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Wood Roach


Summary: Wood roaches are large cockroaches often mistakenly identified as the American cockroach. The wood roach does not live inside structures.

The wood roach is often thought to be its cousin, the American roach. Wood cockroaches, which can grow up to one and one-quarter inches long, prefer to eat decaying organic matter and are attracted to light, whereas most roaches run from light. Females deposit their egg capsules outdoors under old logs, stumps and firewood. There is one generation of Wood cockroaches per year and, in some cases, the life cycle takes two years.

Seal up possible entry points using an easy-to-use product called Xcluder. It is much like steel wool, but water won't make it rust out. You can also use a pesticide product around window frames to help control cockroach entry called D-Force HPX aerosol.

At dusk, Wood cockroach males may begin taking short flights and are drawn to porch or house lights. The Wood cockroach normal habitat is moist woodland areas but it frequently become a household nuisance because it wanders into or is carried into the house with firewood.

Woods Roach

Wood roaches which are also called the Pennsylvania Wood roach, do not survive indoors which is probably the best news you have read so far. They require the consistently moist environment of their natural habitats such as under wood piles or loose bark and in decaying logs. So, unless your housekeeping is way below par, the presence of wood roaches is strictly a temporary annoyance. They usually die within a few days in the house, so a call to the exterminator is probably not required.

If Wood cockroaches are found anywhere inside the home, usually they are solitary. So, it's not necessary to go looking for the mate. Wood cockroaches do not reproduce or multiply inside. Since wood cockroaches do not establish themselves indoors and their presence is temporary (a few weeks, at most) during the spring, chemical pest control measures are rarely needed.

Ask Rick A Question


04 Feb 2012, 12:54
Hi there,

Yesterday morning while geting reading for work I found a 1 inch long roach on my bathroom counter. I screamed and ran and my husband went back to kill it! My worry is that I live n a condo, in the 4 years I have lived here I have never seen more than a silverfish. This roach was large and not scared of me or the bright lights in the bathroom. I showered and took about 15 minutes getting ready and the roach was "resting" by my hot iron. It looked brown with flecks of yellow or light brown. I spoke t my Management office and they advised that they sprayed the grounds the day before and I shouldn't worry since I only found ONE!!!! My question is, if I've seen one what can I do to prevent more? And second, is it possible that this roach escaped pest control sprays and paid me a visit? I'm on the 25th floor so I don't know what to think...For now I've sealed the drains...but I don't know if that was the source...Help???!!!
10 Feb 2012, 20:56
Hi- I recently moved into a six unit apt complex. I asked the neighbors if any of them have had any problems with roaches and the woman upstairs has lived there for 13 years only recalling one in the span of that time which she killed and never saw another again.
I have been there a week and saw one crawl across the wall fairly quickly. I killed it, sprayed the area with bleach and all the crevices. I want to assume it's a wood roach as it was out and about in the light (my whole place had all the lights on and it was pretty bright on that wall). The entire building looks like an old wood cabin as well so if it was a wood roach it would make sense that it would be drawn to the there any way to know for sure? I've been unpacking boxes for the past week and haven't seen anything so is there a good chance that it was just the one and that I don't have a problem?? I have the most irrational fear of them and have panic attacks whenever they're in my space so any advice you have would really help! My landlord is coming Mon to spray and set traps just in case but the roach wasn't even near the kitchen. In the living room, on the wall crawling towards the door away from a window...

