How to Identify the Different Types of Cockroaches

‘There’s more than one type of cockroach?!’ shrieked one of our Caloundra Pest Control customers after discovering that two different types of cockroaches were crawling through her kitchen. To make matters worse, Australia has over 400 native species of cockroaches! But don’t be too disturbed by this figure, as there are only 6 species that are the most common encountered household cockroaches in Australia.


Certain species of cockroaches have co-inhabited with humans in many areas such as homes, ships, food production & storage facilities. These common household cockroaches were introduced into Australia over the last 200 years and are the most commonly encountered household pests in Australia.

6 Most Common Types Of Australian Cockroaches

To help you identify these different types of cockroaches in your home, we’ve displayed them below in all their beauty… (or not).

Australian Cockroach Identification Chart

Australian Cockroach

Scientific Name: Periplaneta australasiae

What do australian cockroaches look like? The australian cockroach is brown with a yellow line around its head and is often confused with the american cockroach. However, this australian cockroach is smaller with a body length between 23-35 mm long.

Where will I find australian cockroaches in my home? This cockroach is nocturnal and will usually spend its day hiding in dark corners, under doors, and in cracks and crevices. It prefers damp and moist climates like the perimeter of your home or in areas where there is access to water (i.e. sinks, drains etc).

What are the signs of an australian cockroach infestation? The most common indicator of an australian cockroach infestation are signs of nymph, adult, or egg cases in your home.

What are the risks of an australian cockroach infestation? These cockroaches have the ability to spread bacteria (such as salmonella and e.coli) everywhere they rome. Their debris and faeces can also trigger allergies and asthma.


Oriental Cockroach

Scientific Name: Blatta orientalis

What do oriental cockroaches look like? The oriental cockroach is dark brown to black in colour and between 20-25 mm in length. Females tend to grow up to 5 mm larger than males but have no wings, while the males are smaller and have wings that cover almost their entire abdomen.

Where will I find oriental cockroaches in my home? These cockroaches prefer damp, dark, and covered areas. They can often be found in and around your pipes and drains because of the abundant source of water. If you have leaky pipes, contact us right away! There’s a good chance you’re dealing with a cockroach infestation!

What are the signs of an oriental cockroach infestation? The most important sign of an oriental cockroach infestation is if you’ve seen one! If you haven’t seen one yourself, watch for egg cases in sheltered parts of your home and a distinct musty odour. The larger the colony the worse they can smell!

What are the risks of an oriental cockroach infestation? These cockroaches prefer areas where they can snack on garbage and other decaying organic matter. Crawling around garbage means they carry all of this bacteria (e.coli and salmonella) around with them where they travel. They transmit these diseases and pathogens onto food and clean surfaces around your home.


German Cockroach

cientific Name: Blatella germanica

What do german cockroaches look like? German cockroaches are tan or light brown with two distinct dark brown lines running along the edge of their body. They are smaller than the other 6 types of cockroaches, only growing between 13-16 mm in length. These cockroaches are much faster and smaller than the other 6 types, making them harder to detect.

Where will I find german cockroaches in my home? These cockroaches like dark and humid spaces like kitchen and bathroom drains, crevices, and air ducts. They are food scavengers so it’s also common to find them in places where food is stored like cupboards.

What are the signs of a german cockroach infestation? The most common signs of an infestation are droppings (small, dark spots or smears), egg capsules, and a musty odour — the more cockroaches they are, the worse the smell!

What are the risks of a german cockroach infestation? German cockroaches can spread bacteria and trigger allergies and asthma, but they also have the ability to contaminate and infect food with an odorous body discharge — gross!


American Cockroach

Scientific Name: Periplaneta americana

What do american cockroaches look like? Hold onto your hats for this one, american cockroaches are the largest of the 6, growing up to 53 mm long! They’re reddish brown with a light yellow band behind their head.

Where will I find american cockroaches in my home? These cockroaches prefer warm, dark, and humid spaces but will survive in dry areas if they have access to water. They prefer basements, bathrooms, crawl spaces, kitchens, laundry rooms, cracks and crevices. It’s common for them to migrate outside when the weather is warm and back inside when it gets cool.

