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How to Identify Smoky Brown Cockroach [SURE signs]

Especially in Florida and across the rest of the US, Smokey Brown Cockroach is also known as the palmetto bug.

This is because the Smokey Brown Cockroach is larger than 1 inch in size. Smokey Brown Cockroach is the most abundant roach after the German cockroach in the United States.

Smokey Brown Cockroach has a smooth, shiny dark brown flat and oval body that measures 1.4 inches in length and 0.3 inches in width.

It has two sets of flight-capable wings, three sets of legs, two antennas, and two cerci. Smokey Brown Cockroach is native to the southern US and is also found outside the US in abundance.

Smokey Brown Cockroach is very fond of warm and humid environments and loves to infest homes.

They reproduce very quickly, and therefore an infestation with Smokey Brown Cockroach should never be taken lightly. I will comprehensively explain smokey brown cockroaches and the methods to exterminate them in the blog below.

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1. Advion Cockroach Gel Bait (Review)
2. Gentrol IGR Point Source (Review)

Other Products to try:

1. Combat Roach Traps (Easy than gel baits)
2. Hot Shot Foggers (To kill in masses – 95%)
3. Pet Safe Killers (Uses Essential Oils)
4. Ortho Defence Outdoor Roach Killer (Prevent Roaches)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Smokybrown-Cockroach-1024x863.jpg
Referred as Palmetto BugYes.
Size28—38 mm (1.15—1.50 in)
LifeCan exceed 1 year
Scientific NamePeriplaneta fuliginosa
HabitatIndoor: Prefer a moist, humid, and dark environment, particularly around pipes and drains.
Outdoor: In Sewers, Moist, humid environment areas such as tree holes and under mulch or similar landscape materials
Suitable TemperatureActive in Summer, favor 70-80 Fahrenheit
Die below 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
FlyingMagnificent flyers. It can fly better than American cockroaches.
AppearanceColor: Dark smoky brown color
Identity Mark: Consistent brown color, very shiny. Dark brown head.
Mode of entryDrain pipes, laundry vents, foundation cracks glide through from trees & branches.
ReproductionFemales produce 8-10 egg cases, with 20 eggs per case, up to 32  oothecae in one lifetime.
GeographyCommon in Japan, southern United States, Australia
HistoryOriginated in southern China (Source)

Appearance, and Identification Points

Smokey Brown Cockroach is similar to the American cockroach, and sometimes it can be challenging to differentiate them.


Smokey brown cockroach has a flat and oval body with a glossy dark brown finish. It appears similar to a fish larvae when viewed from the lateral side.

There are two sets of wings; one is hidden underneath the other. The hidden set of wings is shorter than the visible wings, and therefore, only the visible wings extend beyond the length of the body.

The wings cover a striated body that appears like the stem of a bamboo tree.

The smokey brown cockroach has two long antennas measuring 1.7 inches and three sets of spiky legs. The front legs are pointed towards the head, whereas the back two sets face the posterior end. Similarly, it also has a pair of cerci and stylus pointing to the back.

Both male and female Smokey Brown Cockroach appear similar except that the male has a pair of visible stylus at the back.


Smokey Brown Cockroach measures 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) in length and 0.3 inches (0.76 cm) in width.

Identification Points

Smokey Brown Cockroaches are similar in appearance to the American cockroaches except,

  1. American cockroach has a strip of yellow color on the border of the thorax whereas, the Smokey Brown cockroach lacks these strips and has a more uniform color.
  2. The American cockroach has light brown to reddish color and wheres Smokey Brown has a dark brown or mahogany color.
  3. The wing of the American cockroach is of the same size as the rest of the body whereas the Smokey Brown cockroach’s wings are larger than the body.

Please visit: to compare Smokey Brown Cockroach with other roaches on the main page of this website.

Geographic Presence and Habitat

They are found worldwide, including in the US, Japan, and Australia. In addition, they are present in abundance in southeastern parts ranging from Florida to Central Texas in US.

Smokey Brown cockroach loves a warm and humid environment and loves to live outdoors, especially in the garbage bins, greenhouses, and under fallen trees.

Smokey Brown cockroaches infest homes if the outside temperatures are challenging for survival. Interestingly, unlike other roaches, which like a dark environment, they are attracted to bright lights and usually fly towards them.

They infest multiple parts of the house, including the basement, attic, and kitchen cabinets.

Smokey Brown Cockroach: Diet and Life Cycle

Smokey brown cockroach, like other roaches, is omnivorous. It will feed on anything available. However, Smokey Brown Cockroach loves to feed on decaying and decomposing matter, including plant leaves, garbage, fruits, and other dead insects.

