How to Identify Cockroaches in Kansas City

Posted by Cat Heisler

Types of Cockroaches




Identify American Cockroaches

American Cockroach

  • Appearance: American cockroaches are reddish brown with a yellowish figure 8 pattern on the back of their head.
  • Region: This species is located throughout the United States.
  • Habitat: American cockroaches are often found in sewers and basements, particularly around pipes and drains.
  • Unique Facts: The American cockroach is the largest of the house-infesting cockroaches. They are active when the temperature is 70 degrees or higher, but they can survive lower temperatures with the right conditions.

Identify Wood Cockroach


Wood Cockroach

  • Appearance: The wood cockroach is chestnut brown with a flat, oval-shaped body, long antennae, and spiny legs. An adult wood roach measures between three-quarters and 1.25 inches in length.
  • Region: This species is located throughout the United States.
  • Habitat: Native to North America, wood roaches live outdoors in moist woodland areas, including woodpiles, mulch, under the loose bark of trees, branches or decaying logs. These roaches need an environment that is consistently moist, so they don’t survive long nor breed indoors. 
  • Unique Facts: This roach looks somewhat like the common German cockroach, though the degree of similarity depends on the species as their appearance varies. Examining their behavior is the best way to tell the difference between the wood roach and the household roach. Wood cockroaches aren’t sensitive to light, so you can see them day or night. They aren’t skittish and are less likely to scurry away when you approach. Additionally, they will wander around your house without gathering in any particular area.


Identify Oriental Cockroach

Oriental Cockroach

  • Appearance: The oriental cockroach is approximately 1 inch long and dark brown to black. Males have wings covering 3/4 of their body, and the female has very short wings.
  • Region: This species is located throughout the United States.
  • Habitat: Common outdoors and lives in warm, damp, shady areas near the ground or any area containing natural debris. It will often seek refuge indoors when a drop in temperature occurs but is still quite tolerable of cooler weather. The most commonly found in basements, crawl spaces, areas between the soil and foundation, underneath sidewalks, in sewer pipes, in floor drains, and under sinks or any other damp, cool area in the house.
  • Unique Facts: Cockroaches are known to spread many different types of pathogens, as well as different types of bacteria and parasitic worms that are dangerous to humans. These pests can pick up germs on the spines of their legs and bodies as they wander through rubbish piles, sewers and drains and then can transfer these germs onto foods and food preparation surfaces. 

Identify German Cockroach

German Cockroach

  • Appearance: German cockroaches are light brown to tan with two dark stripes located on their backs. They are oval shaped with six legs and antennae.
  • Region: This species is located across the United States.
  • Habitat: German cockroaches can be found throughout structures but show a preference for warm and humid places. They are usually found in kitchens and secondarily in bathrooms, but infestations often occur in rooms where people eat and drink.
  • Unique Facts: The German cockroach is by far the most important and usually the most common of the cockroaches. In addition to being a nuisance, the German cockroach has been implicated in outbreaks of illness and allergic reactions in many people.


Here is a graphic that shows size comparisons

Cockroach Comparison