Pest Identification

Learn More About the Pests Invading Your Home

American Cockroach

How to exterminate them


The key to exterminating large roaches like American cockroaches is to kill the entire roach nest. If you just spray and kill the individual roaches that you see, you will continue to see roaches scampering around your home looking for food and water, and will most likely begin to see more of them and more frequently as they breed and the nest continues to grow. Combat® products provide the source kill you need and are a guaranteed solution! Use Combat® Source Kill Max Large Roach Baits in common areas where you see roaches and Combat® Source Kill Max Roach Killing Gel in cracks and crevices or places where roaches might enter the home. Click here to learn more about how Combat® works to kill at the source.


Where they live


Sometimes called palmetto bugs or water bugs, American Cockroaches are found throughout the Southern United States. In the Northern United States, they can be found in urban areas in sewers and steam tunnels.


What they look like


American Cockroaches are the largest of the house-infesting cockroaches. Adults are approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches long with fully developed reddish-brown wings and dark markings on the light colored thoracic shield that covers their head.


Where they nest


American Cockroaches typically live and breed outdoors, and come inside to search for food and water. They are common inhabitants of sewers and can enter homes through sink and shower drains. After heavy rain, basements can have heavy infestations of American Cockroaches.


Steps to prevent an invasion


Reduce access to the home or other structures by caulking cracks in exterior walls and installing screens in drains. Remove rotting leaves and wood, and reduce irrigation around your home to limit moist areas where these cockroaches like to nest. With fewer nesting sites, the roach population will decrease and so will home invasions by these roaches.

Fact Sheet

  • American Cockroaches are more common in warmer climates.
  • They prefer to nest outdoors, yet close buildings and are very common in sewer systems of many American cities.
  • American Cockroaches can fly.
  • They are reddish-brown in color
  • American Cockroaches are considered large roaches and vary from 1.1 to 2 inches in length.
  • They can squeeze into a space no thicker than a quarter.
  • Female American Cockroaches can produce up to 150 offspring per year.
  • They’re very fast runners and can move up to 50 body lengths per second (comparable to a human running 210mph).
  • American Cockroaches are nocturnal and mostly active at night.
  • They will eat just about anything, including paper, hair, cloth and dead insects.