Roaches in Pennsylvania

close up of an American cockroach
Guillermo Guerao Serra/

Written by Taiwo Victor

Published: October 4, 2022

Share on:


Although cockroaches are frequently referred to as filthy pests, most species are not hazardous and can be found worldwide in various settings. Out of the 4,600 species of cockroaches, only around 30 can survive in human surroundings, and some are well-known pests. The remaining species are regarded as useful or harmless in their natural environments.

Only 1.5% of the world’s cockroach species—approximately 55 different species—live in the United States. Unfortunately for Pennsylvania, five types of cockroaches roam its lands, four of which are a common nuisance to its households. Below, we will discuss the five types of cockroaches in Pennsylvania, where they can be found, and more.

Roaches in Pennsylvania

1. American Cockroach

American cockroach crawling

Despite their name, American cockroaches are native to the Middle East and Africa.

One of the greatest body sizes of all cockroaches in Pennsylvania belongs to the American cockroach. It is also regarded as one of the insects with the fastest running speeds, dashing out of sight at the first sign of danger. The American cockroach is roughly three times as fast as a cheetah at 50 body lengths per second! However, despite their speedy legs, they are weak fliers. 

These 2-inch-long roaches can be identified by their faint yellow bands behind their heads and chestnut hue. They are active all year long in warm, moist areas of homes and flats. If there are many American cockroaches around, you will be able to smell their pungent secretions, which can change food flavor. 

Believe it or not, American cockroaches are native to the Middle East and Africa. These cockroaches arrived in this country aboard ships hundreds of years ago.

2. German Cockroach

German Cockroach

The German cockroach is the most prevalent indoor cockroach in the world.

The German Cockroach, despite its name, actually originated in Southeast China. In Pennsylvania, the German cockroach is a problematic pest all year round. In addition to other institutions, they will break into homes, flats, hotels, and restaurants. This cockroach hides away during the day and takes up residence in crevices near refrigerators, sinks, stoves, and walls. This roach species is more active at night and lays more eggs than its roach cousins. If a German cockroach ever appears during the day, this might mean that you have a serious infestation.

German roaches are simple to recognize thanks to their tan hue and dark brown stripes on the back of the upper thorax. They are smaller than their American counterparts, can only live for up to a year, and are only around 0.5 inches long.

The German cockroach is the most prevalent indoor cockroach in the world, entering most buildings, especially close to areas used for food preparation and storage. They quickly grow and multiply – a single female German cockroach may spark a breeding explosion that results in up to 30,000 roaches in a year!

3. Brown-Banded Cockroach

๋Juvenile brown banded cockroach isolated on white floor.

The smallest cockroach species in Pennsylvania is the brown-banded cockroach.

The brown-banded cockroach, which is 0.39 to 0.55 inches long, is the smallest in Pennsylvania. The brown-banded cockroach gets its name from the two light-colored bands that span its wings and abdomen and are tan to light brown. They are usually active at night, although can occasionally be spotted stumbling around during the day in quest of food.

It’s interesting to note that this species requires less moisture than the other cockroach species. This is significant because it shows that they can live in areas of your home where other cockroaches would be afraid to tread. They typically hide in cupboards and appliances, but they can be found everywhere in your house, including the living room or bedroom.

Brown-banded cockroaches spend their entire lives inside, closely related to humans, much like the German cockroach. Because of this, they have the potential to harm human health. It has been discovered that surroundings with temperatures between 25 and 33°C are ideal for brown-banded cockroaches.

4. Oriental Cockroach

Black Cockroach - Oriental Cockroach

The oriental cockroach is one of the filthiest cockroaches in Pennsylvania.

Oriental cockroaches favor dark, moist environments and are sometimes known as water bugs. They are slow, unable to fly, and weak climbers. They can be found all over the United States and are also known as black beetle cockroaches or shad roaches. The bodies of adult oriental cockroaches typically have a greasy-looking sheen and range in color from dark brown to practically black. These large roaches have a length of 1 to 1.25 inches. Although the male oriental cockroach has wings covering approximately 3/4 of its abdomen, it cannot fly, and the female only has tiny primitive wing pads.

