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7 Types of Cockroaches in Florida (With Pictures)

german cockroach on a rock

The southern United States is known for having a large number of cockroaches. There are cockroaches outside that feast on the plentiful amounts of plant material in Florida. Then there are the roaches that migrate inside and infest homes and apartments. Florida is known for having pests that live inside and scare people. Everyone hates cockroaches, and no one wants an infestation. One of the best ways to prevent and mitigate indoor infestations is to know the differences between the most common types of cockroaches in Florida.

Here are seven types of Florida cockroaches and their types, as well as tips on how to remove them if you find any roaches inside.

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The 7 Types of Cockroaches in Florida

1. American Cockroach

american cockroach
Image Credit: guentermanaus, Shutterstock
Scientific name: Periplaneta americana
Size: Large
Type: Outdoor

American cockroaches are one of the largest and most common roaches in Florida. These large bugs are often called palmetto bugs, but the real palmetto bug is the Florida woods roach. These roaches can often be seen scurrying out from under-yard waste. American cockroaches can grow up to two inches or larger in size and can live for multiple years, making them one of the longest-living roaches in Florida. American cockroaches are outdoor roaches and like to live in dark and damp places, including sewers and soft, moist earth. These roaches are a dark reddish brown with a lighter yellowish border. American cockroaches have wings and can glide for short periods of time. When these bugs extend their wings, they look absolutely massive, especially compared to smaller species of cockroach.

2. German Cockroach

German Cockroach
Image Credit: Brett Hondow, Pixabay
Scientific name: Blattella germanica
Size: Small
Type: Indoor

If you have ever switched on your kitchen light and have seen small cockroaches staring back at you from your kitchen counter, you could have a German cockroach infestation. These small roaches are usually a light brown or tan color, and they infest homes around the world. These roaches make a mission of moving into your house and living inside your walls. You can often find these cockroaches living in areas where there is available food and water, such as sinks, dishwashers, and trash cans. You can identify these bugs by their light color, small size, and numbers. There are usually numerous German cockroaches in one area.

3. Florida Woods Roach

Florida Woods Cockroach
Image Credit: Christine Mire & Becker, Rawpixel
Scientific name: Eurycotis floridana
Size: Large
Type: Outdoor

The Florida woods roach is a large flat species of outdoor cockroach. These roaches are dark in color and primarily feed on decomposing wood. They can often be spotted outside in forests around rotten logs and old trees. These roaches never cause an indoor infestation, but they might sneak inside via windows and doors. Florida woods roaches are also known as palmetto bugs. They can be identified by their large size and unique shape. If you spot these roaches indoors, you can simply put them back outside. There is nothing to eat inside for them unless you have decomposing wood or paper in your house. When spooked, these bugs will spray a glob of foul-smelling liquid to ward off predators.

4. Smokybrown Cockroach

Smokybrown cockroach
Image Credit: eye-blink, Shutterstock
Scientific name: Periplaneta fuliginosa
Size: Medium
Type: Indoor-Outdoor

Many cockroaches have wings, but few cockroaches regularly use their wings to fly. Smokybrown cockroaches are prolific fliers. They fly all the time, and they can be found buzzing around lights at night, along with the moths and mosquitoes. These roaches will often fly into homes via windows that are lit up at night. Once inside, these roaches can make themselves at home, and they can fly to upper and hard-to-reach places in a house. Smokybrown cockroaches often make themselves at home in attics and vents. They will live in an attic and fly out at night to eat and buzz around lights. If you suspect you have an infestation of smokybrown cockroaches, the attic should be the first place you check.

5. Brown-banded Cockroach

brown banded cockroach on an empty egg crate
Image By: Freedom my wing, Shutterstock
Scientific name: Supella longipalpa
Size: Small
Type: Indoor

Brown-banded cockroaches are similar to German cockroaches. They are small and have striped brown and tan coloring. These cockroaches originated in Europe but are now found throughout the United States. The brown-banded cockroach can live in homes with less water than German cockroaches, which also makes them a big problem for infestations. Since these roaches do not need as much food and water to live as other roaches, they can make their nests in any room. Where German cockroaches are generally found in and around the kitchen, these roaches can nest almost anywhere inside a home. If you spot small, brown-banded cockroaches around your home, you should take strong mitigation measures immediately to try and prevent a full-blown infestation.

