All homeowners find going through a box and disturbing a cockroach as being a nightmare. One cockroach is bad, but multiple cockroaches are worse. Most people in Texas are surprised to know that there are more than thirty species in the state.
While most cockroaches do spend their lives outdoors, some are considered indoor pests. Even outdoor species will sometimes come indoors to breed, which makes them a nuisance and health risk.
Being able to identify the roach in the home can help you ensure that you use the right eradication methods and reduce the risk of them invading your home again in the future.
The most common roaches in Texas, from the most popular to the least popular, include:
Table of Contents
1. American Cockroach
The American cockroach (Periplaneta americana) is the largest common cockroach in the United States, often called the water bug. These roaches can grow to 4cm in length and 7mm in height. They are red to brown in color with yellow margins on the pronotum, the region just behind the head.
They have flattened bodies in an oval shape. The pronotum is plate-like, covering the thorax. They are fast movers and can get out of sight when threatened, fitting in small cracks and under doors.
They prefer moist areas but are known to live in dry areas, as long as there is access to water. They are common in basements under porches and walkways. They are also known to live in sewers, moving outdoors during warmer weather.
In colder weather, they move indoors, seeking warmth and food. They are known to enter homes through gaps under doors, plumbing, air ducts, and openings in foundations. They can be controlled using insecticides and covering gaps where the roaches can enter the home.
2. Pale-bordered Field Cockroach
The pale bordered field cockroach (Pseudomops septentrionalis) is a smaller cockroach that grows to around one-half of an inch in length. They are pretty roaches, with red head shields, yellow markings on the border of the pronotum, and wings with orange coloration on the face and antennae.
They are a timid species and excellent at hiding. They are not easy to find or identify. It is usually their bright colors that help you identify them.
The pale bordered field cockroach eats just about anything. They are scavengers eating anything from grease to sweets and will eat each other if there is a shortage of food. They are outdoors species, found in shrubs and leaves, sometimes in landscapes and gardens.
Even though they are an outdoor species, they are known to move into homes and barns, where it is dark and damp. They get into homes by accident, through gaps and cracks, which can be covered and repaired to reduce the risk of having this roach inside the home in the future.
3. Surinam Cockroach
The Surinam cockroach (Pycnoscelus surinamensis) is also known as the greenhouse cockroach and is a burrowing roach. They are common plant pests, found in tropical and subtropical environments.
Adults grow to around 0.98 inches (25mm) in body length and are dark brown to black with light brown wings. There is a white band on the pronotum and males have longer wings than females, even though this species is not a good flier.
This burrowing roach hides in loose soil, mold, compost piles, and under rocks and branches. They are found near human constructions and crops. They do sometimes make their way into homes but are not considered a household pest.
They are pests in gardens and plantations in tropical regions and can be problematic in heated greenhouses, where they eat the soft parts of plants by night. Indoor infestations can be managed with sprays, while outdoor treatment should focus on woodpiles, mulch, and foundation plantings.
4. Smoky Brown Cockroach
The smoky brown cockroach (Periplaneta fuliginosa) is a large roach that can grow to one and a quarter inches in body length. They are closely related to the American cockroach but are distinguished by the dark brown to mahogany coloration. They do come indoors for food and to make their home, though they do move outdoors when the seasons warm.
The smoky brown cockroach prefers warm climates and does not do well in the cold. They survive colder climates by moving indoors. They prefer moist conditions, often living around the perimeter of buildings.
5. Boll’s Sandroach
The male Boll’s sandroach (Arenivaga bolliana) has a color variation between them with a broad pale cephalic margin on the pronotum. They can be black to brown with a rounded pronotum, concealed genital hooks.
The female, unlike the males, is larger with a toughened to the leathery dorsal surface, which is covered in minute hairs.
6. Banana Cockroach
The banana cockroach (Panchlora nivea), also known as the Cuban or green cockroach is a small species, which is found in tropical and subtropical climates. The female grows to 24mm, while males grow to 15mm in body length.
They are pale green to yellow-green with a yellow line that runs up the sides. They prefer the outdoors and are not common in homes, therefore they are not considered pests. Adults can be found in trees, plants, and shrubs.
Interestingly, the banana cockroach is a poplar cockroach pet with exotic pet enthusiasts, sometimes being used as food for other pets.
7. German Cockroach
German roaches (Blattella germanica) are small, usually growing to no more than 1.6cm in length. They vary from tan to black with two dark parallel streaks on the pronotum, which runs from behind the head to the wing base. Even though they do have wings, they are poor flyers, often gliding rather than flying.
Being closely related to the Asian cockroach, they are domestic pests. They are successful in establishing themselves in buildings and are resilient to most pest control measures due to the lack of natural predators, short reproductive cycles, and their hiding abilities.
8. Turkestan Cockroach
The Turkestan cockroach (Shelfordella lateralis) is also known as the rusty red cockroach and is an outdoor cockroach. They grow to around 3cm in length with males being brown/orange to red, slender with yellow wings. Females are dark brown to black with cream markings, they are broader than the male with shorter wings.
