Types of House Cockroaches

by | Last updated Jun 28, 2023 | Roaches

After bedbugs, most people consider roaches to be the most disgusting of all the bugs. There are over 4500 species of cockroaches in the entire world. However, only a few species inhabit houses.

If you were to consult a pest control company about house cockroaches, you would hear terms such as Domestic and Peridomestic roaches. Domestic roaches are those that spend their entire lives in households, while peridomestic roaches can be found either indoors or outdoors.

If you happen to see a roach crawling in your house, the chances are that there are more hiding or more on the way. Maybe a specie or two of the house roaches have invaded your home. You, therefore, need to identify the type of cockroach for effective control.

Types of House Cockroaches

Domestic cockroaches

These are tropical roaches and prefer warm and moist conditions. Their metabolism doesn’t allow them to survive the cold conditions that come with winter. Therefore, they look for warmer places in houses.

There are two species of domestic roaches. This kind only lives in houses alongside humans because of ready food and environmental conditions. The two types are:

  • German roaches
  • Brown-banded roaches

Related reading: What kind of cockroaches infest homes?

German Roaches

Just because they are called German roaches does not mean that they originated from Germany. Researchers first placed their origin in Europe, but recent evidence shows that they came from Asia’s southeastern part.

The German roaches are known to produce allergens that induce asthmatic attacks. They are a nuisance in any household because they scavenge on almost everything. Be it book bindings, food waste and crumbs; they don’t mind.

The main characteristic that sets the German roach from the rest of the roaches is its size. It is significantly smaller than most cockroaches. They also have a unique tan brown colour and are wide and flat.

They can hide in backpacks and household commodities where you cannot easily spot them. One can easily carry them to different places without notice. They multiply very fast because a single egg can lead to over 30 000 roaches in a year.

Brown – Banded cockroach

For a moment, you may confuse it for a German roach. Brown Banded roaches are tiny, measuring about 13 mm for the males and 12 mm for the females. They appear to be red-brownish and are often found in house furniture. This kind spends its entire life indoors.

For millions of years, they have stayed alongside humans, and this close relationship has brought about the potential to affect human health significantly. They hide behind picture frames and cracks on any furniture. Often you will find them in cupboards and under wooden seats.

To identify a Brown-Banded cockroach infestation is very tricky. These are masters at hiding. However, often check your cabinets, ceiling fixtures, under tables and seats. If you sport black droppings that tend to be like speck, you potentially have a Brown Banded roach infestation.

If you happen to see yellowish egg cases or the sight even a single one of the roaches, you must search your house. It will help you determine if you have an infestation.

Related reading: Identify Cockroaches

Peridomesstic Roaches

Peridomestic roaches are those found indoors and outdoors. They can comfortably survive in either of the environments.  However, some like the American roach prefer indoor conditions. Peridomestic cockroaches will move indoors when the weather is either too hot, cold or even too dry for them.

These roaches are quite hard to control because once you have an infestation inside the house, it means it is worse off outside. Pest control actions should, therefore, start from the outside and then move inside. Failure to which the outside roaches will crawl into the house again, and you will have another infestation.

Below are the most common types of peridomestic roaches.

  • American roaches
  • Smoky brown cockroach
  • Oriental cockroach

American Roaches

Let the name not confuse you to think that the American roaches originated from America. Their origin traces back to Africa and the Middle East. It is one of the most common cockroaches that inhabit households. This specie is uniquely large, measuring up to two inches long.

The American roach is dark brown and prefers to hide in warm and dark areas. You are likely to find them in basements and dark corners of heated rooms. Just like other cockroaches, they prefer conditions where food and water are readily available.

They multiply rapidly, and the female can produce a sack of 16 eggs after mating. An interesting fact about these cockroaches is that they can continue producing fertilized eggs even without mating.

Smoky Brown Cockroach

The Smoky Brown Cockroach spends most of its time outdoors. However, you can also find them in basements and house areas with moist conditions. They get into your house through sewer lines and firewood logs.

Smoky Brown Roaches are attracted by piles of exposed garbage and stagnant water. An interesting fact about them is that they can fly over short distances. Often they are attracted by indoor lights and might pass through window cracks into the house.

It is quite challenging to know if you have an infestation of Smoky brown roaches because they leave in basements and prefer dark conditions. The only way they can be an infestation is when they are attracted to your house lights or when you have stagnant water in some parts of the house.

Related reading: Why Cockroaches Fly Towards You

Oriental Cockroach

People call them water bugs because they inhabit dumpy areas. They are oval and shiny black. Their origin is traced back to Africa and can grow to one inch long. The males and female are almost the same, but they significantly differ in appearance.

The females have wing pads instead of wings, while the males have short wings that leave part of their backs exposed. They have a unique smell as a result of the chemicals they release when communicating with one another.

Among the type of house roaches, it is the only one that is identified through smell. During an infestation of these roaches, you will notice their dark red eggs, which are about 8 to 10 mm in length.

They don’t like freezing temperatures like that experienced during winter.  In such conditions, you will sight them around sewers. During the night, they crawl up the drain into your sink.  They prefer damp conditions during the day and are usually in a group.

Related reading: Wood Roaches Versus German Roaches

Preventive Measures for House Cockroaches

All the types of household cockroaches have one standard preventive measure, and that is sanitation. It is a critical practice that one should undertake to control an infestation. Always ensure that there are no dumpy areas in your household.

Any stagnant water should be dried up and the area disinfected. It would be best if you sealed any opening that may lead the roaches into our home. At night, always close the window and switch off unnecessary lighting.


Save $$$ by comparing up to 3 quotes from trusted local pest control companies.

Since most of these roaches are dependent on the water, especially the oriental cockroach, ensure there is no standing water in the dark corners of your house and basement. If you suspect you have an infestation, act as fast as possible to control and prevent them from spreading.

Related reading: How to Stop Cockroaches from Coming up the Drain


Why do I suddenly have roaches in my house?

The common type of house cockroaches inhabits dumpy areas where they can find food and water. They are suddenly in your house because the house provides suitable conditions for them to thrive. Ensure that you maintain high levels of sanitation and hygiene.

What attracts cockroaches in homes?

Cockroaches are attracted to food crumbs from dirty utensils and the floor. Moist and dumpy areas also attract the insects, and they provide perfect breeding grounds for them. Always make sure that you dispose of garbage as frequently as possible.

What kind of cockroaches infests homes?

The most common household inhabitant is the German cockroach. It is also one of the toughest to exterminate. Others include the Brown Banded roaches, American roach, Smoky Brown and the oriental cockroach.
Of all the species in the world, there are only five common types of household cockroaches. Almost all of them are native to Africa and found themselves in America through commercial activities and slavery centuries ago. These cockroaches are divided into two, the domestic and the peridomestic cockroaches.
Despite their differences in physicality, the primary way of preventing an infestation is through sanitation. Different mechanisms apply for the peridomestic species because they can also infest the outside of your house.

Get Free Pest Control Quotes

Simply share a few details and the best pest controller near you will be in touch.