German cockroaches are the most commonly encountered roach pests within homes, but the relatively large American cockroach is the second most commonly managed roach pest in the US, according to a survey of pest control professionals. Unlike the German cockroach, which dwells primarily indoors and is around half an inch in length, the American cockroach is around 2 inches or more in length, and they alternate between indoor and outdoor habitats. American cockroaches are capable flyers, and males possess wings that extend 4 to 8 mm beyond the tip of the abdomen, making them appear larger than females. American cockroaches are reddish-brown with a yellow band just below their head, and due to their large size, they can often be heard crawling about within homes. Like most cockroach pests, American cockroaches can reproduce rapidly and in vast numbers within homes and buildings.

American cockroaches and their offspring prefer temperatures of around 82 degrees, but adults can still reproduce in massive numbers in 70 degree conditions. The high reproductive rate of American cockroaches is well known to those who have worked for city sewer systems, as American cockroaches are the principal sewer dwelling roach species, and enormous numbers are often seen flooding out of drainage ditches and manholes. In fact, there have been many instances in which thousands of American cockroaches were sucked out of one single manhole with an industrial sized vacuum. Their close association with sewer habitats provides American cockroaches with access into homes and buildings via pipelines and other below ground utilities.

Every summer starting in April and May, female American cockroaches begin producing egg cases known as “oothecae,” which contain around 16 eggs each. Studies have found that one female produces an average of 57.9 oothecae every week during the summer months within indoor locations. Females deposit their oothecae near food, but they are also known for placing their oothecae within protected indoor areas, like cracks, crevices and beneath debris. In order for American cockroach eggs to hatch, females must deposit eggs within conditions that are adequately humid, such as in basements, bathroom wall voids, and in cupboards below sinks.

Have you ever found insect eggs in your home?