The Smokey Brown cockroach is most active at night during the late summer months when it feeds and mates with its partner. Once the female mate, she lays ootheca containing 10 to 12 individual eggs after 45 days. Next, she lays every ootheca after every 20 to 25 days for the rest of her life.

Smokey Brown cockroach lays approximately 32 oothecae containing approximately 320 eggs during her lifetime.

The eggs hatch into nymphs after two months and undergo 8 to 10 series of molts before transforming into adult roaches.

Smokey Brown Cockroach has approximately two years of life span, including nymphal and adult stages. Once the Smokey Brown cockroach is an adult, it carries on to life for one year.

How bad are Smoky Brown Cockroaches?

Smokey Brown cockroaches are the species outdoor and love to live in the wild in search of food, water, and warmth.

Once the smokey brown cockroaches invade the home, they nest inside the kitchen, attic, and basement. Soon they start breeding new babies, and the house can turn into a mess.

An infestation with Smokey Brown cockroaches is not that bad compared to German Cockroaches. Still, an infestation with them should not be taken lightly.

The exoskeleton from a nymph of molting smokey brown cockroach can trigger allergies, including Asthma. Moreover, as cockroach loves to feed on filth, they can transmit diseases, including typhoid and paratyphoid fever.

Do you know that some people have an extreme fear of roaches called Katsaridaphobia? Read this interesting article to know more about it.

Getting Rid of Smokey Brown Cockroaches

Once the smokey brown cockroach invades the house, they shouldn’t be taken lightly. Instead, an infestation with them should be treated on the same grounds as other roaches like the german cockroach.

To get rid of smokey brown cockroaches, several methods can be used as follows,

Method 1: Using Cockroach Baits

The bait kills roaches by posing them. Moreover, the roaches share the bait with their colony hence killing them.

A number of baits are available in the market to kill roaches, including the smokey brown roach. I recommend using Advion Cockroach Gel Bait because of its superiority over other baits. All you need to do is,

  1. Place the Advion gel bait at multiple locations around the house including the attic, basement corners kitchen cabinets, drawers, and bathroom.
  2. Wait for a few days before you start to see the results.

Method 2: Using Cockroach Traps

The cockroach trap will kill smokey brown cockroaches by trapping the roach physically and poisoning them to death with a chemical insecticide. I recommend Hot Shot Liquid Cockroach Trapper and Killer because of its chemical-free nature and its safety profile.

All you need to do is,

  1. Place the traps at multiple locations around the house, especially near the roach nest.
  2. Remove the traps after a week.

Method 3: Using Insecticide Spray or Fogger

This is the fastest and the easiest method of all. The action is quick, lethal, and lasting. All you need to do is turn off the lights and close the doors.

Next, Spray the insecticide around the corners and hiding places and wait for 30 minutes before you ventilate the room.

I recommend Bengal Roach Killer because it contains Nyler, a chemical that prevents reinfestation for up to 6 months.

You can also select a number of other roach killers among the Best insecticides & traps based on your needs. Boric acid is also very effective at killing Smokey Brown Cockroach but Is a bit messy and slow method.

Interesting Read: Why do bugs die on their back?

Preventing Smokey Brown Cockroaches from Invading Home

Smokey Brown Cockroaches, like other roaches, require the same techniques, precautions, and hacks at preventing them from invading the home.

To prevent Smokey Brown Cockroaches from Invading home, you must,

  1. Eliminate sources of standing water, especially around green plants
  2. Don’t disturb the colony of Smokey Brown cockroach near your house, you might trigger them into entering your home.
  3. If you are planning to make a greenhouse near your house, ensure to cover it properly to keep Smokey Brown roaches away.
  4. Cover bathroom drains and sewage holes, the smell from these attract Smokey Brown cockroach.
  5. Cover garbage bins and properly dispose of decaying matter, especially green leaves.
  6. Keep your house clean and well ventilated.
  7. Fix leaking pipes and faucets.
  8. The firewood should be inspected before bringing them inside the house.
  9. Install window mesh screens in Smokey Brown cockroach endemic areas because, unlike other roaches, Smokey Brown cockroach is attracted to light and occasionally flies towards it.
  10. Use natural cockroach repellents inside the house, especially in the kitchen.
  11. You can also use IGR spray to keep baby roaches from maturing into adult bugs.

Do you know cockroach also produces noise? Click the link if you want to hear roaches’ noise.