Cockroaches are an order of paurometabolous hemimetabolous insects with a flattened body, measuring between 3 cm to 7.5 cm. Among all known household pests, cockroaches are the most persistent and unpleasant. In addition, their high reproductive potential, their ability to adapt to changing and hostile environments, and their ability to hide in inaccessible places, allows them to reach high densities in a very short time. For this reason, the early detection of a pest of cockroaches is vital to be able to eradicate it successfully, since the probabilities of elimination decrease as the population grows.

Types of common cockroaches in new jersey

The adult American cockroach is 1½ to 2 inches (34–53 mm) long, reddish brown with a yellow margin on the pronotum and body region behind the head. Both males and females have wings that extend beyond the tip of the abdomen. Adults rarely fly but are capable of flight during hot and humid summer conditions. Nymphs are wingless and reddish brown in color. An ootheca contains about 14–16 eggs and is deposited in cracks or on the substrate by the female (Figure 2). A female produces about 10 oothecae with a total of 150 eggs in her lifetime. The entire life cycle (egg to egg) is completed in about 210 days to more than two years.

Figure 2. American cockroach life stages.

American cockroaches are also referred as palmetto bugs. They prefer living in moist places both inside and outside buildings and are most active during the nighttime hours. It occurs more commonly in subtropical and tropical regions than in temperate regions. Within buildings, it is often found in basements, heating ducts, and the sewage system. It feeds on plant materials, organic material in sewage, and human foods, etc.

Control of American cockroaches can be challenging because their source is often far away (hundreds of feet) from where they show up in homes and commercial buildings. Often their breeding areas are in city sewer lines or damaged and/or abandoned plumbing lines. As a result, control measures are often handled at the site of the symptom rather than the source of the problem. To control American cockroaches, place sticky traps to monitor their distribution and to remove cockroaches. Sealing gaps around plumbing fixtures and reducing their hiding places will also be helpful. Also, seal cracks and holes on the wall and floors to minimize their harborages. If necessary, apply bait or an insecticide spray in areas of activity.


The smoky brown cockroach is an outdoor roach that lives in and around wooded areas. It’s a large species that’s sensitive to changes in the environment and looks for areas of high humidity. It’s also a problem for homes in warmer climates.


The adult German cockroach is ½ to 5/8 inch (13 to 16 mm) long and golden-brown to dark brown in color. Adults are commonly identified by the two dark parallel stripes on their pronotum and they have wings covering their thorax and abdomen but are incapable of flying. The nymphs range in size from 1/8 to 9/16 inch (3 to 14 mm) and are dark in color with a light section posterior to the head. The ootheca typically contains about 40 eggs and is carried by the adult female until just before hatch (Figure 1). A female produces 5–8 oothecae with a total of 200–250 eggs in her lifetime. The entire life cycle (egg to egg) is completed in about 100 days.

This species is found worldwide and is the most common cockroach species in homes, restaurants, and hotels in the U.S. It only lives in buildings. Cold temperature (< 60 °F) is the limiting factor for the survival and egg production of this species. It feeds on a wide range of human foods, pet food, fruit, leather, and even book bindings. They are most active at night and prefer to live in cracks and crevices that are not frequently disturbed. Seeing German cockroach activity during the daytime hours is typically an indication of a severe infestation. Within a home, they are mostly found in the kitchen and bathroom where food and water are available. In the kitchen, heat producing areas, around the stove and refrigerator, usually have the largest number of cockroaches, while in the bathroom they are most commonly found around the sink, toilet, and tub or shower.

German cockroaches are best controlled by using a combination of non-chemical and chemical methods, including excellent sanitation and reducing clutter. Keep the kitchen clean, seal food materials, reduce water sources, and use sticky traps to monitor their presence and distribution. Keep cabinets, countertops, and the area around the refrigerator free from clutter, including paper bags. Most over-the-counter pesticides sprays and aerosols are not effective. However, baits (gel bait and bait station) can be used very effectively to control German cockroaches. Baits should be placed in areas where cockroaches are most prevalent, in areas not accessible to children and pets. Boric acid dust is another effective material that can be applied in hard-to-reach areas such as behind refrigerators, stoves, and in cracks and crevices behind cabinets. Total release aerosols, also referred to as “bug bombs” are not effective and should be avoided. Sticky traps are very useful for monitoring the effectiveness of control measures. Place traps in areas where cockroaches are most active. After treatment, periodically check the traps and visually check the cabinets, stove and refrigerator areas, and other areas with food and water to confirm cockroaches are eliminated.    


Brown banded roaches don’t live outdoors like the American cockroach or the Oriental cockroach, so if they take up a habitat in your home they’ll be determined to stay. Their diet and behavior make them tricky to control, too.

Keep reading to learn more about these tiny pests and discover important tips for controlling them and protecting your home from cockroach infestations.


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