6. Asian Cockroach

Asian Cockroach
Image By: S.Narongrit99, Shutterstock
Scientific name: Blattella asahinai
Size: Small
Type: Outdoor

Asian cockroaches are small roaches that are nearly identical to German cockroaches. In fact, many people refer to these cockroaches as flying German cockroaches. Luckily, unlike German cockroaches, these roaches prefer to live outside. They might fly inside because they are attracted to lights, but they will not survive for long indoors, meaning they won’t stick around. Infestations of Asian cockroaches are rare, but they can be frequently found flying around outdoor lights at night. Asian cockroaches get their name because they originated in Asia. However, they have spread throughout the southern United States and are now prevalent in Florida as well as other southwestern states.

7. Australian Cockroach

australian cockroach on the ground
Image By: Douglas Cliff, Shutterstock
Scientific name: Periplaneta australasiae
Size: Medium
Type: Outdoor

Australian cockroaches are similar to American cockroaches, but these bugs are smaller and darker in color. Australian cockroaches primarily like to live in dark and humid areas like greenhouses, pipes, toilets, and drains. These cockroaches do not like to live inside, but they will, on occasion, move into a home. Inside, these bugs like to eat moist starchy foods like potatoes and wet food scraps. Outside, they primarily live in piles of dead leaves and bark. These roaches have yellow markings on their heads, and they sport small wings. These roaches are not as common as American, German, or Florida woods roaches.

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Indoor vs. Outdoor Cockroaches

Cockroaches are either indoor or outdoor. Indoor cockroaches want to live inside. They will make it their goal to make your home their home. They move in, eat your food, and live in your walls. Indoor cockroaches are a pain because they can be nearly impossible to dislodge once they get established.

Outdoor cockroaches do not want to live inside. Outdoor cockroaches are often larger and only come inside by accident. Most outdoor cockroaches eat decomposing plants and like to live under rocks and logs, not in your kitchen. Outdoor cockroaches do not thrive indoors and will actually die if they are stuck inside for too long. Outdoor cockroaches are much easier to deal with because they do not want to be in your house in the first place.

German Cockroach
Image By: Erik Karits, Pixabay

How to Get Rid of Indoor Cockroaches

Indoor cockroaches can be extremely difficult to get rid of. The easiest solution is to clean vigorously and remove any sources of food that could be attracting the cockroaches. If you catch an infestation early, it is possible to clean and use roach traps to eliminate the problem before it gets too bad. If the infestation progresses to a larger colony, you might need to enlist the help of a professional.

Indoor cockroaches are extremely versatile. They can live in the walls and multiply out of sight. You might have a large infestation without even knowing it. Unseen cockroaches can rapidly multiply and become too numerous to take care of on your own. A professional exterminator will be able to assess the infestation and suggest a plan of action that is the most effective for your home.

How to Get Rid of Outdoor Cockroaches

Outdoor cockroaches want to live outdoors. When you find outdoor cockroaches in your house, they don’t want to be in there. Outdoor cockroaches do not thrive inside. Typically to get rid of outdoor cockroaches, you simply have to pick them up and put them outside. Unlike indoor cockroaches, if you find one or two outdoor cockroaches inside, there likely aren’t any more lurking about.

You can also protect your home using a bug block. There are sprays that you can use around your doors and windows that sicken and kill bugs when they try to get inside. If you use a bug blocker around your home, when the cockroaches attempt to come in from outside, they will pass the toxic barrier and die.

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Roaches are a fact of life in Florida. The warm climate makes them very abundant. Cockroaches are common in homes, apartments, and businesses across the state. With this information, you will be able to tell better which cockroaches are simply lost and which ones are trying to cause a major infestation inside your home. Cockroaches are not all the same, and many of them have very different behaviors and quirks. Knowing the difference between a German cockroach and a palmetto bug can be very important in Florida.

Featured Image Credit: Lukas Juhas, Unsplash


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