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American Cockroach

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American Cockroach

In the United States, there are four main species of indoor cockroach that are considered true pests: the German, American, Oriental, and Brown-banded cockroach. Of these four cockroach species, the American cockroach is the largest in size, and is second only to German cockroaches in abundance. 

The American cockroach is considered a major pest in the United States. Though the name appears to point to American cockroaches being an endemic species to the Americas, instead, they likely originated in Africa and the Middle East and can now be found all over the world, particularly in tropical climates. 

Different regions of the United States use different colloquial terms for the American cockroach. You may hear an American cockroach be referred to as a “waterbug,” though they are not aquatic. In other regions of the country, they may be referred to as “palmetto” bugs, though several other species of cockroach have also been bestowed this nickname, including the Oriental cockroach and the Florida woods cockroach. 

What Does an American Cockroach Look Like?

The American cockroach is typically about 1.5 inches long but can grow up to 2 inches in length. American cockroaches are typically reddish-brown, with a yellowish boundary around their bodies. They also have leathery forewings and a pair of delicate hindwings. Young American cockroaches resemble adults except they do not have wings. 

American Cockroach Behavior

American cockroaches can travel quickly, and are thought of as one of the fastest running insects. You may notice this when they quickly dart out of sight as you turn a light on in your kitchen. One experiment clocked an American cockroach running at 3.4 miles per hour which is equivalent to a human running at 210 miles per hour. 

Like all cockroaches, American cockroaches are nocturnal. They possess a pair of large compound eyes, each with over 2,000 individual lenses which are sensitive to light. This may be the reason why they dart out of sight when you turn the light on, rather than that they are afraid of humans.

Are American Cockroaches Dangerous?

Outside your home, American cockroaches are not dangerous, if you leave them alone. They do not bite or sting and they do not do damage to structures or property. 

Inside your home, American cockroaches can introduce dangerous bacteria, viruses and parasites into your home environment by carrying pathogens on their legs and in their feces. They can cause food poisoning such as dysentery and salmonella by trailing these pathogens across kitchen surfaces without your knowledge. Like all cockroaches, they shed skin and leave behind feces, both of which can become airborne and trigger allergies and asthma attacks. 

American cockroaches can breed quickly and easily adapt to new environments. If your infestation becomes entrenched, it can be very difficult to eliminate your roach issue. If you have seen an American cockroach in your home, it is important that you seek help from a pest care professional.

Find A Pest Specialist For American Cockroach Control

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The creator of this review received compensation by RMICPA, LLC on behalf of Terminix®. This review is the opinion of its creator and its claims are not endorsed or evaluated by RMICPA, LLC.

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