How to Identify Cockroaches

Cockroaches can be a menace in homes, hospitals, warehouses and restaurants. Almost all species of cockroach can transmit illness-causing bacteria. Follow these steps to identify cockroaches.

Size up the insect. Cockroaches are medium to large insects with broad, flat bodies and long antennae.

Look for wings. Once cockroaches have matured, they develop thin, membrane-like wings. Not seeing wings? It might be a nymph, which is a younger, less mature cockroach that has not yet developed wings.

Identify the species. The insect might be a German cockroach if you found it inside. The German cockroach likes warm, moist areas like kitchens and bathrooms and frequently shows up in multi-family dwellings like apartment buildings. Find it in the basement or near water drains? It might be an oriental cockroach, a species that likes cooler, wetter places. Find your cockroach in the attic or in your garage? It might be the smoky brown cockroach; nymphs of this species sometimes have white segments on their antennae and on their backs which makes them a bit more recognizable. Or, if you found your cockroach outside, it may be an American cockroach, especially if you live in a warm, humid area and you found your cockroach near a sewer grate.


You need to correctly identify the species of cockroach that you are dealing with in order to figure out how to eliminate your cockroach problem. If you have a cockroach issue, store food in airtight containers and keep your trash in a sealed container. Many people confuse cockroaches and beetles; one of the main differences is seen in the wings. A wide variety of options are available for eliminating (or, at the very least, controlling) cockroaches.


You will need to be quick if you think you have German cockroaches; they reproduce more rapidly than most other species. In order to get rid of cockroaches, you need to find all of the locations where they are living.

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