Cockroach Identification Fact Sheet

April 25, 2021


  • Beetle-like insects with relatively small heads and broad, flattened bodies
  • Reddish-brown to dark brown in color with large compound eyes and long, flexible antennae
  • Hardy insects that can tolerate a wide range of environments
  • Generalized insects, with few special adaptations


  • Breed continuously, saturating areas while spreading disease and infection
  • Carry bacteria, viruses, and dangerous pathogens, which contaminates food and surfaces
  • Destroy living environments
  • Can trigger allergies and asthma symptoms, especially in children
  • In many states, a health inspector can shut down a business for even just one cockroach sighting


  • Can enter homes and businesses via cracks and crevices, basement windows, garages, drains, and sewer pipes
  • Able to fly in when attracted to a light source
  • Commonly brought in on infested items like cardboard
  • Nocturnal creatures, performing all foraging and mating at night
  • In Northern states, cockroaches are active through spring and fall
  • May be active through the winter if they find a warm place to live (i.e. homes and businesses)
  • In warmer states, cockroaches are active year-round


  • Found throughout the US
  • Prefer warm, moist areas that are close to food and moisture, like bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements, and crawl spaces
  • Specific spots include food prep areas, porous surfaces like cardboard, cabinets and cupboards, garbage cans, and especially underneath or behind appliances like stoves and refrigerators


  • Cockroaches pre-date some dinosaurs, with fossils that date back 350 million years
  • Cockroaches cannot survive in temperatures below 15 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Cockroaches can live for several weeks without a head
  • Cockroaches will eat almost anything, including glue, soap, dead roaches, and the stains on fabric