These are outdoor roaches that are not aggressive, though they will move into dwellings to find shelter, where they can become indoor pests. Males are encountered more than females, probably due to them being able to fly and their attraction to outdoor lights.
9. Australian Cockroach
Australian cockroaches (Periplaneta australasiae) are common tropical roaches that grow to 35mm in body length. These brown roaches have a pale lateral stripe and a pale or yellow margin n the pronotum. They are similar to the American roach in appearance, though it is smaller with the yellow margin on the thorax and yellow streaks n the sides, close to the base of the wings.
The Australian cockroach prefers warm climates and is not tolerant of the cold. They can survive if they make it indoors over the colder months. They prefer moist conditions but do well in dry conditions as long as they have access to water.
They are often encountered on the perimeter of buildings where they eat plants, feeding on a range of organic and decaying matter. They are scavengers and are known to come indoors to find food.
10. Field Cockroach
The field cockroach (Blattella vaga) is a winged roach that can fly. They can grow to 12mm in body length and have dark stripes on the pronotum and tan to light brown overall coloration.
This roach prefers the outdoors, though they are known to come into the home to find moisture. Their diet comprises mostly decaying vegetation, though they have been seen feeding on smaller insects.
You can usually find these roaches under debris, stones, mulch, and weedy vegetation, which offers shelter and moisture. They are attracted to lights.
11. Asian Cockroach
The Asian cockroach (Blattella asahinai) was first described in 1981 in Japan and is a small species growing to 1.6cm in body length. These roaches are tan to dark brown with dark stripes on the back of the head. They are often mistaken for the German cockroach, due to their similar appearance.
The Asian cockroach is mostly found in and around homes and is considered a foreign pest. They are susceptible to all insecticides with scatter baits being used to control these roaches, successfully controlling populations.
12. Oriental Cockroach
The oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis) is also referred to as the black beetle, due to its dark body coloration. They are large in size, growing to 2,9cm with females being slightly smaller, at around 27mm. These roaches are glossy dark brown to black.
Preferring moist and dark places, these roaches are commonly encountered in sewers, drains, basements, and any damp location.
Unfortunately, trying to get rid of these roaches in your home is not an easy task. Adults can be killed with insecticides, the insecticides are known to be washed away, enabling the female to hatch new nymphs.
13. Dark Wood Cockroach
The dark wood cockroach (Ischnoptera deropeltiformis) is not considered a pest, living among trees and seldom making its way into homes and buildings. These dark brown to black-colored roaches are also known as sexy leg cockroaches for their orange to red-colored legs.
They are attracted to night lights and can grow to 14.5mm in body length. Males tend to have more yellow and orange on their legs, being a black-brown to chestnut brown color. Females, on the other hand, are shiny black with some brown coloration.
14. Bilunate Cockroach
The Bilunate cockroach (Ischnoptera bilunata) male grows to 16mm and females to 18mm in body length. They can both climb and fly, preferring a moist habitat. They are popular feeder insects for exotic pet enthusiasts, breeding quickly and one female can produce hundreds of these roaches.
While they do not burrow, they are often encountered outdoors, under leaf litter and organic matter.
15. Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach
The male Pennsylvania wood cockroach (Parcoblatta pennsylvanica) is dark brown with yellow margins on the thorax and front of the wings. The male is winged, while females have short wings, which do not function. The male wings are longer than the body.
While the males can fly, they cannot sustain their flight for long periods. They are also larger than the female, growing to 24.5mm, females only grow to 18mm.
They are common in open areas with little ground cover. They are seen on tree trunks and low branches at night. They can come indoors, often brought in on firewood, which gets them wandering around the home and congregating in a room.
The Pennslyvania wood cockroach can become a pest in May and June, their mating season. This is when the males travel in large numbers, flying long distances in search of a mate. Attracted to outdoor lights, they often find their way into homes by mistake.
They feed on decaying organic matter and are often found under shingles and firewood. They can be problematic for homes in wooded areas. Exterior treatments to around the doors, windows, patios, porches, and foundations, along with outdoor light areas, can reduce the risk of these roaches coming into the home.
16. Compsodes schwarzi
These are small cockroaches and popular feeder insects for exotic pet owners. Males only grow to 7mm with their wings and females to 5mm. They prefer moist environments with plenty of leaf litter and bark.
Their diet consists of decaying plant matter. They are slow growers with short life spans
17. Fulvous Wood Cockroach
The fulvous wood cockroach (Parcoblatta fulvescens) is endemic to the United States, growing to 13mm in body length. Males are slender with long fore wings. Their body is pale brown/yellow. Females have a red/brown head and pronotum with a dark brown abdomen and legs.
They prefer grassy and heavy undergrowth, often found in barrier beach forests, pine forests, and swamp edges. They hide under leaves, pine needles, and loose bark. They are nocturnal, only coming out at night.
18. Western Wood Cockroach
The Western wood roach (Parcoblatta americana) is a large size with color variations.
Males have fully developed wings and can vary from dark brown to light red/tan. The female has no back wings and ranges from a shiny red/orange with a darker abdomen. The male can grow to 14.8mm and females to 13.3mm in body length.
