The American cockroach is the largest of the common cockroaches measuring on average 4 cm in length. It occurs in buildings throughout United States, especially in commercial buildings. In the northern United States, the cockroach is mainly found in steam heat tunnels or large institutional buildings. The American cockroach is second only to the German cockroach in abundance.
Outdoors, American cockroaches are found in moist shady areas such as hollow trees, woodpiles, and mulch. They are occasionally found under roof shingles and in attics. The cockroaches live outside, however, they will find their way indoors to search for food and water or to avoid extreme weather conditions.
Eggs: Females of the American cockroach lay their eggs in a hardened, purse-shaped egg case they carry with them. The females on average produce one egg case a month for ten months, laying 16 eggs per egg case. The female deposits the egg case near a source of food, sometimes gluing it to a surface with a secretion from her mouth. The deposited egg case contains water sufficient for the eggs to develop without receiving additional water from the substrate. The egg case is brown when deposited and turns black in a day or two.
Nymph: This stage begins when the egg hatches and ends with the emergence of the adult. The number of times an American cockroach molts varies from six to 14 per year. The first instar American cockroach is white immediately after hatching then becomes a grayish brown. After molting, subsequent instars of the cockroach nymphs are white and then turn reddish-brown, with the posterior margins of the thoracic and abdominal segments being a darker color. Wings are not present in the nymphal stages and wing pads become noticeable in the third or fourth instar. Complete development from egg to adult is about 600 days. The nymphs, as well as the adults, actively forage for food and water.
The American cockroach is an omnivorous and opportunistic feeder. It consumes decaying organic matter but is a scavenger and will eat almost anything. It prefers sweets but has also been observed eating paper, boots, hair, bread, fruit, book bindings, fish, peanuts, old rice, putrid sake, the soft part on the inside of animal hides, cloth, and dead insects
Caulking of penetrations through ground-level walls, removal of rotting leaves, and limiting the moist areas in and around a structure can help in reducing areas that are attractive to these cockroaches.
Other means of management are insecticides that can be applied to basement walls, wood scraps, and other infested locations. The Bugly sprays can be applied inside and around the perimeter of an infested structure.