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Wood Cockroach: Identification Guide

As the name suggests, Wood cockroaches are species of the outdoor timbers and rarely infest homes. Instead, they are accidentally carried inside the house along with woodpiles, and from there, they move onto infest homes. Like other roaches, a wood cockroach can trigger allergies and asthma episodes.

The Wood cockroach is a glossy brown flat roach with an oval body measuring 0.75 to 1 inch. The male Wood roaches have wings with yellow borders, larger than the body, making them good flyers.

They are native to North America but also reside in parts of southeastern Canada. Wood cockroaches have 12 different species with varying body colors but almost similar structures.

Wood cockroaches closely resemble German roaches, and differentiating them can be difficult, especially for an inexperienced fellow. However, infestation with wood roaches is not a big concern, and exterminating them is easy.

Therefore, I have written this blog to help the reader identify and differentiate wood roaches from their other cousins. Moreover, this blog will also help you exterminate and prevent wood roaches infestation like a pro.

Tired of cockroaches? Invest in only these products and follow the guide to eliminate roaches!

Use these products, and you will be roach free in less than a week.

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)

Wood Cockroaches Characteristic & Identification

Unlike other roaches, which are usually active in the dark, wood roaches are not sensitive to light. Therefore, they will move around doing their daily chores happily in daylight. However, identifying them can be difficult because of their close resemblance to german roaches.


Wood cockroaches have different colors and appearances based on their locations. The common wood cockroaches found in the US are Parcoblatta species. It is a glossy light brown flat roach with an oval body.

Unlike other roaches with dull brown eyes, wood roaches have black eyes that protrude outwards. In addition, their bodies are transparent compared to other roaches.

Wood roaches have two antennas, longer than their bodies.

Different types of Wood Cockroaches


The adult Wood cockroach measures 0.75 to 1 inches (1.90- 2.54 cm) in size.

The baby Wood cockroach measures 2 to 3 mm in the earliest stage to about 8 to 9 mm long at a later stage.

Do you know that some of the biggest cockroaches, like one found by a Facebook user Locutor O. Paniagua on September 4, 2020, measured 4.5 inches, holding a world record?


The male Wood cockroaches have 2 pairs of transparent wings longer than their body measuring 1.35 inches in size. The wings have yellowish-white borders like Australian cockroaches.

The Female Wood cockroach has tiny wings with no flight capability.

Male Wood cockroaches are good flyers but can not stay in the air for more than 2 minutes at a time.

Identification Points

The following points differentiate Wood cockroach from German Cockroach,

  1. German cockroach measures only half of an inch whereas, wood cockroach measures about 1 inch.
  2. Male Wood cockroach have a yellow strip on the borders of wings whereas German roach lack these strips.
  3. German Cockroach have black strips on the head whereas, Wood cockroach lack these strips.

Distribution and Habitat

As the name indicates, Wood cockroaches are closely linked with forests and timberland. They are native to North America and are found predominantly in Maine, New Hemisphere, Samoa, and West Virginia. In the Central part of the country, Wood roaches are scarce and are usually carried along with construction wood.

The Wood cockroach is a species outdoor and loves to live on the lower side of tree trunks and branches. They are usually found on Oak and Elm trees under the bark.

Wood roaches love to infest homes that have wooden structures. They will love to live around piles of stacked wood, wood siding, and under the wooden floor inside the house. Wood roaches also infest the backyard with plenty of plant debris and leaves.

Wood Cockroach: Diet and Life Cycle

Wood cockroaches love to eat decaying organic matter, including rotten leaves, fallen fruits, and decaying bark. Inside the house, they are attracted to starchy food and decomposing garbage.

45 days after mating, a female Wood cockroach lays an ootheca containing 32 individual eggs under the trunk of fallen trees or bark. The eggs hatch into nymphs after 34 to 40 days.

The nymph of wood cockroach undergoes a series of 5 to 8 moltings before transforming into an adult Wood roach. The nymph stage usually lasts 8 to 10 months under optimal conditions but sometimes can stretch to 2 years.

The average life span of a male wood cockroach is 1.5 years, whereas; females have a longer life (2 years).

Are Wood Cockroaches Harmful?

Wood cockroaches are accidental intruders, and they rarely infest homes. In addition, wood cockroaches do not enter sewage and drain. Therefore, the risk of transmitting enteric fever (Typhoid and Paratyphoid Fever) is much lower than other roaches.

However, wood cockroaches’ exoskeleton, saliva, and dander can trigger allergies and asthma episodes, just like other roaches.

It is important to note that Wood cockroaches do not nest inside houses. So they rarely are a big infestation problem unless your house has a lot of woodwork.

You may sometimes confuse Small roaches with Wood Bugs. Read this article to learn more.

Preventing and Getting Rid of Wood Cockroaches

It is easy to get rid of Wood roaches because they are less timid and light-sensitive than other roaches. Therefore, they move around freely and are easy to spot and kill. To kill Wood cockroaches, use any of the following methods,

Method 1: Using Cockroach Gel

This is the most effective method to kill Wood cockroaches. All you have to do is apply gel around different house locations, especially around entry points and wood cracks.

Method 2: Using Cockroach Trap

Cockroach traps are a bit slow and less effective than gel, but they are easy to maintain and are mess-free. You need to buy a cockroach trap, place it around multiple locations, and wait for the results.

Method 3: Using Insecticide Spray

This is probably the fastest method, but the results are not long-lasting. Failure lies in the roach hiding capability and failure to destroy eggs. However, immediate relief can be obtained using insecticide spray.

All you need to do is spray it in a closed room around different corners and wait for 45 minutes. After that, ventilate the room.

You can also prepare your own bait using boric acid and mix them with consumable ingredients. However, it Is a bit messy and slow method.

To prevent Wood cockroaches from infesting houses,

  1. Pick up clutter, spilled food and garbage.
  2. Use Natural Palmetto Bug Repellents to keep roaches at bay.
  3. Cover crevices and gaps in doors and windows with masking tape.
  4. Use mesh screens to prevent male Wood roaches from flying inside.
  5. Use IGR spray to keep baby Wood roaches from maturing into adult Wood bugs.
  6. Inspect fire wood before bringing it inside the house.