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American Cockroach

Danger/Damage

The American cockroach is a filthy pest, and their presence in the home can pose a severe health threat. American cockroaches can pick up germs on the spines of their legs and bodies as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage. They then carry these germs into homes—moving from the kitchen to the bathroom to the bedroom.

The saliva, urine, and fecal droppings from American cockroaches contain allergen proteins known to elicit allergic reactions and asthma attacks. As such, cockroaches are a common trigger of year-round allergy and asthma symptoms, especially in children.

When cockroaches walk on food, touch things with their antennas, defecate or shed their skin, they can cause allergic reactions, irritation, lesions, swelling, and even minor infection.


Did you know?

The American cockroach have well-developed wings, but seldom fly. Indoors, they are found in sewers and basements, particularly around pipes and drains. They can be found in homes and can cause allergic reactions, irritation, lesions, swelling, and even minor infection. In southern, more warmer regions, this cockroach can also be found outside in yards, wood piles, hollow trees, palm trees even under roof shingles or in attics.


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American cockroaches are reddish-brown and have a yellowish figure 8 pattern on the back of the head. Adults may range between 1 1/4” to 2 1/8” (32-54 mm) in length. American cockroaches are oval and have six legs. Both males and females have wings and can fly short distances.

In temperate climates, these roaches glide off surfaces rather than take to flight.


American cockroaches prefer moist areas like sewers, flowerbed mulch, heavy foliage, and decomposing matter. But if the temperature gets too hot or too cold, or if it gets too dry or wet, they will move indoors and take up residence in houses, apartments, warehouses, and office buildings.

American cockroaches can be found in commercial buildings such as restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, food processing plants, and hospitals, where they usually infest food storage and food preparation areas, boiler rooms, steam tunnels, and basements.


The American cockroach has three life stages: the egg, the nymphal instars, and the adult. The life cycle from egg to adult averages about 600 days and the adult life span maybe another 400 days.


  1. Cockroaches have been around since the time of the dinosaurs.
  2. Despite its name, the American cockroach is not native to North America, and some evidence suggested that American cockroaches were introduced via ships from Africa in the early 1600s.
  3. Commonly referred to as Water bugs”, Bombay Canary, and the Palmetto bug.
  4. American cockroaches are found worldwide.
  5. It’s been reported that more than 5,000 individual American cockroaches were once found in a single sewer manhole.

Is the American Cockroach hazardous to humans?

Once cockroaches enter your home, they invade your kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms. Roaches spread diseases and cause a distinct odour. Diseases spread by roaches include cholera, dysentery, gastroenteritis, leprosy and salmonella. The American Cockroach have been known to cause allergic reactions, irritation, lesions, swelling and even minor infection.

What causes an American Cockroach infestation?

The best way to incur a roach infestation is through food. This can be human food, pet food, bird feed, even cardboard.

How can I prevent an American Cockroach infestation?

Cockroaches are extremely resilient pests, so the practice of good sanitation and the elimination of accessible food are ways to minimize a roach infestation.

Ensuring food items are tightly sealed is important in preventing a roach infestation. If you have found roaches in your food, throw out the food source right away.

How do I remove an American Cockroach infestation?

While good sanitation is key, you can also use chemical controls such as baits. Baiting can be an effective method to eliminate American cockroaches. Spraying is not advised, but baits are a cleaner way to control a residential infestation.

In addition, shut out any future invaders by sealing up cracks, holes and gaps between the inside of your property and the outdoors.

If your infestation spreads larger and becomes unmanageable, consult your Abell Pest Control Technician.

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