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How Big Are Cockroaches?

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Cockroaches In North America

There are over 4,000 different species of cockroach in the world. In North America alone, there are over 55 different types of cockroaches. Of these, many are beneficial to their particular environment. Only 3 species are considered pest species and are typically found inside homes in the United States: the German cockroach, the Oriental cockroach and the American Cockroach. 

As a result of the variation in appearance in different species of cockroach in the United States, it is difficult to give one answer to the question, “how big are cockroaches.” While adult cockroaches can vary in size from one species to another, there is an additional vast range in size when you take into account cockroaches of different maturational ages. Below are descriptions of the size range attributed to those species that are considered household pests in North America. 

Cockroach Anatomy

The body of a cockroach is divided into three sections: the head, the thorax and the abdomen. Cockroach heads include a pair of compound eyes, strong mouthparts and a pair of long antennae attached to the front of their heads. All cockroaches have 6 legs, which come in 3 pairs of 2 on either side of the abdomen. 

Most adult species of cockroach have wings, but not all can fly. Cockroaches are adept crawlers, some of which travel very fast. They are able to do so using short, spiky protrusions attached to each leg. Attached to their abdomens, are two short protrusions called “cerci.” These may look like pincers, but instead, cerci function like rear antennae, detecting tiny vibrations which let the roach know it’s time to skedaddle. 

How Big Are Adult Cockroaches?

Adult American cockroaches are somewhere between 1.4 to 1.6 inches in length. German cockroaches average about 1/8  of an inch to 1/2 of an inch in length at full maturity. Oriental cockroaches come in at just about 1 full inch in length. 

How Big Are Baby Cockroaches?

Cockroach nymphs differ greatly in size, just as their adult counterparts do. American cockroach nymphs are around 1/4 of an inch in length. As their exoskeletons grow, they change color and shed them, a process called molting. German cockroach nymphs are about 1/8 of an inch long, are dark brown/dark black which starts to include black likes behind their heads and a pale-colored body as they get older. Oriental cockroach nymphs are about 1/4 inch in length, are reddish-brown in color but get darker—close to black—as they mature. 

If you are finding nymph cockroaches in your home, it may be a sign of a mature infestation, a serious situation that calls for the help of a pest care professional. Even if you are seeing small cockroaches and can’t tell if they are German cockroaches or nymph cockroaches, it’s best to call on the knowledge and expertise of a pest specialist. 

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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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