Skip to main content
link to buildings & schools
->Home > publications > roach

Found a cockroach? (Saw a GAZILLION?)  Don’t panic.

Which one is it?

printthis page also available as a 224k pdf file


german cockroach
German Cockroach
Blattella germanica
a.k.a. "Croton bug"
Most common roach in New York
brownbanded cockroach
Brownbanded Cockroach
Supella longipalpa
Female on left
oriental cockroach
Oriental Cockroach
Blatta orientalis
a.k.a. "Water bug" or "Black beetle"
Female on left
american cockroach
American Cockroach
Periplaneta americana
a.k.a. "Palmetto bug" or "Water bug"
Adult size
0.5 inch
0.5 inch
1 to 1.25 inch
1 to 1.75 inch
Thorax ("Body")
Light brown. Two black stripes on pronotum (back of head).
Light brown. Light colored bands on wings (both sexes). Bands more noticeable in nymphs than adults.
Dark, reddish-brown to black.
Brown. Light markings on pronotum (back of head). Wings one color.
Cover tip of abdomen.
Female’s wings do not quite cover the tip of her abdomen; male’s wings do cover tip of his abdomen.
Traces of wings on females; short wings on males.
Female: equal in length to abdomen; Male: extend past tip of abdomen.
Egg Case
Light brown. Female carries it until 1-2 days before hatch.
Light brown. Egg case glued to ceilings, picture frames, furniture, in closets or other dark places.
Nearly black. Egg case deposited on debris or food in sheltered area.
Dark brown. Blends with surroundings; hidden in cracks, soft wood, moist debris.
Pepper-like specks on the wall, near nest site.
Pepper-like specks on the wall, near nest site.
Similar to mouse droppings. Under magnifier, one end is rounded, the other is slightly tapered.
Similar to mouse droppings. Under magnifier, blunt with ridged markings.
Warm, moist areas. Prefers kitchens and bathrooms. Likes to squeeze into tight cracks.
Throughout the house, prefers high locations. Also in closets, under furniture, and in heat-generating appliances.
Below ground level, in damp crawl spaces, basements, and floor drains. Can over-winter in cisterns and other protected outdoor areas.
Usually in commercial structures. Prefers warm, moist areas in basements, near heating ducts, pipe chase areas, and sewers. Forages mostly on first floors.
Note: The Pennsylvania wood roach is sometimes discovered in homes during warm months. It is about the size of the German and brownbanded but does not reproduce inside and dies quickly.