I bet you that the first picture that comes to your mind whenever you think or hear about cockroaches is for sure of the American cockroach. The American cockroach is the largest and the second most common house infesting cockroach found in the US after the German cockroach.
The American cockroach is also known as the ship cockroach, Kakerlac, and Bombay canary. It is 1.6 inches long reddish-brown flat roach with an oval body and yellow margins on the pronotum.
Both the male and female American roaches appear the same with two long brown antennas, six big legs, two pairs of wings; that make them good flyers. American cockroaches originated from Africa and spread worldwide, including the United States, via trade.
The American cockroach is closely related to sewers, bathroom and kitchen drains and is probably the one that scares our ladies the most 😂. Moreover, the American cockroaches are the filthiest, most disgusting, and bad-smelling of all cockroaches because they live inside drains and feed on feces.
American roach also transmits diseases like typhoid, dysentery, and cholera and trigger allergies and asthma in some individuals. Moreover, it appears similar to the Australian cockroach and can often be confused easily. Therefore, I have written this blog to help readers quickly identify and control American roaches.
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- Appearance, and Identification Points of American Cockroach
- Distribution and Habitat of American Roaches
- American Cockroach: Diet and Life Cycle
- Are American Cockroaches Harmful?
- Preventing and Getting Rid of American Cockroach Infestation
- Orange Cockroach: What are these?
Appearance, and Identification Points of American Cockroach
Although the American cockroach closely resembles the Australian cockroach, in the United States, the American cockroach is also known as the Water Bug. But interestingly, Water Bug is a totally different species and doesn’t resemble American roaches at all.
Appearance of American Cockroach
The American Cockroach is a reddish-brown flat roach. It has two parallel yellow stripes on the pronotum, the area behind the head. American Cockroach may also appear Orange in its early stage.
American roaches have two long antennas longer than the body, three sets of tiny spiky legs, a paired, very prominent cerci, and a stylus. The female roach does not have a stylus.
Size of American Cockroach
Interestingly, the American cockroach is among the top 6 biggest cockroaches in the world. The adult American cockroach measures 1.6 inches (4 cm) in length and is about 0.28 inches (0.7 cm) tall.
Do American Cockroach Have Wings?
The Adult Male and Female American Cockroaches have two long sets of wings. The wings extend beyond the body more in males than females, making the male appear slightly longer.
American cockroaches are good flyers and can fly 5 meters in a single go, though they rarely do so. However, the American cockroach nymphs do not have wings and cannot fly.
Do American Cockroach Run?
American cockroaches are the fastest running roach with a speed of 2.98 miles/hour.
Do American Cockroach Bite?
American cock roach is a timid organism and does not bite humans. However, under extreme food shortages and heavy infestation, they can bite humans especially paralyzed individuals and babies.
Bite is primarily trivial but can be infected, requiring proper medical attention.
Identification Points of American Cockroach
The Australian cockroach is less common than American roaches and has the least infestation capabilities because they love to live outdoors.
Therefore, You are more likely to come across the American roach than the Australian cockroach.
However, if you come across one, you can easily know if it is an American or the Australian roach on the following points,
- American cockroach is slightly bigger than Australian cockroach by a quarter of an inch.
- American Cockroach has more oval body than Australian roach.
- Australian cockroach has a yellow band on the head and a strip on the border of wings.
- The antennas of American cockroaches are bigger than the body, whereas Australians have a shorter antenna.
American Cockroach Nymphs
A newborn American cockroach nymph is 0.2 inches in size. It appears white like an albino roach because it lacks an exoskeleton. However, after some time, the nymph takes on a grayish-brown hue.
In every stage of subsequent molting, the American cockroach nymphs become larger, reaching 0.5 inches at the middle instar stage.
At the start of every molting stage, the American cockroach nymph appears albino because it sheds its exoskeleton. But as time passes, it again turns to its actual reddish-brown shade.
As mentioned above, baby American roaches do not have wings in any nymphal stages. Still, they have small, barely visible wing pads that become more noticeable after the fourth stage of molting.
Distribution and Habitat of American Roaches
The American cockroach is a moisture-loving insect and lives around dark shady areas with plenty of water sources. Consequently, American roaches commonly inhabit dark and moist basements, sewers, drains, crevices, foundations, and sidewalks adjacent to highrise buildings.
American cockroach prefers temperatures around 84-degree Fahrenheit and lives under fallen tree trunks and large stones that provide shade and humidity outdoors.
The American cockroach is found worldwide and is mainly seen in hot tropical climates. It was introduced to the US in 1625 from Africa via trade.
American Cockroach: Diet and Life Cycle
The American cockroach is an omnivorous scavenger that eats anything from plant leaves to rotten fruits, vegetables, and garbage. They are the filthiest of all, and inside the sewers, they feed on all sorts of filth, from hairs to feces.
The American cockroach is also known as an opportunist feeder because indoors, they feed on bizarre materials such as tea, leather, book bindings, manuscripts, glue, hair, and flakes of dried skin.
American roaches have the longest life cycle of all. From egg stage to reaching adulthood, it takes 600 days.
Stage 1: Egg
Once the female and male American cockroaches reach adulthood, they start to mate. The female produces an average of 145 nymphs in her lifetime.
