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Large Roaches: The Difference Between American and Oriental Roaches

Not only have cockroaches scurried across the face of the Earth since the time of dinosaurs, they’ve managed to survive and thrive. Today, in fact, there are over 3,500 known species of cockroaches that inhabit the world, including the two most common of the large cockroach types: the American Native cockroach and the Oriental cockroach.

Knowing the differences between these two cockroach pests is key to developing a successful strategy for effectively getting rid of a cockroach infestation. The American cockroach and the Oriental cockroach share some similarities: they both mature to between one to two inches in length, and they’re both primarily outdoor pests, but will invade homes and apartments in search of food and water. Because of their size, these pests are sometimes mistaken for water bugs. True water bugs are aquatic insects classified under the order Hemiptera.

Beyond those similarities, these pests differ in several ways:


American Cockroaches

• Distinctive reddish brown in color and have a yellow band or edge on their body behind the head

• Largest of the home-invading cockroaches
• Prefer moist environments and are found in sewers, basements and first floors of buildings
• Typically live and breed outdoors, invading homes in search of food and water
• Are omnivorous and can feed off of almost anything including paper and glue
• They prefer warmer climates and will move indoors when temperatures drop below 84°F


Oriental Cockroaches

• Are dark-brown to shiny black in color; adult males sport wings ¾ of the way down their back
• Females have undeveloped wings, which are reduced to small lobes
• Adult Oriental roaches only live from one to six months
• Prefer moist, temperate climates, but are not as adverse to cooler temperatures as other roaches
• Typically live and breed outdoors but will invade homes in search of food and water
• Are often found in bushes, under leaf cover and mulch, and within other damp outdoor places

The key to an effective pest management strategy for killing both American cockroaches and Oriental cockroaches is by eliminating standing water, debris, and other organic matter from around the outside of your home. In addition, remove sources of food and water inside your home by cleaning up spills and crumbs, and keeping food tightly sealed in plastic containers.

You’ll also want to place Combat® baits behind appliances or along the back of cabinets and baseboards inside pantries and use Combat gel to seal cracks crevices insects use as a way into your home. Combat baits and gels are effective because they eliminate pests at their source, wiping out the cockroach colony within days or weeks. And Combat products remain potent to help ensure a cockroach problem won’t flare up again.

Explore the Combat® website for more great tips, advice and helpful information. And visit the Combat® video archive to learn more about Combat Baits and Gels.