What are the signs of an american cockroach infestation? The first possible sign of an american cockroach infestation is a sighting. These cockroaches are very active, fast, and may even fly! More signs include reddish to dark brown egg capsules, droppings, and a musty odour. The odour isn’t even the worst part, the worst part is that these cockroaches use the odour as a reason to stay together in large groups.

What are the risks of an american cockroach infestation? Similar to the australian cockroach, they can carry bacteria such as salmonella and e.coli and trigger allergies and asthma. If they infest in large enough numbers they give off an odour.


Brown Banded Cockroach

Scientific Name: Supella longipalpa

What do brown banded cockroaches look like? Brown banded cockroaches are the smallest of the 6 mentioned, only growing between 11 to 14.5 mm long. These invasive roaches have a light to dark brown body with lighter tan or transparent wings that stretch across their body. The females’ wings will only stretch about half way down their abdomen.

Where will I find brown banded cockroaches in my home? These roaches are primarily nocturnal and love to be dry and warm. They usually enter homes for shelter. They prefer areas with easy access to food and lots of hiding places like pantries, closets, and believe it or not, electronics!

What are the signs of a brown banded cockroach infestation? These cockroaches are more active at night but a sighting during the day is possible, which means you’ve got cockroaches! Dark brown faecal spots or smears in and around where they like to hang out are another sign of infestation. The last sign of infestation is tan coloured egg capsules found dislodged between cracks and crevices.

What are the risks of a brown banded cockroach infestation? They’re known to carry harmful bacteria that can cause diarrhea, gastroenteritis, and trigger allergies and asthma. The bacteria can be transferred to food and preparation surfaces which can lead to food poisoning and dysentery.


Smoky Brown Cockroach

Scientific Name: Periplaneta fuliginosa

What do smoky brown cockroaches look like? Smoky brown cockroaches are, you guessed it, smoky brown! We’d describe it as a rich and shiny mahogany. They’re quite large, growing between 35-38 mm in length with wings that extend well beyond their bodies.

Where will I find smoky brown cockroaches in my home? Well, we could say they simply crawl inside through cracks and crevices, but these nasty roaches also fly! Yes, they fly. They’re night owls and are usually found outside in sheltered and warm, humid climates, but will make their way inside in search of food.

What are the signs of a smoky brown cockroach infestation? The first sign of an infestation is a sighting. Faecal matter is another sign of infestation along with dark brown egg capsules near where the cockroaches frequent.

What are the risks of a smoky brown cockroach infestation? It’s common to find faecal matter around an infestation of smoky brown cockroaches. Like the other roaches mentioned, they also spread bacteria that cause serious illness and fright — remember they fly!


How To Prevent Cockroaches In Your Home

The most common and obvious solution to prevent cockroaches from invading your home is to have regular professional pest control services. However, we also have some wise tips to keep them at bay for longer:

  1. Avoid dampness within your property by repairing leaks, leaky pipes, drainage and quickly cleaning up spills.
  2. Maintain a clean and tidy internal & external environment around your home by clearing general clutter like boxes and newspapers.
  3. Seal any cracks and crevices in walls and floors to eliminate potential cockroach hiding places.

Fun Facts About Those Dirty Little Cockroaches:

  • A cockroach can live a month without food, but only a week without water.
  • A cockroach can live for a week without a head. It dies after a week due to lack of water.
  • Cockroaches are omnivores, so they can eat just about anything!
  • A cockroach can hold its breath for up to 40 minutes.
  • Cockroaches will even live in the walls of a clean dwelling, however they will maintain larger colonies in a less clean environment due to a bigger available food supply.

Why Are Cockroaches So Hard To Kill?

Cockroaches are hard to kill because they are seriously honed for survival! Cockroaches can survive a nuclear explosion, and were one of the first life forms found after Hiroshima. No pesticide can penetrate the egg sack, and one egg sack can contain up to 40 young. That is why the only way to successfully eradicate cockroaches from a home is regular pest treatments.

How To Get Rid Of Cockroaches

If you have seen a cockroach in your home or place of work, odds are there are many more hiding out of site. For professional assistance, call our team of pest control experts at Bundilla Pest Control to help you get rid of cockroaches!

Questions? Call us today!

(07) 5475 4660

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