After the female American roach mates, she develops a capsule inside her abdomen called ootheca. Ootheca contains between 30 to 40 individual eggs. The female lays the ootheca and keeps it in a safe place until it is time to hatch. This period consists of 6 to 8 weeks.
Once the eggs hatch, they give rise to American cockroach nymphs.
Stage 2: Nymph
To transform into adults, the American baby nymphs have to undergo approximately 13 molting stages.
The cockroach sheds its exoskeleton to accompany the increasing size of the body. This stage takes approximately 6 to 12 months, and in the end, the American cockroach has reached adulthood.
Stage 3: Adult
The Adult German cockroaches carry on to live for an additional year and a half. In the meantime, if the female American cockroach does not find a male partner, she can reproduce asexually.
Are American Cockroaches Harmful?
American cockroaches usually live outdoors, in sewers where they feed on filth and feces. However, when food becomes scarce, they come to visit houses in case of heavy infestation. Moreover, when the outside temperature drops, they visit houses to seek warmth.
The American cockroach is harmful if it infests the home and indoor spaces. It transmits diseases like typhoid and paratyphoid fever, Dysentry, and Cholera (Reference).
American roach also threatens susceptible individuals, including patients with known allergies to cockroach droppings, exoskeleton, and saliva. It is also known to trigger asthma episodes in an atopic individual.
Once the outdoor conditions become favorable, the American roaches move back to sewers and usually do not establish colonies inside the house.
Do you know that some people have an extreme fear of roaches called Katsaridaphobia? Read this fascinating article to know more about it.
Preventing and Getting Rid of American Cockroach Infestation
Before controlling the American cockroach infestation, look for infestation signs. It will help exterminate and prevent them easily.
Signs of an American Cockroach Infestation
- Look for American cockroach poop in cockroach hiding places. American cockroach droppings have blunt edges and streaks on the sides.
- Desqumated exoskeleton in multiple places around the house
- Although American cockroach nest inside sewers but during a heavy infestation, you may encounter them. The nest contains live and dead roaches, nymphs, and eggshells.
- Finding dark egg capsule measuring 8 mm.
- A musty urine-like smell is also a major sign of American roach infestation.
American Cockroach Prevention
Preventing American cockroach infestation is easy because they do not love to move indoors. Instead, they live happily inside sewers and drains. All you need to do is,
- Do not leave food bites on floors or leftover food inside the kitchen.
- Cover the garbage bins properly sitting inside the kitchen and around the house.
- Cover the bathroom drains with anticockroach drains.
- Fix leaking pipes and old leaking drains.
- Use Natural Roach Repellents around drains to keep American roaches at bay.
Three Easy and Quick Methods to Get Rid of American Cockroach
These are three methods that will help you solve your American roach problem,
Method 1: Using a bait
This method uses bait to get rid of American cockroaches. Baits are better than sprays as baits will kill the entire colony.
All you need to do is, read this guide and apply bait inside your bathroom, cupboards, kitchen cabinets, and basement, all the favorite spots of American cockroaches.
If sewers holes are located inside the house, do not forget to apply bait there as well because you can’t get rid of American roaches if you fail to eradicate the source of infestation.
I have personally used these baits are and have found them to be very effective. Use each of them according to instructions on the pack.
– Bengal Roach Killer is a dry spray bait, very easy to apply and use. (How to use guide)
– Advion Cockroach Gel Bait is the most effective gel you can buy.
– Hot Shot Liquid Cockroach Trapper and Killer is the best trap you can get for cockroaches.
– Combat Max 12 Month Roach Killing Bait is the best bait out on the market.
Please keep in mind that bait does not instantaneously kill roaches. It will take approximately 15 days before you start to see results.
Method 2: Using an IGR
Using an IGR helps ensure the American roach nymphs don’t transform into adults. The American cockroach reproduces a large number of babies in its lifetime.
Therefore, using an IGR spray will keep American nymphs in check for you.
An IGR alters the internal hormones of roaches to molt. This way, the roaches will not transform into adults and will fail to reproduce offspring. Gentrol Growth Regulator (Amazon Link) is the only and the best IGR device for roaches.
It’s effortless to use. Just purge one of them and place it in a hidden place inside your bathroom.
Method 3: Insecticide Residual Spray
Insecticide sprays are a quick solution for getting rid of American cockroaches in difficult-to-reach places.
To get rid of American cockroaches, Apply residual spray inside and around the house especially drains, basements, and foundations. In addition, any infested structure, such as fallen tree trunks, should also be sprayed with residual sprays.
You can also use conventional insecticide spray to kill American roaches inside the house. All you need to do is seal all doors and windows, turn off ventilators or air conditioning and spray around all the corners and cockroach hiding places. Then, wait for 30 minutes before you ventilate the room.
However, Insecticide spray kills roaches but does not destroy the eggs; you may start to see roaches again after a few weeks.
Other methods, such as using loose toxic pellet baits in the form of tablets spread around the house, are also highly effective in controlling American cockroach infestation.
Orange Cockroach: What are these?
American cockroaches can appear orange in color in their early stages. The color can be a little deceiving or temporary due to lighting conditions. The actual color of an American cockroach is brown-reddish when it fully grows.