There are over 4600 species of cockroaches that live all over the world. To identify a cockroach, it helps to know the characteristics that are common of all roach species, as well as the ones specific to the most common pest species.
Common Cockroach Characteristics
- Flat, oval-shaped body
- 3 main body parts: head, thorax (3 segments), and abdomen (10 segments)
- 6 long, spiny legs with small “claws” at the end of each
- Many species have wings, but not all fly
- Chewing mouthparts that face downward
- 2 long, flexible antennae
- Large compound eyes
- Range in size from about .25 inches to 3 inches
- Range in color from tan to dark brown or black
Pest Cockroach Species
Three of the main species of roaches that enter homes as pests in the United States are German, American, and Oriental cockroaches. Roaches can contaminate food, spread bacteria, and lead to allergies and asthma, so it is important to identify them and get rid of them.
The smallest of these pest roaches are the German cockroaches. They typically are 13-16 mm in length and are tan or brown in color. They have wings, but rarely fly. German cockroaches can easily be identified by the two dark, parallel lines that run from their heads, over the pronotum (the shield-like structure behind the head), to their wings.
American cockroaches are some of the biggest domestic roaches. They can grow over 40 mm (1.5 – 2 inches) in length. They are reddish-brown in color and often have yellowish markings around the edges of the pronotum. The roaches have wings, but can only glide or fly short distances.
Often known as a “water bug” or “black beetle,” the oriental cockroach ranges in size from about 18-29 mm (.7 – 1.14 inches). These roaches are dark brown or black in color. Females have small, primitive wings that are difficult to see, while males have long wings that cover their abdomens. Despite this, both males and females are flightless. The body of an oriental cockroach appears glossy.
Cockroach control should involve a combination of sanitation, exclusion, and chemical methods. PF Harris has all the products you need to get rid of roaches. Our boric acid roach tablets are perfect for hard to reach places like behind appliances and under sinks. You can also use our liquid spray for harborages like cracks and crevices around kitchens and bathrooms. Check out our full line-up of roach products today and eliminate the roaches for good.