American Cockroach - Periplaneta Americana

Appearance: About 1.5-2 inches long; reddish-brown wings; light markings on thorax - May be recognized by a yellow "figure-8" pattern on the shield at the front of its body.

Habits: This cockroach thrives in warm, damp environments, such as sewers, steam tunnels, basements, crawl spaces, and boiler rooms. In southern states, it will also be found living and breeding outdoors.

Diet: Like all cockroaches, it is omnivorous and will eat virtually anything people will and many things we won't.

Reproduction: Female needs to mate only once to produce many egg capsules; each capsule contains an average of 13 eggs; nymphs molt 13 times, in about 600 days, before reaching maturity; can live up to 15 months.

Other Information: Have shown a marked attraction to alcoholic beverages, especially beer; also known as the water bug.

German Cockroach - Blattella Germanica

Appearance: About five-eights inch long; light to medium brown, with two dark longitudinal streaks on the thorax.

Habits: Nocturnal; primarily infest areas close to food, moisture and warmth; most common cockroach found in and around apartments, homes, supermarkets and restaurants.

Diet: Scavengers; eat almost anything.

Reproduction: Females can produce one egg capsule every 20 to 25 days; each capsule contains from 18 to 48 eggs; newly born become adults in as little as 36 days; adults can live up to one year.

Other Information: Extremely heavy infestations are not uncommon; often found aboard ships; widest distribution of all cockroaches in U.S.

Smoky Brown Cockroach - Periplaneta Fuliginosa

Appearance: Dark brown, up to one and one-half inches long.

Habits: Prefers to live outdoors; populations are relatively immobile compared to other species.

Diet: Scavengers; eat almost anything; normally feed on plant material.

Reproduction: Egg capsules hatch in 24 to 70 days; each contains an average of 20 eggs; females reach maturity in 320 days and produce an average of seven capsules; adults can live up to 200 days.

Other Information: Particularly numerous in southeastern U.S.; fly towards lights at night.

Brown Banded Cockroach - Supella longipalpa

Appearance: The brownbanded cockroach is light gold to glossy dark brown, and is 1/2 to 5/8 inch long. It has transverse yellow bands across the base of the wings and across the abdomen. The wings of adult males cover their abdomens, while the females' wings are shorter. The yellow bands across the back are more pronounced on nymphs than on adults.

Habits: These cockroaches are quite active, and the adults, especially the males, fly rapidly when disturbed. Both adults and nymphs may jump to escape danger. The adult female carries her egg capsule for only a day or two before gluing it to a protected surface underneath or inside furniture, in a closet or on the ceiling in a darkened room. They can also be found in televisions and other appliances.

Diet: They prefer starchy foods and appear to have lower water requirements than other cockroaches. They can occupy drier locations within a building. Nymphs and adults frequently are found on ceilings in dark or dimly lit rooms, behind picture frames, in light switches, in upper walls of cabinets and closets, or on undersides of furniture and inside upholstered furniture.

Reproduction: LIFE CYCLE: Egg capsules are about 1/4 inch long and reddish-brown. Brownbanded cockroach females deposit egg cases in clusters on furniture, draperies, wall decorations, shelving and ceilings. The egg capsule contains 14 to 16 eggs; a female produces 10 to 20 cases in her lifetime. Eggs hatch in 50 to 75 days and nymphs develop in 90 to 270 days, with adults living 150 to 200 days.

Other Information: TYPE OF DAMAGE: Roaches can foul food, damage wallpaper and books, eat glue from furniture and produce an unpleasant odor. Some homeowners are allergic to roaches. The pests can contaminate food with certain bacterial diseases that result in food poisoning, dysentery, or diarrhea.

Oriental Cockroach - Blatta orientalis

Appearance: Dark brown; about one inch long.

Habits: Common outdoors; often enter buildings through sewer pipes; tend to live near the ground and in warm damp areas.

Diet: Eat anything, but found often feeding on garbage, sewage, and decaying organic matter; seem to prefer starches if available.

Reproduction: Egg capsules contain 16 eggs; female will produce an average of eight capsules; nymphs go through seven molts before becoming adult, in about a year; adults can live up to 180 days.

Other Information: Also known as water bugs or black beetles; more sluggish than other species; give off distinctive unpleasant odor.