Cockroaches have existed on the Earth for millions of years and have been common in human urban habitats since Roman times and before. They are known to be attracted to bacteria-infested areas and for this reason can aid in the spread of such bacteria throughout the home. There are 5 common types of cockroach in Michigan: the American, Oriental, German, brown-banded and Pennsylvania wood roaches. These can be distinguished from each other by examining their size, habitat, coloring and habits.
Pay attention to where the roach was found. If it was found outside in a wood pile or indoors near fireplace wood, it is probably a Pennsylvania wood roach. This roach is also easy to identify because it is able to fly and will often be found attracted by lights or windows. They grow to be 3/4 inch to one-inch long and are brown colored.
Examine the roach's coloring. If it is a tan color, with two parallel lines behind its head, it is likely a German cockroach. These roaches are only a little over half an inch long, and prefer warmth, so they are commonly found in the home.
Pay attention to the size of the roach. The American cockroach is larger than other varieties, at about 1 1/2 inches. These roaches are reddish-brown in color and feature light markings on the thorax. They prefer to live in dark and damp locations like basements, or around sewage systems and pipes.
Look to see if the roach is black and slow moving. This will identify it as the Oriental cockroach. This roach is slightly smaller than the American variety, topping out at 1 1/4 inches. It is attracted to dark and damp areas such as sewers, drains and anywhere with leaky pipes. Indoors they are often under sinks or refrigerators, while outdoors they are more likely to be found in garbage piles or decayed yard waste.
Look to see if the roach is small and banded. The brown-banded roach is the only common Michigan roach that is under 1/2-inch long and has two brown bands on the wings, one near the body and one near the wing tips. These roaches prefer to live in groups and are generally found high off of the floor.