Cockroach Identification Guide 

August 21, 2019

So the dreaded event happened. You saw a “thing” scurry across your bathroom floor, and you are not quite sure what it is. After an initial shriek you may want to look into what exactly it was. This is often more difficult than it sounds because once the culprit evades your scream, it probably took off to find safe haven in a dark hiding spot such as a crevice around your sink or tub. 

Sometimes the creature is easy to identify like a mouse, rat, or spider. But other times, the critter may have some questionable attributes that make it hard to discern exactly what it is. Cockroaches are one of those species. 

Did you know that there are more than 4,000 living species of roaches in the world, about 70 of which are found throughout the United States? Among those 70 are the most common to be found in residential and commercial areas: American Cockroach, German Cockroach, Brown Banded Cockroach and the Oriental Cockroach. 

To differentiate the types of cockroaches, you will want to look at the size, color and behavior. 


American Cockroaches tend to be the largest of all the residential roaches. They can grow to be about 2” in length. The next largest when dealing with house dwellers is the Oriental, then the German Cockroaches which vary in size but average from 1/2” to 5/8” in length. Brown Banded roaches are among the smallest, measuring in at less than 1/2”. That smaller than the size of a penny! 



Again, another clue as to which cockroach may be visiting your bathroom is the coloring of the body. American roaches tend to be reddish-brown with a yellowish figure-8 pattern on the back of their heads. German cockroaches have light brown or tan bodies with two dark stripes. Oriental roaches are shiny black. And the Brown Banded are well named since they are brown with pronounced banding across the wings. 



Most pests that enter commercial or residential areas do so for several reasons: food, shelter, and water. American roaches tend to inhabit more commercial areas as they are larger and need access to more of these items. They are commonly found in grocery stores, restaurants and anywhere food items are stored. These roaches are known to infest food storage and food preparation areas. Other species like the German and Oriental tend to hide in dark, damp areas like basements, crawl spaces, and areas with moisture like your bathroom or sinks. Brown Banded roaches like areas that are drier so you may find them in kitchen cabinets or drawers.

If you have a cockroach problem, you will want to identify the correct pest and species to know the best course of treatment. If you find a creepy crawly in your home, call Pest-End Exterminators at 800.287.4321 or visit our website for more information. 


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