Pest Identification

Learn More About the Pests Invading Your Home

What Does a Cockroach Look Like?

When you see something skittering across the floor, your first instinct may be to scream. As your flight instinct recedes, you might think, “What was that?” or “I hope that wasn’t what I thought it was.” If it was a cockroach, you want to know because if you don’t take care of it quickly you’ll have some friends for life.

Before retreating down the path of terrified denial, take a minute to identify the roach.  If you find yourself asking “what does a cockroach look like?” it is important to know that there are actually four common types of cockroaches that could be making an appearance in your home. Once you know the kind you have, you can determine the best way to get rid of them - unless you like that sort of thing.


How Big Was It?


Each cockroach type differs a bit in size. When you tell your friends your tale, you can embellish it as much as any fish story. But for identification purposes, calm your imagination a bit.

  • Brownbanded Cockroaches: These are usually about five-eighths of an inch long, or about the size of a penny – some of the smallest of the varieties.
  • American Cockroaches: For scariness, this type wins; it’s the biggest of them all, measuring up to 2 inches long, not including the antennae.
  • German Cockroaches: Slightly larger than the brown banded, they can grow up to a half inch long.
  • Oriental Cockroaches: These, too, are about an inch long. They differ a bit from the others in shape: generally tubular from head to foot, whereas others taper from top to bottom. Also, females are larger than the males.


Who’s the Fairest of Them All?


In addition to size differences, the cockroaches vary in their coloring slightly as well. Brownbanded roaches are named, sort of, for the two yellow bands that run horizontally across their bodies. They have a thin one across the mid-abdomen, and a thick one across the bottom.

German cockroaches tout some racing stripes to go along with their speed. They have two deep brown stripes, sometimes dark enough to appear black, that run vertically from head to wings. Oriental roaches have no distinguishing features other than their deep brown color, which may seem black in low light.

American cockroaches are a little flashier than their peers; they are an almost amber, reddish-brown. Their glossy coats may even have a bit of a red glow. They can also be distinguished by the two large brown spots where shoulders would be. At least they have some fashion sense.

While they may look different, roaches can be bothersome whichever kind they are. But, at least now you know what you’re screaming about.