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How to Identify and Get Rid of Roaches

Protect your home or business from cockroaches by learning techniques for identification and control.

Cockroach illustration
Order Blattodea


Types of Cockroaches

What do cockroaches look like?

Cockroaches can measure over 50 mm (2 in) length, with tropical species tending to be larger than those found in other climates. Cockroaches have six legs, two antennae and some even have wings. However, most winged cockroaches are not particularly adept at flying. With flat, oval-shaped bodies, these pests are often oily to the touch and may be cool or warm, depending on the temperature of their environment. Cockroaches in the house are better at hiding than you are at finding them, and their eggs are naturally protected from many over-the-counter insecticides and are elusive when it comes to cockroach traps. Without special equipment, materials and know-how, pest control for cockroaches can be a losing battle. Read more about what a cockroach looks like.

Do Albino Cockroaches Exist? | