American Cockroach

Category:

Actual Size: 2.1”

Characteristics: Brown to reddish brown; winged

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Primarily live outdoors but can be found in sewers and drains. In cooler climates, they are found in shady garden areas and yards.

Habits:

  • Largest of the house-infesting cockroaches
  • Both sexes capable of flight
  • Attracted to alcoholic beverages, especially beer

American Cockroaches in Puerto Rico

The American cockroach is known by many names—water bug or palmetto bug— as well as many unprintable expletives. It is the largest of the house-infesting cockroaches, measuring up to 2 1⁄8 inches long with fully developed reddish-brown wings. Despite its name, the American cockroach is not native to North America and was probably introduced via ships from Africa. It is currently found throughout the nation and is second only to the German cockroach in abundance. These roaches are the ones many think of with long antennae and a high-speed crawl. Adults can live up to one year and an adult female will produce an average of 150 young in her lifetime.

The American cockroach is omnivorous and an opportunistic feeder. It consumes decaying organic matter but is a scavenger and will eat almost anything. It prefers sweets, but has also been observed eating paper, pet food, soap, hair, fruit, book bindings, cardboard boxes, clothes, and dead insects.

American Cockroach Habitat

When outdoors in the San Juan or Ponce area, American roaches are mostly found in bat caves and hollow trees. In urban settings, it is a common inhabitant of sewers, storm drainage systems, prisons, factories, hospitals, and hotels.  American cockroaches prefer warm, damp environments and can often be found outdoors around drains, garbage bins, trees and wood piles. When these roaches venture inside homes in search of food, they often live in damp areas such as basements, garages, kitchens and bathrooms.

American Cockroach Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

American cockroaches have the ability to bite, although they rarely do. These cockroaches are considered dangerous pests because they breed and feed in unsanitary areas close to humans, such as garbage storage, sewage systems, and septic tanks. American cockroaches have a characteristic odor when present and can contaminate human foods and surfaces with their feces and body parts. Foraging cockroaches can also be vectors of disease, depositing germs or bacteria in areas they inhabit and causing asthma attacks in some people sensitive to cockroach allergens.

If you suspect an American cockroach infestation, contact a professional cockroach control company.