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Is That An American Cockroach
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Is That An American Cockroach?

Would You Know An American Cockroach If You Saw One?

In America, we have lots of roaches. We even have a cockroach that bears our name. But, do you know that American cockroaches aren't even from America? What?? Plot twist! Those dirty little roaches actually originated from the Middle East or somewhere in Africa. But, they're here now and they're plentiful. So, if you're dealing with a cockroach infestation, there is a good chance it's going to be American cockroaches. Here's how you can tell.

American Cockroach Identification


This is a big roach. It is the biggest roach you'll see in your home. It measures as long as 50 mm in length. The second-largest pest roaches are the Oriental cockroach and the smoky brown cockroach, but both of these are less likely to be found inside.

An American cockroach is a shiny, reddish-brown insect with an infinity symbol (figure eight) on its back. You may also perceive it as two dark-colored dots within a lighter tan or orange color. But these dots aren't always prominent, depending on the lighting and the age of the cockroach. If you're looking at an American cockroach nymph, it won't have those two spots at all, and it will be half the size of an adult.

American cockroaches, like all roaches, are insects. That means they have the characteristics of an insect: six legs, two antennae, and three body parts. This is true of nymphs as well.

If you see roaches inside your home, it is likely to be a German cockroach or an American cockroach. So, it is important to know what a German roach looks like. Eliminating German roaches will get you closer to figuring out which kind of roach you have. A German cockroach will only be about 25 mm in length, full-grown, and it will be a tan color with two dark stripes on the back of its head.

If you're seeing roaches in a dark, damp location, they might be Oriental roaches or smoky brown roaches. So, some identification of these can help as well. Oriental roaches have an elongated pill shape. American cockroaches are an almond shape. Smokey brown cockroaches are almond-shaped with a much more rounded tail than American cockroaches. And, both Oriental roaches and smoky brown roaches have a black coloration.

Hopefully, these descriptions will help you figure out what kind of cockroach you're dealing with. At the very least, it will help you find the right cockroach if you do an image search on the internet.

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Okay. It's An American Cockroach. Now What?

If you have cockroaches inside your home, here are a few things you should know:

  • Sealing all your food and cleaning your house spotless is not likely to drive these roaches back out. It can, however, stunt their population growth and protect your food from being contaminated.
  • Be aware that cockroaches can chew through paper and cardboard. Food items in these containers are vulnerable.
  • Cockroaches are moisture pests. You can make them less welcome by drying your home out with fans and dehumidifiers.
  • Laying chemicals down to kill cockroaches can be toxic to humans and pets and should not be done by an untrained individual.
  • Many traps can capture and kill cockroaches but completely ridding a home of cockroaches is a complicated process that requires specialized knowledge.
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Ways You Might Invite Cockroaches Insid

The greatest impact a homeowner can have on cockroach control is by altering things outside of the home:

  • Trim trees and bushes to allow sunlight to dry moist ground.
  • Rake leaves and sticks up.
  • Keep grass trimmed and weeds to a minimum.
  • Make sure trash bags are in sealed containers.
  • Put compost away from exterior walls.
  • Fix leaking spigots, hoses, and gutters.
  • Seal cracks in foundation walls.
  • Seal holes, gaps, and cracks in exterior walls, especially around pipes and electrical conduit.
  • Make sure all window and door screens are in good working condition.
  • Make sure all door sweeps and weather stripping are in good working condition.

If you ever see an American cockroach in your home (or any cockroach, for that matter) contact a professional to eliminate and exclude them. Roaches are resourceful, resilient, and highly mobile insects.

If you live in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, or the surrounding states, find out if you're located in our extensive service area. Action Pest Control is an industry-leading pest management company with a reputation for effectively controlling pests, like the American cockroach. Learn more about our pest control services!