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What are the Different Types of Cockroaches?

By J. Beam
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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Easily one of the most detested of all insects, the cockroach stems from the Blattodea order and can be broken down into six families with nearly 4,000 different species. Even though there is an extensive list of different kinds of cockroaches existing around the world, only a few varieties actually pose a nuisance to man.

The kinds of cockroaches that are more commonly known and most often invade homes and businesses are the German cockroach, the American cockroach, and the Oriental cockroach. The German cockroach is the prominent pest of homes, restaurants, and other facilities where food is found. They reproduce extremely quickly, and because they are nocturnal, they often go undetected until there is an infestation. This species is very resistant to common pesticides used in household pest control.

Similarly, the American cockroach is also considered an formidable household pest. They are larger than the German species and have wings that enable them to fly. They prefer warmer climates and thus, invade homes for shelter in areas where temperatures are cooler. The American cockroach, sometimes called a waterbug, does not reproduce at the same rate as the German cockroach and is considered easier to eliminate.

Other kinds include Asian, Cuban, Smokybrown, Wood, and Surinam cockroaches. With the exception of the aforementioned well-known pest variety of cockroaches, there are numerous species that avoid human contact all together. They range in size and color with natives of tropical areas being the largest. One of the largest species is the Madagascar hissing cockroach. This variety of hissing cockroach is, for reasons unbeknownst to many, a popular pet.

In the wild, cockroaches serve as a food source for birds, bats, and other small animals. They are omnivorous creatures and will gravitate wherever there are plentiful food supplies. Though infestations in a home or business can pose very real health problems, many people simply find them disagreeable because of their appearance. An infestation in a home or business typically cannot be taken care of without the services of a professional exterminator.

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Discussion Comments
By anon325320 — On Mar 15, 2013

I have just bought a house. There are no roaches inside, but are outside all along the house under lots of old leaves -- big and little ones. Only one big one came into the house. It ran across the floor. I also found a bunch of baby snakes. Do they eat the bugs/roaches? Please reply to me.

By anon173155 — On May 06, 2011

I just killed a cockroach. It was the Cuban Cockroach (panchlora nivea) its lime green and it is actually beautiful, but, it was a roach and I feared it could invade my house as the brown roaches already did. I was 'googling' to see if it is okay to kill the green ones but there wasn't any site that talked about the p.nivea being good or bad for health or for anything at all so, I killed it.

By anon86910 — On May 27, 2010

I have the exact same problem at my apartment building (it's brand new, too). A few of them have made it inside (I killed them quick!). I'm going to have a nice long chat with the management about some possible spraying of the grounds. --Wiccawoman

By kbos1223 — On May 21, 2009

I just moved into a new apartment and it is great except for the roaches that come out at night. They are not the big thick ones called "sewer roaches" they are regular house roaches and they are quick and some can fly a short distance.

But where they live is what surprises me. They live in the ground. Someone told me to put hot sauce around and they won't come back but I am afraid they will come in the house then. I think I need to kill them at their nest if I knew where it was.

What should I do about the night being taken over by these bugs. I do mean taken over as thousands come out at night. No one in the complex goes out after dark because there are too many bugs. Can anyone help?

By averagejoe — On Jul 02, 2008

I have a friend who is originally from Venezuela but lives in the US now. She told me that in Venezuela they had much bigger (and flying) cockroaches than what she's seen here. Seems they have the American cockroach in Venezuela. I think its also known as the Palmetto bug.

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