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10 Types of Cockroaches in Alabama (With Pictures)

german cockroach

Thanks to Alabama’s year-round mild and moist climate, the species that call this state home are numerous. In fact, Alabama ranks 4th in the United States in plant and animal diversity, including over 1,000 species of insects.

Unfortunately, not all of these insects are welcome. One of the pests that no one wants to see is the cockroach. If you live in Alabama and see one in or around your home, you may wonder what type it is and whether you should be concerned. In this article, we’ll take a look at 10 types of cockroaches found in Alabama.

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The 10 Types of Cockroaches in Alabama

1. German Cockroach

German Cockroach
Image By: Brett Hondow, Pixabay
Scientific name: Blattella germanica
Size: 0.5-0.6 inches

Despite the name, the German cockroach doesn’t come from Germany, but is actually from China. They are tan to light brown in color and have two dark stripes on their head. German roaches hate cold weather, which is why you can find them in Alabama year-round, living both inside and outside the home. You’ll likely find more of them inside homes, restaurants, hotels, etc., during the winter as they move indoors for warmth and to find food sources. Unfortunately, once they move in, German Cockroaches can cause infestations quickly, so it’s important to have them taken care of quickly by a pest control specialist.

2. American Cockroach

american cockroach
Image Credit: guentermanaus, Shutterstock
Scientific name: Periplaneta americana
Size: 1.4-1.6 inches

The American cockroach is one of the larger cockroach species in Alabama. They are actually not from America at all, but were brought over from African and Middle Eastern countries on ships, so they are sometimes called ship cockroaches. They are reddish brown in color, with paler necks that have two dark blotches in the center. American roaches are very fast runners and although they have wings, they can’t fly that well. They’re active year-round and love locations that are moist. They may be found inside bathrooms and kitchens in your home, but are more commonly found in restaurants, warehouses, supermarkets, and other commercial locations where there is a lot of moisture.

3. Oriental Cockroach

oriental cockroach
Image Credit: Furiarossa, Shutterstock
Scientific name: Blatta orientalis
Size: 1 inch

The origins of the Oriental cockroach are unclear. But, these cockroaches are dark reddish-brown to almost black in color. They’re sometimes called waterbugs because they like to live in places that are dark, damp, and moist. You can find these roaches both outdoors and indoors. Outdoors, you can find them under leaf litter, mulch, wood piles, and other areas with decaying plant matter. Indoors, you can find them in basements, especially around sump pumps, and also around drains and porches. These roaches often emit a bad odor and are very dirty. They can easily cause infestations in homes, so this is another species that you want to get taken care of as soon as possible.

4. Brown-banded Cockroach

brown banded cockroach on an empty egg crate
Image Credit: Freedom my wing, Shutterstock
Scientific name: Supella longipalpa
Size: 0.5 inches

This is one of the smallest types of cockroaches in Alabama. They are light brown in color and have two cream-colored bands across their abdomen. These roaches will infest homes, but it’s rare to see them in the daytime. They prefer dark places and will scatter when exposed to light. They also don’t need as much moisture to survive as other roaches do, so you’ll find them in places that other roaches don’t tend to occupy. They love the warmth and darkness that appliances provide and may live inside them. They may also prefer to hide in dark places in bedrooms and closets. They’ll also eat things such as paper, cardboard, and even human food.

5. Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach

Pennsylvania wood cockroach
Image Credit: Melinda Fawver, Shutterstock
Scientific name: Parcoblatta pensylvanica
Size: 1 inch

Pennsylvania wood cockroaches are one of the larger cockroach species in Alabama and are dark brown in color. Although you don’t want to see any cockroach in your house, if you do see one, this is the one you’ll want to see. That’s because these roaches much prefer to live outside and rarely cause infestations. They don’t like other roaches and prefer to feed on rotting wood and decaying plant matter. They also prefer cooler temperatures, so inside a home doesn’t provide a conducive environment for them. If you do find one in your home, it likely entered by accident or came in on firewood. You can easily capture it and put it back outside where it belongs.

