What Is a Wood Cockroach?


When you find a cockroach in your home, you probably don't care what kind it is; you just want it gone. Take a moment to look it over. If you have a wood cockroach in your home instead of the more common German cockroach, you probably have less to worry about when it comes to infestation.

Wood Cockroaches

  • Seventy species of wood cockroaches live in North America, with more found around the world, including Asia and Europe. Wood cockroaches look much like the German cockroaches that are common pests in homes in urban and suburban areas and can be just as disconcerting to encounter either in nature or your home. They are a little larger than German cockroaches, but still come in the standard black, dark brown and reddish brown colors.


  • Wood cockroaches don't live in homes. Instead, they are usually found in nature. Instead of hiding behind appliances, they live inside fallen rotten logs, tunneling out passages through the decaying wood. They also make homes inside animal burrows. You might see one in the woods if you pull a layer of fallen leaves away from the ground. Wood cockroaches feed on organic matter, including fungal growths and carrion. Living far from humans, they aren't nuisance insects.


  • If you live in a rural area, wood cockroaches can wander into your home. Because they live in family groups, if you find one in your home, you probably have several more inside that you haven't yet seen. Wood cockroaches will feed on whatever they can find, which means if they can find food in your kitchen, they will stick around. Because cockroaches can spread bacteria and also emit a foul smelling liquid, they ruin any food they come near.


  • You can try capturing and releasing wood cockroaches outside. Seeing one isn't a warning of a major infestation inside your home, so you don't need to take extreme measure to protect your home or your family. If you want to be sure to get rid of the wood cockroaches, mix borax and confectioners' sugar in equal parts. Add water to the mixture until it becomes a thick paste and form the paste into small balls. Place them around your home where you've seen the roaches. The sugar will attract the wood cockroaches and the borax will poison them.

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  • "What's Bugging You?: A Fond Look at the Animals We Love to Hate"; Arthur V. Evans; 2008
  • "Residential, Industrial, and Institutional Pest Control"; Pat O'Connor-Marer; 2006
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