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5 Types of Cockroaches in Massachusetts (With Pictures)

german cockroach

The world is teeming with bugs and insects in almost every region worldwide. These creepy crawlies often find their way into homes and offices, where they set up shop and begin multiplying.

Many insects infesting your property are likely to be harmless, but there are a few breeds that can cause damage to your home and spread disease. Some of these creepy crawlies include cockroaches. It’s estimated that more than 4,500 species of cockroaches exist worldwide. Thirty of these cockroach species raid human habitats.

Out of these, five species are found in Massachusetts. They harbor nasty disease pathogens that can spread diseases to humans through any surface they touch. Besides, cockroaches are unsightly.

So, you should know what cockroach species you’re dealing with if you live in Massachusetts. It simplifies the removal process and ensures your family remains unharmed throughout the ordeal. Here are the five common cockroach species in Massachusetts you should know.

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The 5 Types of Cockroaches in Massachusetts

1. American Cockroach

american cockroach
Image By: guentermanaus, Shutterstock
Color: Reddish-brown
Average Length: 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7 cm)
Can It Fly? Yes
Predators: Mammals, birds, and other insects

The American cockroach is one of the most common roaches in Massachusetts. They are typically reddish-brown or black, commonly found in basements, drains, and crawl spaces but may move into upper floors and other areas. They prefer warm locations with high humidity.

American cockroaches are nocturnal. They come out at night to feed on food scraps and other organic matter. They do not breed indoors but will travel through sewer lines and pipes to get into homes where they can live undetected. Then, they come out during summer.

American cockroaches don’t spread diseases. They produce fast, and the female can lay up to 50 eggs at a time. Controlling these roaches can be challenging because they can fly. The best method to control them is using traps or bait. Also, close any opening in your house where these roaches can get in. You should also maintain a high level of hygiene in your home to discourage them.

2. German Cockroach

german cockroach on a rock
Image By: Lukas Juhas, Unsplash
Color: Light brown
Average Length: 5 inches (1.3 cm)
Can It Fly? Yes
Predators: Toads, frogs, mice, beetles, spiders, and other insects

The German cockroach is the most common species in the United States. It’s approximately 1/2-inch long. This species usually lives in warm, humid environments, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.

German cockroach infestations are common in apartments, restaurants, and hospitals. They are also commonly found in schools, grocery stores, and other businesses where food is prepared or served.

These cockroaches come out at night. Females reproduce fast and carry their ootheca around until they hatch into nymphs. Their rapid reproduction makes it challenging to control them. Ensure your home is clean with no accessible food and water sources to prevent infestation. Also, seal any crevices close to food sources as they are their entry points.

3. Oriental Cockroach

oriental cockroach
Image By: Furiarossa, Shutterstock
Color: Dark brown or shiny black
Average Length: 25 inches (3 cm)
Can It Fly? No
Predators: Frogs, toads, and arachnids, such as spiders

Oriental cockroaches are common in Massachusetts, especially around Boston and other urban areas. They are often found around water sources like drains and sewers. Usually, they live outdoors, but they may come inside during warm weather or when food sources become scarce outside.

These cockroaches have larger wings than other species, but they don’t fly. Instead, they use the wings to glide from surface to surface. They prefer to hide under objects during the day and come out at night to feed. They’re an annoyance as they give off a foul smell, and they can cause diseases by contaminating food.

In case of Oriental cockroach infestation in your household, contact an expert to help you control them. The best preventive measure you can take is closing crevices and repairing leaks to discourage them from inhabiting your home.

4. Brown-Banded Cockroach

brown banded cockroach
Image Credit: Freedom my wing, Shutterstock
Color: Tan, dark, and light brown with bands
Average Length: 5 inches (1.3 cm)
Can It Fly? Yes
Predators: Birds, spiders, and other insects

This species is similar to the German cockroach but has brown bands on its wings instead of yellow stripes like the German cockroach does. They often prefer warmer temperatures than other species. They’ll avoid colder areas, such as basements unless there’s no other choice for them to live in during winter.

They love to hide in cracks and crevices during the day and come out at night to feed on food sources around the house.

Brown-banded cockroaches aren’t native to Massachusetts but are prevalent in the state. Females lay up to 40 eggs, which hatch after 60 days.

To control their infestation in your household, hire a pest control expert or use bait or traps to get rid of them. You can also prevent this infestation by keeping a high level of hygiene, and since food sources attract them, keep your foods in air-tight containers.

5. Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach

Pennsylvania wood cockroach
Image Credit: Melinda Fawver, Shutterstock
Color: Dark Brown with a cream trim
Average Length: 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm)
Can It Fly? Only males can fly
Predators: Birds, spiders, and other insects

The Pennsylvania wood cockroach is one of the largest roaches in North America. It’s dark brown or blackish and can grow up to 1.5 inches long. The Pennsylvania wood cockroach gets its name from where it was first spotted: in the state of Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania wood cockroach is found throughout the state. It prefers to live in moist, woody areas, such as basements and crawl spaces, dead plants, firewood, and compost. Usually, they feed on decaying organic matter.

