There are nearly 4,600 species of cockroaches in the world. Of these, 30 are associated with being found in human habitats, and in North Carolina five species of cockroaches are considered common.
The American cockroach is often referred to as a palmetto bug or a waterbug. Despite the name, the American cockroach isn’t actually native to the United States. Its origin has been traced to Africa. These roaches made their way to America because of trans-oceanic shipping. They are common in North Carolina because they prefer warm and humid environments. These roaches are typically brown, but can sometimes appear black.
Although common in North Carolina, the brown-hooded cockroach prefers to live as far away from humans as possible, such as in woodland areas. They are often found nesting in dead trees or stumps. Just like the American cockroach, the brown-hooded cockroach is brown. It’s easy to tell the two apart, however, because of the small round body that the brown-hooded cockroach has compared to the long body of the American cockroach.
This is another roach found in North Carolina that originated elsewhere. As the name implies, this roach came from Cuba and the Caribbean Islands. While it’s common to find Cuban cockroaches indoors, they typically prefer to live outside in areas that are hot and humid. It’s easy to spot a Cuban cockroach because of its bright green color.
Much like American cockroaches, German cockroaches are notorious for being household pests. They are smaller than American cockroaches but still love to live in food pantries. These pests typically stay hidden during the day and come out to feed at night when it’s dark. Some of their favorite hiding places are behind stoves and refrigerators. They like these areas because they don’t get a lot of foot traffic and because food sometimes rolls underneath the appliances. German cockroaches are also known to hide in vents during the day.
Western Wood Cockroaches
As the name implies, these roaches like to live in the wilderness, particularly the woods. They can also be found around dried-up riverbanks and grasslands. Western wood cockroaches are easy to spot because of their reddish-brown color. The males have wings, but the females do not.