The American cockroach can grow to as large as 1-½ inches long and is by far the largest cockroach infesting homes and buildings.
The American cockroach is reddish brown in color and often has yellow markings around the prothorax, which is the shield on the front it its body.
American cockroaches usually live outdoors, but often live in human structures and are frequently found in restaurants and grocery stores or anywhere food is prepared and stored. In residential and commercial buildings, American cockroaches infest basements, bathrooms, crawlspaces and landscaping areas. They prefer warm, moist environments but can live in dry areas if water is accessible. Although adults have fully developed wings, and are capable of some flight, they are awkward fliers and prefer to run away very quickly when disturbed. Infestations often overtake storm drains and cockroaches use manhole covers to escape under cover of darkness to search for food in nearby buildings.
American cockroaches feed on a wide variety of materials including human hair, fingernails and toenails. They also feed on things like cosmetics, beer, potted plant shoots, wallpaper paste, soap, postage stamps, and fermenting fruit.
Females produce an egg case three to seven days after mating which protrudes from the tip of their abdomen. The egg case is soon deposited in a hidden location and glued to a surface with the female's saliva. Each female produces ten egg capsules containing an average of 15 eggs per capsule. In warm conditions, these egg capsules take approximately 45 days to hatch. It then takes six to twelve months for them to mature and become reproductive. An adult female will produce six to fourteen egg cases during her lifetime.
American cockroaches contaminate just about anything they touch with their feces and body parts. They also emit a strong and very unpleasant odor, which can be transferred to items, they crawl across while looking for their next meal. Some members of this species carry bacteria on and in their bodies, which can contaminate food and other items. American cockroaches also produce allergens in their fecal material, which may contribute to allergic dermatitis and childhood asthma.
When dealing with any roach infestation, proper identification is key.