With over 4,000 known species of cockroaches worldwide, there are only about 30 species that are pests to people and a handful of them are found across Texas. Where many roaches share similar characteristics and habits, they still have their own distinct differences as well. The better you know what kind of cockroach is infesting your home, the better off you are at eliminating them. Typically, cockroaches are not only grotesque looking, but they are capable of spreading diseases, germs, bacteria, and other ailments. If you have a cockroach infestation, professional assistance is the most effective method to getting rid of them. Today, we at A Five Star Termite & Pest Control would like to briefly touch on the common cockroaches in Greater San Antonio, TX. The most common are the German and American Cockroach but we are also known to have the Wood, Spotted Mediterranean, Oriental, Smokey-brown, Brown-banded, and Surinam Cockroach as well.
American cockroaches average between 1 3/8 – 2 inches in length and are typically reddish-brown in color and feature on the plate behind their head a light color surrounding a central darker marking. They are among the largest cockroaches in the U.S. and though they are capable of flight, it is awkward and clumsy. These roaches are particularly fast so when they need to escape, they will usually run off. They prefer warm, moist areas like sewers and steam tunnels and are not typically noticed unless a broken sewer pipe is nearby.
These cockroaches are light brown in color generally and have a pair of dark stripes behind the head. German cockroaches average ½ – 5/8 inches in length. Though they have well-developed wings, they do not fly. When infesting homes, they are drawn to warmer areas such as kitchens because they prefer warm appliances such as under fridges, dishwashers, and ovens.
Spanning from tan to light brown in color, the adults average ½” long and are frequently mistaken for German Cockroaches due to their similarities. Instead of the dark pair of stripes, Brown-banded roaches have a solid dark brown mark behind their head. They will infest structures but are not nearly as common as the other species in Texas.
Ranging from dark brown to black in color, the Oriental cockroaches are between 1” and 1 ¼“long. Females do not develop wings and the males’ wings will cover ¾ of their body. These cockroaches frequent sewers as they prefer the warmer areas but are easily adaptable to cold habitats and will infest outdoor garbage heaps, decaying organic matter and fecal matter.
The females and males differ in their physical characteristics significantly. Males are about an inch long in size and have fully developed wings. Females are only between ½ inch and ¾ inches long and have shorter wings. Wood cockroaches rarely infest buildings and are native to the eastern United States. They can be an issue outdoors as the males are attracted to light during the evening hours and may wonder inside to get to the light if there is an opening. They are typically found infesting wood piles, wooden shingles or siding, and backed up gutters.
A deep shiny reddish-brown color and averaging between 1 to 1 ½ inches long, these cockroaches are far more common in the south and it is not unheard of to have them in Texas borders. More than likely, if they are noticed they were brought in from shipment boxes.
Spotted Mediterranean Cockroach
The Spotted Mediterranean Cockroach is one of the smaller species, only averaging about 1/3 inches in length. They have dark speckles that are obvious against their light tan bodies. Introduced from Europe in the mid-1900s, they have been dramatically spreading across the U.S. They prefer the outdoor foliage to infest in but as they are also flying towards their attraction to light in the evening, they have been known to occasionally invade homes.
With a solid, dark plate behind their head with light tan-colored wings and averaging about ¾” in length, the Surinam roach are fairly distinct. They prefer warm places and if they are in Texas, they will be found indoors. Though they are not as common as other species, they are more likely to be in greenhouses or atriums and preferably infesting potted plants. These are of the roaches that give birth and sexually reproduce with their self as there are no known male species.