they rarely ever fly. They will if the temperature conditions are about 85 degrees, at which that point can be very active flyers. They can also glide for long distances and can cover a considerable distance if they take off from a rooftop or tree. Among insects, however, cockroaches are considered relatively weak fliers that lack the ability of flying long distance.

German Roach








This roach is considered to be the most common cockroach species in houses, apartments, restaurants, hotels and other institutions throughout the U.S. as well as worldwide.

Adults are pale to medium brown and about ½- to 5/8-in. long. German roaches have two dark stripes on the body right underneath the head, that is a quite noticeable difference between this roach against others in this species. Both male and female adults have very well developed wings, but they never fly. Male Germans are easily different than females by the slender, tapering shape of the abdomen. Nymphs resemble the adults except their differences are they are smaller, wingless and darker in color. Often they appear to be nearly black. On these younger roaches, a single light stripe running down the middle of the back is the most prominent mark.

The adult females carry the egg capsule protruding from the abdomen until the eggs are ready to hatch. The capsule is light brown in color and about 1/3-in. long. The nymphs may break open the capsule while it is still attached to the female, or she may deposit the capsule in crevices or other locations that are protected. The German roach is the only house-infesting species that carry the egg capsule for such an extended period of time.

If German roaches are seen during the day, that most likely means the population is probably so large that the available cracks are already full, or food and moisture are in such short supply that day time forging is necessary. They usually hide in areas close to moisture and food, which means they will generally be found in the kitchen and other food areas.


Asian Roach







This roach is native to certain areas in Southeast Asia and appears to have been introduced to us here in the United States through the port of Tampa, Fl. It is established is Florida’s Tampa, Lakeland and Saint Petersburg areas. It’s distribution of a common pest has slowly expanded throughout much of Florida as well as across southern and coastal areas of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas. It has the potential to spread to other areas of the Southern United States.

It is about 5/8 in. long and light brown, generally lighter than the German. The Asian is very similar in appearance to the German roach, one of the only things that separates the Asian from the German is that the Asian can fly, and will fly, but it displays very different behavior. It prefers more shaded and moist areas in landscapes, grassy areas and ground covers. If you tend to have a very shaded yard due to lots of trees and leaves all around your home, then you are most likely going to find Asian roaches pop up in your home. They become most active right before dusk and remaining that way for a few hours after.

Both males and females will fly quite readily and for long distances. They, like most flying insects, are attracted to the light at night. This can be a huge nuisance when they fly into your home around your T.V. or any people. Especially during a cookout or other patio events in the evening.

This roach is quite susceptible to all the insecticides typically used for cockroach control.




Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations (seventh edition)

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