Wood roaches are often mistaken for other household pest roaches like German, American, or Smoky Brown roaches. While they are similar in appearance, they differ greatly in behavior, and are much less likely to become a problem in homes.
Wood Roach Appearance
Wood roaches range in size from .75 – 1.25 inches long. Like other pest roaches, they have a flat, oval-shaped body with a pair of long antenna and 6 legs with spines on them. Wood roaches are brown in color, but may appear more tan because of their wings. They also have a translucent stripe on the outside edge of their thorax and the outside edge of their wings.
Wood Roaches by Happy1892 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Wood Roach Behavior
Wood roaches do not actively seek out shelter in homes, and usually end up there by accident. They prefer to live in moist, woodland areas amidst rotting trees, mulch, leaf litter, and other organic matter. One of the most common ways that they are accidentally transported indoors is in firewood.
One of the behaviors that separates wood roaches from other common pest species is they are not as sensitive to light. This means that wood roaches may be seen out in the open during the day or night. In fact, male wood roaches are even attracted to lights at night. Wood roaches are also much less skittish than other species and will not scamper off at first sight. If you find wood roaches in your home, it may be disconcerting, but it probably is not a huge problem. They cannot survive in homes long and will not breed indoors. Wood roaches may become a nuisance if they start living underneath wood siding or shingles, and are most likely to be seen in homes near forested areas.
Wood Roach Prevention and Control
Since wood roaches do not typically reproduce indoors, there is very little chance of getting an infestation. Chemicals are often not even necessary. Instead a few simple preventative measures may be all it takes to avoid wood roach problems.
- Seal the exterior of your homes, including small cracks and gaps
- Make sure that all windows have screens and that the weather-stripping around doors and windows is in good shape
- Keep wood piles away from your home and at least 6 inches off the ground if possible
- Don’t store firewood indoors, and instead only bring it in when you are ready to burn it
- Turn off porch lights and close blinds
- If you spot a wood roach, sweep or vacuum it up and dispose of it outdoors
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