Thanks and many blessings!~
11 Feb 2012, 17:32

What outdoor products do you recommend that would kill the wood roaches and keep my pets safe, while killing my neighbors cats?
25 Mar 2012, 02:55
I read the article and learned a lot. Thanks. I live in an apartment complex in central California. The Wood Roaches ,I think I have, are reddish on top then mostly brown. I have never seen any male roaches that you talk about. Every day we kill or find dead at least 10 of these bugs. They are taking over. We have had someone come out and spray and he confirmed that they were not German Roaches but what he called Field Roaches. We have sealed everything the best we can but there is this big tree that is in front of our place that the bark falls off all the time. Should we spray the tree next and if so what should we use? It's really getting bad anything you can suggest is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
25 Mar 2012, 12:44
Field roaches have a bright, orange-red head. They breed in leaf litter. If your roaches don't look like this then I would suspect they are wood roaches coming from under the tree bark. Wood roaches are attracted to night lights. So, turn off the outside lights and close your window shades. See if that works.
01 May 2012, 19:22
Hi -- I know that your article says that wood roaches do not breed inside, but is it possible for one to lay an egg indoors? My children were playing in their playroom and one of them said, "Mom, a bug just pooped something" when I went to investigate, I found what I am 98% sure is a cockroach egg. I just can't tell what kind it is. I have had a few wood roaches inside as we live in a heavily wooded area and I have learned to distinguish the wood roaches from others. I am just wondering if I should worry about the egg or not. Thanks!
Ask the Exterminator
02 May 2012, 09:22
Roaches as a whole, develop and carry egg cases. Inside the egg case are rows of eggs. The egg cases are large and easily visible. It is possible for the roach to drop an egg case, but once hatched, the nymphs would die for lack of the proper environment.
19 May 2012, 21:57
Hi- thanks for the article. I'm hoping that you can tell me if the wood roaches I have on my property will be out flying all summer or if it is temporary. I recently bought a rural acre in Indiana surrounded by farmland. The wood roaches are so bad at night that we can't go outside an enjoy the property, even if we have no lights on are are in the middle of the yard. They are constantly flying around, buzzing our heads and landing on us. We can't even build a fire. Is there any hope of being able to enjoy the outdoors in the summer?
21 May 2012, 09:38
Hi i have a big problem i hears this noise in my cak bathroom behind the wall where the power switch is located it sounds like something crawling and i think there are roaches, i sprayed in the early spring and i find dead roaches here and there but gosh i see like 2 or 3 dead every morning it there something i can put in the attic down on that wall to kill them all at once ?
26 May 2012, 11:58
We have a cabin in the woods with a cockroach infestation. The infestation started with the day the cabin was built 4 years ago, so my theory is the builder brought the cockroaches with the lumber.

We have absolutely no food or water in the cabin (really!) and the cabin does not have water problems, so I have not figured out how they are surviving. They have survived dry summers and colder winters over the last 4 years. We have used dusts (that earth stuff) with little effect. We have also sealed most of the cracks in the cabin.

The cabin has no insulation nor drywall, it is just simple studs with wood siding. There are hundreds of places for the cockroaches to hide inside between the studs and wood siding, although they prefer between the shingles and the plywood at the peak of the roof.

I am not sure if these really are German roaches or possibly woods roaches. I don't have any photos of the roaches. They are very dark brown and the winged adults are about 1.25 inches long.

Photos on the internet don't help because they don't give any idea of scale, and the color of the German cockroach varies widely. I have seen photos of both german and woods roaches that look like our roaches.

26 May 2012, 20:49
Thanks for the article. I just found a couple of these in my house and my father told me they were wood roaches but wanted to check to make sure. I didn't start seeing them until recently when we got several loads of firewood in. I am glad to hear they are just wood roaches. I have peace of mind now although I still don't care for them wandering into the house. Thanks again for the great article!
Ask the Exterminator
27 May 2012, 11:14

