Encounters with roaches, especially sewer roaches, occur when the weather becomes very extreme in the Southwest. If the hot dry months really become extreme with many days over 100F, you’ll begin seeing them indoors.
Sealing holes around plumbing fixtures, using sticky traps, baits, and practicing general cleanliness in the kitchen can usually be relied on the keep these pest in check.
Source: Insects of the Southwest
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American cockroach adults are 1 and 1/2 inches long and are reddish brown and have a yellowish margin on the body region behind the head. When disturbed, may run rapidly and adults may fly. Immature cockroaches resemble adults except that they are wingless.
American cockroaches generally live in moist areas, but can survive in dry areas if they have access to water. They prefer warm temperatures around 84 degrees Fahrenheit and do not tolerate cold temperatures. In residential areas, these cockroaches live in basements and sewers, and may move outdoors into yards during warm weather. They feed on a wide variety of plant and animal material.
Females produce egg cases and carry them protruding from the tip of the abdomen for about two days. Egg cases are then generally placed on a surface in a hidden location. Egg cases are 3/8 inch long, brown, and purse shaped. Immature cockroaches emerge from egg cases in 6 to 8 weeks and require 6 to 12 months to mature. Adult cockroaches can live up to one year.
Periplaneta australasiea (fabricius)
The Australian cockroach closely resembles the American cockroach , but can be separated from it by its slightly smaller size , about 1 1/4 to 1 3/8 inches long and the wings of both sexes cover the abdomen. The Australian cockroach life cycle requires about one year from egg to adult. This world-wide species has become established in the southern U.S. and in many greenhouses. In the United States, it is most abundant in Florida and the coastal southern states, and in California it ranges as far north as San Francisco.
It lives outdoors around the perimeter of houses and is the most prevalent cockroach outdoors in south Florida. Australian cockroaches are prevalent in leaf litter, in and around shrubs, flowers and trees, tree holes, wood piles, garages, crawl spaces, attics, and greenhouses. It is a pest when it enters homes where it may eat holes in clothing and feed upon book covers. It is apparently more vegetarian than the other cockroaches.
Periplaneta Brunnea Burmeister
The Brown cockroach is often mistaken for an American cockroach. The adult is reddish-brown, but is somewhat darker in color. It is 1¼-1½ inch long. The Brown cockroach was first reported in the United States in 1907 in Illinois, but is well established in numerous states throughout the Southeast. While its distribution has grown, it is still confined to the southeastern states. The Brown cockroach occurs mainly outdoors, under the bark of trees and in sewers.
Supella longipalpa (fabricius)
The adults are rather small cockroaches about 5/8 inch long. The adult male is slender in appearance with its wings extending beyond the tip of the abdomen. Adult females have shorter wings that expose a considerable portion of their broad abdomens. They have two light yellow or cream-colored bands across their backs. These bands tend to be hidden by the wings in the adults. The life cycle of the brown-banded cockroach takes from 95-276 days, with an average of 161 days. It prefers temperatures over 80°F; temperatures below 75°F retard its development. The egg capsule is yellowish or reddish/brown in color and is 3/16 inches in length. The female carries the egg capsule for 24 to 36 hours and then attaches it to some object. Egg capsules may be glued to desks, tables and other furniture, and even in bedding. This habit of hiding capsules in furniture probably accounts for its spread. Brown-banded cockroaches are abundant in the southern, midwest, and northeastern states. They are mainly a temperate pest thriving in heated buildings despite cold winters. Brown-banded cockroaches are found in homes, apartments, hotels, and hospitals. They are less frequently found in stores restaurants and kitchens. They are frequently transported in furniture and will spread rapidly through an entire building. Brown-banded cockroaches are generally found on ceilings, high on walls, behind picture frames, and near motors of refrigerators and other appliances. They are also found in light switches, closets and furniture. These cockroaches dislike light and are not normally seen during the day.
Blatella Germanica L.
German cockroaches infest homes, restaurants, food plants, hospitals, ships, retail stores, hotels, warehouses, office buildings, city dumps, and any other environment that meet their needs for warmth, moisture and food.
