Roaches in Florida

Pest Library

Roaches are a pest that has been a menace to people for ages.  They are extremely adaptable, eat just about anything and transmit diseases.  Florida is home to many of these repulsive creatures.

German Cockroaches

German Cockroach

What do German roaches look like?

German roaches are the most predominantly seen roach in Florida dwellings.  These roaches are 1/2” – 5/8”, dark brown with two distinct parallel bands running down their thorax.

When are German roaches most active?

German roaches are a nocturnal creature and are most active at night and will scatter quickly when discovered or disturbed. 

What attracts German roaches?

German roaches need humans to survive.  These creatures are attracted to warm humid environments that will provide them with food and water sufficient for survival and reproduction.  German roaches are omnivores and eat things like:

  • Wax
  • Gum
  • Pet food
  • Grease
  • Crumbs
  • Left-over food in empty cans or containers
  • Meat
  • Trash and garbage

Where are you likely to find German roaches?

German roaches are distributed around the world and most commonly found in apartment houses, restaurants, hotels and motels.  Once inside, they hide during the day in the dark and moist areas of the building and come out at night to forage for food.

Are German roaches dangerous or destructive?

German roaches are extremely destructive inside homes and buildings.  Not only do they contaminate with their feces, they can feed on books, book bindings, and other soft items.  They also transport bacteria, germs, and pathogens they picked up from other unsanitary places.  German roaches also emit a powerful allergen that can aggravate allergies and asthma in some people.

American Cockroaches

American Cockroach

What do American roaches look like?

The American roach has the distinction of being Florida’s biggest cockroach.  Ranging in length from 1-1/2” to 2”, this large black and brown flying roach has several nicknames, a few of which are; “The Florida State Bird” or “a roach on steroids’.  Not only are they easy to distinguish by their size, but they also have recognizable markings: a yellow shield on its head with black markings. 

When are American roaches most active?

Here in Florida, American roaches are a year-round pest invader, but their presence and activities increase during the warmer summer months.  These large roaches are nocturnal creatures that come out at night in search of food and water and spend their days hidden away in dark, protected places.

What attracts American roaches?

American roaches are attracted to warm, humid areas that can provide them with food, and shelter.  American roaches are particularly attracted to starch, grease, sugar meat, cheese and trash.

Where are you likely to find American roaches?

Inside, American roaches hide in dark, secluded areas during the day and then come out at night to look for food and water.  Outside in Florida, the Florida Palmetto Tree is their favorite den.  They are also attracted to warm, damp areas–under mulch and in flower beds.  In a city setting, American roaches are also very common in sewer systems. Extreme weather (very wet, very dry) will drive these roaches indoors.

Are American roaches dangerous or destructive?

Yes, and no.  The damage that American roaches inflict on humans is mostly emotional.  These large flying roaches seem to put fear in the hearts of most Floridians.  However, they can be a health danger.  They tend to frequent filthy places like sewers and garbage cans where they pick up pathogens and germs that hitch a ride into your home. Some of the more common disease-causing bacteria that American roaches can bring into your home include Salmonella, E. coli, and Streptococcus. 

Australian Cockroaches

Australian Cockroach

What do Australian roaches look like?

Australian roaches are often mistaken for a smaller (1-1/4”) American roach.  The major distinctive difference is that these roaches have a yellow circular band around the edge of the top of their head that is surrounding a black spot.

When are Australian roaches most active?

Like many roaches, Australian roaches are nocturnal.  They come out at night to hunt for food and water and during the day the hide away in dark, moist areas. 

What attracts Australian roaches?

Australian roaches are attracted to light sources and moisture rich areas.

Where are you likely to find Australian roaches?

These roaches prefer to be outside.  If they are indoors, it is because they have accidently been brought in by the homeowner: cardboard box, potted plant. Outdoors, they are usually found:

  • Under tree bark
  • In piles of firewood and mulch
  • In gardening beds
  • Under rocks

Are Australian roaches dangerous or destructive?

Australian roaches are both dangerous and destructive.  Once an Australia roach is indoors, they have been known to eat holes in clothing and feed upon household items like book covers, making them quite destructive.  And, in true roach fashion, these creatures come in contact with some nasty germs and disease-causing pathogens in their travels through sewers and trash, which they then so generously leave on your counters, in your pantry and all over your home. This puts Australian roaches in the ‘danger column’ for health risk.

Brown-banded Cockroaches

Brown-banded Cockroach

What do brown-banded roaches look like?

The brown-banded roach is a small, 1/2” long, oval-shaped brown roach that has two lighter bands of brown across its body.  Males have a full set of wings that reach out beyond their abdomen and females have a set of smaller underdeveloped wings. 

 When are brown-banded roaches most active?

Brown-banded roaches are most active at night but have been seen wandering around during the day in search of food when necessary.

What attracts brown-banded roaches?

These roaches are a bit different than most of the other roaches in Florida, where in they prefer a drier environment.  They still tend to inhabit areas that are warm (70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit) but are also much drier than the places other roaches inhabit. 

Where are you likely to find brown-banded roaches?

The brown-banded roach is mostly found congregating on ceilings, around appliance motors and in attics.  These smaller roaches can also be found under furniture.

Are brown-banded roaches dangerous or destructive?

Brown-banded roaches are opportunistic feeders and will eat household materials like book bindings and wallpaper glue which can be extremely destructive in certain environments.  They also pick up germs on the spines of their legs and deposit them elsewhere bringing diseases and viruses indoors wherever they may travel.

Asian Cockroaches

Asian Cockroach

What do Asian roaches look like?

Asian roaches are similar to the German roach and the two are often mistaken for one another.  Asian roaches are usually 5/8” to 1”, brown, and have long, narrow wings that extend beyond the tip of their abdomen.  These wings enable them to be strong and agile flyers both indoors and out. They also have a groove on the segment of their abdomen that is a different shape than that of a German roach.

When are Asian roaches most active?

Asian roach populations usually hit their peak in the spring and summer months.  On a daily basis, these roaches are most active at night.

What attracts Asian roaches?

These roaches are very attracted to light and even though they are omnivores, they prefer to seek out plant materials such as aphid honeydew and flowers. Asian roaches fly readily and are attracted to light.

Where are you likely to find Asian roaches?

Asian roaches seem to prefer to be outdoors.  They are commonly found in shaded, moist areas.

Are Asian roaches dangerous or destructive?

Asian roaches are a typical roach when it comes to being dangerous and destructive.  They regularly visit areas of great germ potential like garbage dumps and sewers, where they pick up germs on their bodies and then transport them to places where people, live, eat and prepare food.  This habit of roaches causes them to be of a great health concern.  They are also destructive in their habits of leaving their waste behind them on your food and possessions. 

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