German roaches are only about 1/2 inch long and have a "racing stripe" right behind the head. Wood roaches are much larger 1 1/2 inches or larger, and are a solid brown color. They are also good fliers. My guess is you have wood roaches. Try treating outside surfaces with Suspend PolyZone. This product holds up well in weather and it may give you some relief. Here's a link to the product:
31 May 2012, 17:59
I have just moved into a house that has been vacant for over a year. Me and my husband have been finding wood roaches lying on their backs but they are not dead when we find them. Would it be wise to hire an exterminator because we are worried they may harm our infant daughter? Also is there any way we can get ride of them?
19 Jun 2012, 00:36
Thank you for this article! Okay, so we just moved to a very wooded area in Massachusetts. Several weeks ago, I was walking outside at night and saw what looked like an American roach walking across my car...about an inch long, light brown, wings (not extended but they were transparent enough to be able to tell that they were, in fact, wings), six spikey legs, long wiggley antennae...needless to say I FREAKED. Then I began seeing, outside on the front step, what look to be black or dark brown shiny egg casings (only know what roach egg casings look like because I googled them). So for the last several weeks, I've been seeing maybe two or three egg casings on the front step in the morning, but they are gone by the afternoon (where do they go??). Tonight, saw another insect that matched the description of the other one crawling on the house at night next to the outside light. Am thinking they're wood roaches since they want to be in the light, but I haven't seen it fly. I understand that they can't survive, which is good, but I'm a bit concerned about those egg casings and why they're showing up so close to the house. We do have mulch around the house, as well as woods behind the house. Please reassure me that these are most likely wood roaches and I don't have to worry about waking up in the middle of the night with one crawling on my face :) Thanks!!
Ask the Exterminator
19 Jun 2012, 09:33
Sure sounds like wood roaches to me, but if you are far enough south it could also be American roaches, aka palmetto bugs. The egg cases may be attracting hungry spiders.
28 Jul 2012, 22:36
We have detected roaches in and out of our home, since last summer when we had new mulch applied to our landscape. I have taken them in to be identified to a U of M specialist and she tells me they are all wood roaches...BUT when I read your info things to not jive. I have seen a baby one on a bath counter keeled over dead , I saw one scurry when I opened a drawer, another large one in our mud room and on a window in the basement. I see them around the deck at dawn and at is the thing...I have seen so many shapes, sizes and colors [ one was bright orange in our landscape bed and 1" long] Can she be correct in stating they are all WOOD ROACHES ????? Please answer this for me...I would be so grateful to be assured or redirected on what to do.
Ask the Exterminator
30 Jul 2012, 09:47
All houses "breath", allowing inside air to escape to the outside. Insects, including wood roaches, are attracted to the house by lights and when they reach the house they detect cool air coming from the inside. They mistake this cool air for water. Once inside they cannot find water and they die. Sealing the obvious cracks and crevices will help stem this flow of invading insects.
11 Aug 2012, 21:57
OK , But Rick..I would like to know if I am really just dealing with "wood" roaches or more than one species ??? As I said I am in strong suspect they were brought in with the mulch last year..Could the mulch have brought in the other species as well ???? I have seen what my eye tells me; are 6 different looking creatures.
21 Aug 2012, 15:35
We just moved to a rental home in NC about a month ago, and saw an occasional one-two roaches a night, but this past week we have seen at least 4-5 a night. One night we went into the kitchen and turned the light on and counted 25-30 on our counters! We assumed they were regular cockroaches because they were in our kitchen but an exterminator came and saw two we had killed and said they are wood roaches. Is it possible new ones are coming in every night? The exterminator couldn't find where they were coming in from. We are nervous because we have seen them on our clean dishes and seen their droppings, and we have a one year old and I am pregnant. Our landlord has said we could get out of our lease and move, do you think it is worth it or can the problem be easily solved? Thanks for your help.
Ask the Exterminator
21 Aug 2012, 15:42
That is a lot of wood roaches invading your home. They live in nearby trees, but my guess is that somehow they are living inside your roof. Perhaps there is water damaged wood and the roaches are thriving. I'd have someone check out the roof and attic space.
Noami Calds
30 Aug 2012, 11:14
Hello. Over the past few weeks I have noticed a few cockroaches in my bathroom and kitchen. I noticed that there is a hole in the wood by the window in the kitchen and in the wall behind the cooker and another hole in the wooden base heaters in the bathroom. I noticed that there were more around my wooden desk where my computer is. Last night, there were about 30 in and around my desk. It was quite yucky. I had to remove everything from inside the drawers. I sprayed Raid everywhere. I called the super of my building, and The exteriminator has told me to remove all kitchen items from my kitchen, but I am sure that they are wood cockroaches. e came two days ago and sprayed around the skirtng boards-not much help. Please help. Thanks Naomi
01 Oct 2012, 16:47
I'm really hoping these are wood roaches that i'm seeing. Had a tree cut down adjacent to my house a couple of years ago and started seeing these burgers soon after. I had never in over 20 years of owning homes seen one so was kinda freaked. I put boric acid all over the house (only see them downstairs) and began turning off all the lights at nite (per your article). After awhile they stopped coming in but then returned occasionally. It's fall and I'm seeing them again. Actually alot of times they are dead but I was thinking that might be the boric acid. My biggest concern is that they could be Palmetto bugs and what I read about them doesn't sound good. They come in two sizes, the smaller ones being a lighter color than the larger ones.\
Davis Davis
07 Nov 2012, 09:49
Nice. Thanks for the info on this uncommon species.
catalina Casellas
31 Mar 2013, 10:35
I was stung by a wood roach as I was picking it up from my floor using a paper towel ... I proceeded to wash my finger with soap and water, then dipped my finger in alcohol and rubbed it with Neosporin .. should I visit the Dr?
26 Jun 2014, 18:35
Tiara. 'They are reddish above and brown below' 'they are taking over' You actually have the american roach. Look that bug up. Its the species they are saying the wood roach is often mistaken for. You have a case if the reverse. Mistaking the american Roach as the wood roach.
Interesting fact: the American roach is actually from Africa :-). They are tenacious. Highly intelligent. Highly charged. And full of personality that ranges across the spectrum. I can't stand it when a full grown one turns its attention directly at me ...EEK!
24 May 2015, 11:04
leaving fla i once bought a used truck.once in pennsylvania i was getting in the truck in morning;a large fla roach coming out the vent;collecting myself;went to lowes and bought can of roach bomb;shut truck and threw it in;hours later three huge fla roaches.repeated the process;two more;definately fla
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