The most common cockroach pest in the northeast is the German cockroach, followed by the American and Oriental cockroach species. While all three of these cockroach species are capable of spreading disease-causing microorganisms within homes, the American and Oriental species are particularly disgusting, as they are known for traveling back and forth between sewers and indoor areas. The German cockroach is a domestic species, which means it spends its entire life indoors, where it hides in wall voids, cabinets beneath sinks, subflooring and many other areas where large numbers of the insects go unnoticed by residents. This species’ domestic habitat explains why it is the most commonly encountered species within homes, but unfortunately, another domestic species can also be found in the state. This cockroach species is known as the brown-banded cockroach, and it is a relative newcomer to the US.

Like most cockroach pest species in the US, the brown-banded cockroach is not a US native; instead, this species likely originated from Africa, but experts are not sure as to how it arrived in the US. The most common theory states that the brown-banded cockroach arrived in the US from Cuba back in 1903 where it was found in Miami, but today, this species has spread to most states in the US, with the exception of Alaska, of course. Unlike most cockroach species, when the brown-banded cockroach species invades a home, they spread to all indoor regions, including a home’s upper levels. Most cockroach species set up camp in areas located near human food sources, but for reasons not yet understood, the brown-banded cockroach inhabits areas located far away from food sources. This species also has a habit of resting behind picture frames and high up on walls near ceilings. This is also where residents can find this species’ egg cases, as a study found that 92.5 percent of infestations saw brown-banded cockroach egg cases located on the upper third of walls. Since both the brown-banded cockroach and the German cockroach are closely associated with human dwellings, they are both known for spreading allergens and bacteria within homes. Since the brown-banded cockroach has not existed in North America for as long as German cockroaches have, they do not infest structures as often, but the rate of brown-banded cockroach infestations is growing rapidly each year.

Have you ever found a cockroach on the high end of your home’s walls?