Adults are pale or yellowish brown, measure 1/2 to 5/8 inch in length, and have 2 dark parallel stripes on the pronotum. The wings of the female cover the entire abdomen; in the male the abdominal tip protrudes slightly. Males are also thinner and less robust looking than females. Nymphs are similar to adults but wingless. Running halfway down the back is a single light stripe separating 2 dark bands. Egg capsules are brown, and held by the female until just before the nymphs hatch. Adults usually live for over 6 months and females can produce 4-8 egg capsules in their lifetime. With this reproductive ability, it is theoretically possible for one fertile egg capsule to result in a population of nearly 2 million German cockroaches in 12 months, and 86 billion in 2 years. German cockroaches avoid light and prefer a warm, moist environment. During the day they prefer to hide in protected cracks and crevices, such as under kitchen appliances, sinks, cabinets, behind baseboards and moldings, in wall voids, pantries and similar areas in the home and in restaurants.
Blatta Orientalis Linnaeus
Oriental Cockroaches can be found in buildings, especially damp basements and ground level storage areas. They can be found in decaying organic matter indoors and out. These cockroaches may also be found in yards, under leaves, in dumps, crawl spaces and in flower bed mulch.
Oriental cockroach females can produce 8 egg capsules in a lifetime. Each egg capsule is about 3/8 of an inch long and red-brown to black in colour. Each egg capsule contains 16 eggs and will hatch in about 60 days under room conditions. Females deposit egg capsules about 30 hours after being produced and hide them in secluded locations. After the nymphs emerge, they will go through 10 molts before becomming adults. There is one generation a year which takes about 500 days to complete at room temperature.
Smoky Brown Cockroach
Periplaneta Fuliginosa (Serville)
The smoky brown cockroach is closely related to the American cockroach , but is a uniform shiny, dark-brown or mahogany color. It is about 1 1/4 to 1 3/8 inches long and the wings of both sexes cover the abdomen. The female has a broader abdomen than the male. The smoky brown cockroach has become a major pest in many parts of the U.S., especially in the moist Gulf states and southern and eastern portions of the Mississippi valley drainage pattern. The smokybrown cockroach was reported in Florida 150 years ago. Smoky brown cockroaches are prevalent in leaf litter, in and around shrubs, flowers and trees, tree holes, wood piles, garages, crawl spaces, attics, and greenhouses. It has also been found on roofs and in rain gutters feeding on bird droppings and plant materials. Smokybrown cockroaches can also survive in sewers. Adults live 2-6 months and are strong fliers attracted to lights at night.
Blatta Lateralis (Walker)
The common name comes from its having been collected in the Asian province of Turkestan. Its distribution is Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, India, the Soviet Central Asia, Kashmir, Afghanistan, and the United States. In the United States it is established in San Joaqnin, California , El Paso, Texas, and Maricopa and Pima county, Arizona. This species was introduced into California and Texas with the household goods of military personnel when they returned from the Middle East. Little is known about this species, but its biology is reported to be similar to that of the oriental cockroach. Adult males about 1/2-7/8″ long whereas, females about 3/4-1″long. Male with wings brownish yellow, female body dark brown to black.
The Turkestan cockroach is a desert species which also inhabits semi-desert locations and sometimes lives under moist conditions. It is found both outdoors and inside structures. This species is common in sewer systems.
The Wood cockroach is a light tan to chestnut-brown color with the thorax and wing pads edged in white. Adult males have well developed wings and fly quite well. The females have conspicuous wing-pads and look similar to oriental cockroaches. The male is 1 inch (25 mm) and female is inch (19 mm) in length. The two sexes differ so greatly in appearance that they once were described as two species. Wood cockroaches are widely distributed in the eastern, southern, and midwestern states, up into Canada and are commonly found in hollow trees, under loose bark, and around wood piles and in crevices of rural buildings. The life cycle usually takes one year but may take as long as two years. The nymphs hatch in summer and mature the following May or June. Wood cockroaches survive the winter as a partially grown nymph under bark of trees. Wood cockroaches commonly invade houses surrounded by or near woods. The males are capable of long flights, while the females may migrate some distance by crawling.