They tend to hide in harvester ant nests during the day and come out at night, feeding on debris.
19. Brown-banded Cockroach
Brown-banded cockroaches (Supella longipalpa) are small roaches that grow to around 14mm in body length. They are tan to light brown with light-colored banding on the wings and abdomen. The male wings cover the abdomen, while the female’s wings are too short to completely cover the abdomen.
They eat just about anything. Being scavengers they eat organic food, such as decaying matter.
20. Brown Cockroach
Brown cockroaches (Periplaneta brunnea) belong to the Blattidae family, native to Africa. They have been introduced almost everywhere in the world, though they can only survive indoors in colder climates, making them a household pest.
They look very similar to American roaches. They are darker in color with fully developed wings. They grow to around 4cm in body length.
21. Florida Woods Cockroach
This is a large cockroach that grows to 40mm in body length. They give off a foul smell when threatened, spraying up to one meter, which is why they are also known as the Florida skunk roach.
The Florida woods cockroach (Eurycotis floridana) is a slow mover, preferring damp areas. They are known to make their way indoors from time to time, though not considered a major pest. They are usually found under leaf litter, wood, and boards.
To reduce the risk of the Florida woods cockroach getting into the home, you want to seal any cracks and holes in your home foundation, fix broken screen doors and seal around the plumbing.
22. Tawny Cockroach
The tawny cockroach (Ectobius pallidus), also known as the Mediterranean spotted cockroach, grows to 9.5mm in body length. They are light brown with a white head and transparent pronotum. There are red to brown colored spots on the pronotum and fore wings.
Males and females can fly and are often seen in woodlands and meadows, where they hide in leaf litter, trees, and brush.
23. Boll’s Wood Cockroach
The Boll’s wood cockroach (Parcoblatta bolliana) is a small roach are small cockroaches with females being chocolate brown and males being shiny dark brown with yellow. Males are also more slender than females with functioning hind wings.
They prefer the outdoors and are found under old boards, pine stray, cow dung, grass, and more.
24. Eremoblatta subdiaphana
The male Eremoblatta subdiaphana has fully functioning wings, while the female does not. Growing to 30mm, they are usually attracted to light in desert and sandy areas. They are burrowing roaches, hiding in sandy soil and dunes.
This cockroach can last for several weeks without water.
25. Small Yellow Cockroach
The small yellow cockroach (Cariblatta lutea) is native to the United States, growing to around 7mm in length. They are pale brown/yellow with brown heads with a band between the eyes and dark spots on the face.
The head shield (pronotum) has brown spots with transparent sides. They are often found in leaf litter, pine needle litter, and in a range of different plants, near houses and in disturbed areas.
26. Virginia Wood Cockroach
The small Virginia wood cockroach (Parcoblatta virginica) grows to around 1cm in body length with males being fully winged. They are orange in color with females being more of a rusty brown.
These roaches live off decaying organic matter and are outdoor cockroaches. They do sometimes make their way into homes, usually by accident. Using good preventative measures, such as sealing under doors and around plumbing, can help keep them away.
27. Desert Wood Cockroach
The desert wood cockroach (Parcoblatta desertae) is endemic to Texas. Males have fully developed wings, while females have small pads. The male is dull in color, while females are smaller with orange on her head and undersides and rust on her abdomen.
The male desert wood cockroach grows to 13,8mm, while females grow to 11.6mm in body length.
They have only been seen in south-central Texas, especially Chisos Mountains, Shovel Mountain, Nueces River, ford Davis, Johnsone, Rio Frio, and Sabinal.
They are common in desert and semidesert mountainous areas, where they hide on the ground under leaf litter and pine litter.
28. Little Gem Cockroach
The little gem cockroach (Aglaopteryx gemma) can grow to 15mm and is a beautiful pattern of light brown and tan. They are common in Texas and are endemic to the Caribbean. Their habitats range from the beach to pine hammocks and are arboreal in nature.
They are exceptionally fast and almost impossible to capture. They prefer being on trees but are known to make their way into homes from time to time. They can easily be managed with everyday insecticides.
29. Small Yellow Texas Cockroach
The small yellow Texas cockroach (Chorisoneura texensis) is endemic to Texas and only grows to 8.4mm in body length. They are almost transparent, making them look yellow in color.
These cockroaches are often found hiding under leaf litter and seldom make their way indoors.
30. Euthlastoblatta abortiva
This is a very inconspicuous cockroach that is seldom seen or encountered. They are nocturnal and burrow under the ground. There is very little information on this species, except their nests, are underground and the nests comprise mostly of adult females.
31. Desert Cockroach
Desert cockroaches (Arenivaga investigata) can gain weight by absorbing water vapor from the atmosphere. The weight gains are believed to be with the mouth protrusions of two bladder-like extensions, which shows the bladder-like structures can function as sites for condensation.
32. Harlequin Roach
The Harlequin roach (Neostylopyga rhombifolia) was first described in 1911 for its striking colors and patterns. They are invasive pests, spreading to many regions. They live mostly outdoors but are known to make their way indoors.
They are easily identified for their black and yellow pattern short front wings and length of around 30mm.