American cockroach against a white background - Keep cockroaches out of your home with Kona Coast Pest Control in Kailua Kona

American Cockroach

Actual Size: 2.1”

Characteristics: Brown to reddish-brown; winged.

Legs: 6

Wings: Yes, adults have wings and can fly.

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Typically live outside but can be found in sewers and drains across the Northern United States and in shady garden areas and yards in southern states


  • Both sexes are capable of flight.
  • Biggest cockroach found in homes.
  • Likes alcoholic beverages, especially beer.

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American Cockroaches in Kailua Kona

The American cockroach is known by many names, such as water bug or palmetto bug. It is the largest home-invading cockroach, reaching up to 2 1⁄8 inches long with fully developed reddish-brown wings. Contrary to its name, the American cockroach is not native to North America and likely arrived via ships from Africa. It can be found throughout the United States and is the second most common cockroach, second only to the German cockroach. An adult has a lifespan of up to one year, and an adult female can produce an average of 150 offspring.

American Cockroach Habitat

In its natural habitat, the American cockroach can be found in bat caves and hollow trees. It commonly inhabits sewers, storm drainage systems, prisons, factories, hospitals, and hotels in urban environments. They are omnivorous, opportunistic feeders and will eat decaying organic matter but are also scavengers that will consume almost anything. They prefer sweets but have been known to eat various items such as paper, pet food, soap, hair, fruit, book bindings, cardboard boxes, cloth, and dead insects. Thriving in warm, damp conditions, they are often found outdoors around drains, garbage bins, trees, and woodpiles. When these cockroaches invade homes in search of food, they tend to nest in damp areas like basements, garages, kitchens, and bathrooms.

American Cockroach Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

While American cockroaches have the capacity to bite, it is uncommon. They are considered hazardous pests as these cockroaches breed and feed in unsanitary areas near humans, such as garbage storage, sewage systems, and septic tanks. They emit a distinctive odor and can contaminate human foods and surfaces with their feces and body parts. Foraging cockroaches can carry diseases, depositing germs or bacteria in areas they frequent and triggering asthma attacks in individuals sensitive to cockroach allergens.

If you suspect an American cockroach infestation, contact a professional cockroach exterminator.