It is important to know what cockroaches look like because they are a nuisance and can infest homes and businesses. Cockroaches are insects that can spread diseases. Thought of as dirty insects, and you want to be able to identify them for proper elimination. There are about 4,600 different species, but luckily in the US there are only five major species. Cockroaches can inhabit a variety of environmental temperatures, from cold to tropical heat. Here are some tips to identify roaches.
Cockroaches come in different sizes; from the size of a thumbnail up to about 40 mm long. They have a small head and a broad flat body that is an oval shape. The body is divided into three segments with the outer shell being tough to protect their organs. The body is coated with wax to repel water and will feel oily. Most roaches have a reddish-brown to dark brown color and the young roach is much lighter color and does not have wings.
Cockroaches may or may not have wings and not all that have wings use them to fly. They can have two sets of wings; one set is bigger and tougher that flatten against their body for protection and a smaller set that is more delicate for flying. Roaches have six legs, two attached to each segment of their body and the front legs shorter than the back legs. Each leg has tiny spines they use for climbing most any surface and each foot has little claws to help them climb walls and ceilings. The female cockroach tends to be larger than the male species and their young are similar in appearance with their lighter color.
The five most seen species are each a little different in size and color but have the same basic features. German roaches are tan and 13 to 16 mm long. Brown Branded roaches are a dark-reddish brown and 10 to 13 mm long. The American roach is reddish brown and at 40 mm is one of the longest species. The Pennsylvania wood roach is about 20 mm and the males are tan. Oriental roaches are dark brown to black in appearance, have a thinner body, are 30 to 40 mm long, and can grow much longer.
Roaches versus Beetles
Cockroaches vary in size and shape to a degree, and some may have an appearance close to the beetle. Beetles have smaller bodies than roaches, and their body is not flattened and much tougher than a cockroach’s. Beetles are pests that, unlike the cockroach, eat other insects and considered human-friendly.
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