The oriental cockroach is commonly spotted in Pennsylvania, eating rotting matter. Though you’re not likely to see them indoors, they normally inhabit the same locations as the American cockroach.

The oriental cockroach is a significant pest in homes, and this species is one of the filthiest cockroaches in Pennsylvania, having a powerful odor. The oriental cockroach, which carries Salmonella, E. coli, dysentery, and food poisoning, can spread bacteria and viruses from its legs to food, dishes, utensils, and counters.

5. Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach

Pennsylvania Wood cockroach is light, yellowish brown in colour with pale colouration along the wing margin.

Pennsylvania wood cockroaches are generally harmless.

The Pennsylvania wood roach, as its name implies, is a typical Pennsylvania bug. Wood roaches can be found all over the eastern United States, from Florida in the south to southern Canada in the north. so, they are not only confined to the state. This cockroach is typically found after dark in areas covered with trees, on tree trunks, particularly in the lower branches of oak and elm trees.

They can also be discovered in hollow trees, tree stumps, and wood piles. They are frequently referred to as “wood roaches” outside Pennsylvania. Typically, the Pennsylvania wood cockroach enters your home by taking a trip inside the firewood brought inside. It’s a safe bet that the cockroach you find hidden in your firewood if you live anywhere in the eastern United States is a Pennsylvania wood roach.

Thankfully, this species dislikes cohabitation with other cockroaches and are generally harmless. The best cockroach, to put it lightly, is one that must remain outside.

Are Pennsylvania Cockroaches Dangerous?

Except for the Pennsylvania wood roach, the four other types of roaches in Pennsylvania are considered a nuisance and can all spread diseases, bacteria, and viruses. 

Pest cockroaches can be dangerous as they are risky disease transmitters and allergen producers. Their propensity to consume human garbage and food demonstrates how dangerous they could be to human health. Cockroaches are known to spread typhoid, cholera, dysentery, and other gastrointestinal disorders. They do not bite or sting, unlike what many people think.

According to a study published in the journal Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Research, the cockroach is one of the most prevalent sources of indoor allergens in the globe. Many people, especially children, experience allergic reactions to certain enzymes in their exoskeleton, feces, eggs, and saliva.

How to Tell if You Have a Cockroach Infestation

Unexpectedly, some people are unaware that they have a cockroach infestation. You should be aware that the appearance of adult roaches in your home is the most evident indication of an infestation. When you find one adult cockroach, many are likely hiding nearby in your home. Cockroach eggs in egg sacks and newborn cockroaches, often known as nymphs, are additional warning signs. These show that cockroaches are reproducing in your home, and the roach population will grow tremendously as they develop.

You may also be dealing with a major cockroach infestation if you witness cockroach droppings or detect unpleasant “musty” cockroach odors or stains in your home. Whatever the situation, get rid of your roach infestation immediately before it gets out of hand.

In a nutshell, here are some of the signs of cockroach infestation you should watch out for:

  • Adult cockroaches
  • Baby cockroaches
  • Cockroach eggs
  • Cockroach poop
  • Stains and foul odors

Cockroach infestations can exist without the owner even realizing it. Finding the first roach is only the beginning. Because they can conceal themselves well, cockroaches typically only emerge at night. If you spot one cockroach, take the necessary steps, hire a pro, or act quickly to eliminate the infestation.

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches

Cockroaches are tenacious and persistent pests, as anyone who has dealt with an infestation of them indoors can attest. There are simple methods to attempt, even if getting rid of cockroaches altogether may be difficult. But before you can properly exterminate cockroaches from your home, you must first determine the species of roach you are battling with and where they are hiding. Then, to get rid of these roaches, pick one or more of the following control techniques:

  • Bait traps
  • Insecticidal sprays
  • Gel baits 
  • Boric acid powder
  • Bait stations
  • Borax
  • Silica aerogel

Up Next:

Roaches in California

Roaches in Ohio

Roaches in Texas

Share this post on:
About the Author

For six years, I have worked as a professional writer and editor for books, blogs, and websites, with a particular focus on animals, tech, and finance. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games with friends.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.