American Cockroach


Actual Size: 2.1”

Characteristics: Brown to reddish brown; winged

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Primarily live outdoors but can be found in sewers and drains across the Northern United States. In the Southern United States, they are found in shady garden areas and yards.


  • Largest of the house-infesting cockroaches
  • Capable of flight, but prefer to run (at a fast speed!)
  • Attracted to alcoholic beverages and a variety of decaying foods

American Cockroaches in Knoxville TN

The American cockroach is known by many names—water bug or palmetto bug— as well as many unprintable expletives. This cockroach has a classic appearance: long antennae, a body that is nearly 2 inches long, and a reddish hue. It prefers sweets, but has also been observed eating paper, pet food, soap, hair, fruit, book bindings, cardboard boxes, cloth and dead insects. American cockroaches prefer warm, damp environments and can often be found outdoors around drains, garbage bins, trees and wood piles.

Despite its name, the American cockroach is not native to North America and was probably introduced via ships from Africa. It is currently found throughout the United States and is second only to the German cockroach in abundance. Their life cycle from egg to adult lasts about 600 days, and adults tend to live about a year. They don’t reproduce as quickly as German roaches.

American Cockroach Environment

In nature, the American cockroach is found in bat caves and hollow trees. In urban settings, it is a common inhabitant of sewers, storm drainage systems, prisons, factories, hospitals, and hotels. The American cockroach is omnivorous and an opportunistic feeder. It consumes decaying organic matter but is a scavenger and will eat almost anything. When these roaches venture inside homes in search of food, they often live in damp and dark areas: your basement, kitchen, bathrooms, and crawl spaces.

American Cockroach Habits & Dangers

American cockroaches have the ability to bite, although they rarely do. For the most part, American roaches will leave you alone. These cockroaches are considered dangerous pests because they breed and feed in unsanitary areas close to humans, such as garbage storage, sewage systems, and septic tanks. American cockroaches have a characteristic odor when present and can contaminate human foods and surfaces with their feces and body parts. Foraging cockroaches can also be vectors of disease, depositing germs or bacteria in areas they inhabit and causing asthma attacks in some people sensitive to cockroach allergens. For this reason, always contact your local cockroach removal company for assistance with American cockroaches.