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Differences Between Wood Roaches And Other Cockroaches

pennsylvania wood roach on gray background

If you live in our Illinois service area, there is a good chance you've seen one of four cockroach species. They are, in no particular order, the American cockroach, the German cockroach, the brown-banded cockroach, and the Oriental cockroach. All of these cockroach species have a wide distribution in the United States, and all have found a home here in our state. What makes these four species so noteworthy is that they love to get into homes and businesses. But they're not the only cockroaches that can present a pest problem for us. There are over 4,500 species of cockroach in the world. It only makes sense that there would be more than five frustrating cockroach pests. As it turns out, there is. Today we're going to take a look at Parcoblatta pennsylvanica (DeGeer), otherwise known as the wood cockroach.

The wood cockroach looks like an American cockroach and is often mistaken for the American cockroach when it gets into a human dwelling. Both of these roaches have a chestnut coloration, an oval shape, long antennae, and six legs. Where they are different is mostly in size. American cockroaches are between 1 1/4 to 2 1/8 inches in length. Wood cockroaches are between 3/4 and 1 inch in length, with male wood cockroaches being more toward 1 inch and females being more toward 3/4 of an inch.

Like other roaches, the wood cockroach enjoys moist locations and will be found underneath organic material in nature. This may be leaf litter, underneath loose bark on trees, inside rotting logs, or under branches or tree fronds.

Primary Differences Between Wood Cockroaches And Other Cockroaches

  • Wood roaches are not as light sensitive as other roaches. When you flick a light on at night, these roaches are less likely to flee for cover. Their ability to deal with light also allows them to infest light sockets. If you turn an outside light on, you shouldn't be surprised to see one of these roaches emerge when it gets too warm in that socket.

  • While each individual cockroach of each of the above species can have its own personality traits, and any of them can be skittish and stealthy, wood cockroaches, as a whole, are not going to stay in hiding. They are more than happy to roam around in plain sight.

  • Though not unique to wood cockroaches, this species prefers to be outside. They are only accidental home invaders. These roaches much prefer to be in your yard, hiding under organic debris, and in moist locations.

  • As their name suggests, they are prone to being in stacked wood. If you have firewood, you're more likely to have wood cockroaches. Be cautious when you bring firewood into your home. And be sure to burn your firewood quickly once you bring it in to make sure no wood cockroach eggs hatch inside your home.

  • Wood cockroaches are often found infesting a home underneath wood shingles and wood siding. They are also more likely to plague homes that are in the woods. These roaches don't know the difference between your home and a tree in the forest. If you give them loose bark to hide under, they'll take advantage of it.

Wood Cockroach Prevention

Since this cockroach species is only an accidental invader, you may be able to keep them out of your home much more successfully than other roaches. Use the following tips:

  • Make sure all your screens, door sweeps, and weather stripping are in good working condition.

  • Do a detailed inspection of your exterior walls and use a caulking gun to fill in any gaps, cracks, or openings.

  • Cut tree branches away from your roofline to keep wood cockroaches from using them as a bridge to get onto your roof.

  • Fix any leaking spigots and hoses, unclog gutters, and address any areas that allow moisture to build up near your walls.

  • Always rake leaves up and put them away from your home.

If you're still having trouble with wood cockroaches, reach out to a professional for a resolution to your problem. Wood roaches multiply quickly, so it doesn't take long for them to overrun a home. For assistance in Illinois, reach out to Quik-Kill Pest Eliminators and see if you're in our service area. Our team of friendly, educated pest control professionals is looking forward to serving you.

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