You can only see these roaches during the night. Sometimes, they enter households looking for food. Female cockroaches lay up to 30 eggs at a time. Controlling Pennsylvania wood cockroaches isn’t that challenging compared to other species. You only need to use insecticides, traps, or bait.

Put insecticides between cracks and crevices, which is where they usually hide during the day. Seal cracks in your household to prevent cockroach infestation. Besides, keep food in tightly-closed containers.

house divider Signs of a Cockroach Infestation

The good news is that you can get rid of cockroaches if you know how to spot an infestation early. The following are some signs that indicate a roach problem:

  • Droppings: The first sign of a cockroach infestation is droppings that look like black or brown dots on countertops, floors, and other surfaces. These droppings are digested blood from cockroaches that contain protein. If you notice small spots that look like coffee grounds or dirt, spray some soapy water on them and see what happens. If the spot bubbles up, it’s roach droppings.
  • Live or Dead Cockroaches: Cockroaches aren’t easy to spot because they’re small and can hide in tiny spaces. But if you see one, there is likely more hiding nearby. If you see dead cockroaches in your home, that’s another sign that they’re around.
  • Odor: Cockroaches produce an odor when they die or when they shed their skins. They also leave behind fecal matter and saliva on surfaces in your home. Cockroaches also emit an unpleasant smell when crushed. The smell may become more noticeable if there is an infestation in your home.
  • Egg Cases: Cockroach egg cases (oothecae) are brownish-white and shaped like an inchworm with a white band at one end. Usually, they attach themselves to walls behind appliances like refrigerators or freezers. They find a hidden place warm enough for the nymphs (baby cockroaches) to hatch out of their eggs.
  • Furniture Damage: Cockroaches live where it’s dark and warm, such as underneath furniture. If there are cockroaches in your home, you might notice scratches and dents on leather furniture. They will also chew on surfaces, such as leather and fabric. So, you may find small holes in upholstered furniture or clothing stored away for long periods.
  • Shed Skin: Cockroaches shed their skin as they grow, and when they do so, they leave behind little brownish flakes that look like dried mud or dirt. You likely have an infestation if you see these on your floor or in your sink.
  • Allergy Symptoms: The cockroaches’ saliva and feces can cause allergic reactions in some people. It also leads to symptoms like sneezing, watery eyes, and difficulty breathing. Other signs of a cockroach allergy include sneezing, coughing, running nose, and red or itchy eyes. If you suffer from these symptoms, it could be due to a cockroach infestation in the building.
  • Smear Marks: Cockroaches are known to leave behind a smearing or greasy mark. It’s their excrement. It can be found along the walls and baseboards or over smooth surfaces like counters or floors. Usually, these smears are made up of feces and dead skin particles. A lot of them means there are a lot of roaches running around!
german cockroach
Image Credit: Erik Karits, Pixabay

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches

If you see signs of cockroaches, it’s time to get rid of them. Cockroaches are not only gross and unsightly, but they can also be dangerous. Their feces and bodies can harbor bacteria that can cause food poisoning or other illnesses.

Here’s how to get rid of them.

  • Buy Roach Traps: These are small plastic boards with glue or a sugary substance that attracts cockroaches. When a roach walks across the trap, it gets stuck and dies within a couple of days due to a lack of food or water. You can place these traps under furniture or along baseboards where roaches hide.
  • Clean Your Home: Cockroaches are drawn to dirt. The best way to get rid of cockroaches is to clean your home and remove any food sources. Ensure you don’t leave dirty dishes around after dinner or let water sit in your sink overnight. Also, dispose of the debris before retiring to bed and mop your house daily.
  • Spray Liquid Concentrates: Liquid concentrates are commonly used in commercial kitchens. They kill cockroaches fast and efficiently. These sprays contain ingredients, such as pyrethrins, that act as neurotoxins in insects. You can buy these products at any home store or online.
  • Using Natural Methods: If you have small children or pets in your home, avoid using pesticides that contain chemicals. Use natural methods instead, including boric acid, baking soda, and citrus.
  • Boric acid kills cockroaches by dehydrating them. Another natural solution is baking soda. Mix it with something to attract the cockroaches. Then, sprinkle it around cracks and other places with a cockroach infestation. Baking soda is one of the fastest ways to kill cockroaches. Citrus doesn’t kill but deters them. Mix citric acid in a solvent such as water, and pour it around cockroach-infested areas in your household.

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Of all the pests found throughout Massachusetts, cockroaches are one of the most common. These pests are notoriously challenging to get rid of. If you’re unlucky to have these roaches in your house, you should now know how to deal with them given the tips above.

You can also prevent them from getting into your home by learning more about their behavior. The first step to effective roach extermination is understanding what species you’re dealing with!

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Erik Karits, Shutterstock


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