6. Australian Cockroach

australian cockroach on the ground
Image Credit: Douglas Cliff, Shutterstock
Scientific name: Periplaneta australasiae
Size: 0.9-1.4 inches

Australian cockroaches originated from Africa, but were brought to the US on ships. These roaches are mostly brown and have a cream-colored neck area with a dark brown spot in the middle. They prefer warm climates, and in the US, they are only found in the southeast states, which includes Alabama. They don’t typically live inside but may find their way inside your home when it gets cold outside. However, they don’t like dry conditions and tend to stay around the outside perimeter of your home. They are primarily scavengers but they also feed on decaying plant matter. This is also one of the only cockroach species in Alabama that actually uses their wings to fly.

7. Surinam Cockroach

Surinam cockroach
Image Credit: Elliotte Rusty Harold, Shutterstock
Scientific name: Pycnoscelus surinamensis
Size: 1 inch

Surinam cockroaches prefer warm climates and are found in the Southeast and Southwest US, including Alabama. They have a dark brown body and a black head. They like to live in gardens and other areas with loose, moist soil. Even so, you don’t necessarily want to have them around because they can heavily destroy plants. Surinam cockroaches are sometimes called greenhouse cockroaches because they can be found in the soil of potted plants. You want to be careful when bringing potted plants into your home, which is the most common way that these roaches find their way inside.

8. Smoky Brown Cockroach

Smokybrown cockroach
Image Credit: eye-blink, Shutterstock
Scientific name: Periplaneta fuliginosa
Size: 1.3-1.4 inches

Smoky brown cockroaches are another one of the larger cockroach species found in Alabama. They are dark brown to reddish brown over their entire bodies and have large wings. Smoky brown roaches prefer to live outdoors in leaf piles and also around drains because they primarily feed on the decaying plant matter and also need a lot of moisture. They don’t like the cold, so they may venture indoors during the colder months in search of warmth and food, which they will scavenge if there is no plant matter to be found.

9. Asian Cockroach

Asian Cockroach
Image Credit: S.Narongrit99, Shutterstock
Scientific name: Blattella asahinai
Size: 0.5-0.6 inches

Asian cockroaches are a smaller roach species that was first discovered in Japan, but they can also be found in southern states such as Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina, in addition to Alabama. They are lighter in color with two dark brown stripes on their neck area. They tend to live outdoors in mulch, leaf litter, and moist areas and form large groups in warm weather. It’s hard to keep these roaches out of the home because they are attracted to light, unlike other roach species, and can fly through doors. However, if they do enter your home, they usually don’t infest indoor areas. Asian roaches are omnivores and usually feed on crops as well as eat other insects that feed on crops.

10. Florida Woods Cockroach

Florida Woods Cockroach
Image Credit: Christine Mire & Becker, Rawpixel
Scientific name: Eurycotis floridana
Size: 1.2-1.6 inches

The final cockroach species that call Alabama home is the Florida woods cockroach. They live in coastal areas of South Alabama. In addition to Alabama, these roaches live in southern Georgia and Mississippi, and all over the state of Florida, but aren’t found anywhere else in the US. They’re dark brown to reddish brown in color, and are often found living on palmetto trees, earning them the nickname palmetto bug. They also live in dead trees, stumps, and woodpiles. They don’t tend to come inside, but if they do, they usually prefer the areas that aren’t used often because they don’t like to be disturbed. Be careful when removing one from your home, because they can spray a stinky substance up to 3 feet. They are also sometimes called stink roaches and skunk roaches.

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There are 10 species of roaches that live in Alabama, although most of them are not native to the state. Some of them live only outdoors, but there are others that can live indoors and infest your home or business. Roaches in Alabama are inevitable due to the climate, so being able to identify these roaches can help you learn which ones you should simply put back outside and which ones should call an exterminator to get rid of. After all, you don’t want to have an infestation on your hands.

Featured Image Credit: Erik Karits, Pixabay


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