American Cockroach


Actual Size: 2.1”

Characteristics: Brown to reddish-brown; winged.

Legs: 6

Wings: Yes, adults have wings and can fly.

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Found across the Northern portion of the United States, primarily living outdoors or in sewers and drains.


  • Both adult males and females are capable of flight.
  • The largest species of house infesting cockroaches.
  • Attracted to alcoholic beverages, especially beer.

American Cockroaches in San Angelo

The American cockroach goes by various names, such as water bug or palmetto bug, and some not-so-polite terms. It holds the title of the largest house-infesting cockroach, reaching lengths of up to 2 1⁄8 inches, featuring fully developed reddish-brown wings. Interestingly, despite its name, the American cockroach is not native to North America and likely arrived via ships from Africa. Nowadays, it can be found throughout the United States and is the second most abundant cockroach species after the German cockroach. Adult American cockroaches can live for up to a year, and a female can produce an average of 150 offspring during her lifetime.

American Cockroach Habitat

In the wild, you can find the American cockroach in places like bat caves and hollow trees. However, in urban areas, it commonly takes up residence in sewers, storm drainage systems, prisons, factories, hospitals, and hotels. As an omnivore and opportunistic feeder, the American cockroach eats decaying organic matter and is quite the scavenger, consuming almost anything it comes across. While it prefers sweets, it has been observed devouring paper, pet food, soap, hair, fruit, book bindings, cardboard boxes, cloth, and even dead insects.

These cockroaches favor warm and moist environments, often lingering outdoors near drains, garbage bins, trees, and woodpiles. When they venture indoors in search of food, they tend to settle in damp areas such as basements, garages, kitchens, and bathrooms.

American Cockroach Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

American cockroaches possess the ability to bite, although they seldom do so. These roaches are deemed hazardous pests because they breed and feed in unsanitary areas close to humans, like garbage storage, sewage systems, and septic tanks. When they are present, American cockroaches emit a distinctive odor and can contaminate human food and surfaces with their feces and body parts.

Moreover, foraging cockroaches can act as carriers of disease, depositing germs or bacteria in the areas they inhabit. This poses a risk of contaminating human spaces and can trigger asthma attacks in individuals sensitive to cockroach allergens.

It’s crucial to contact a professional cockroach exterminator if you think you have any American cockroaches near your property.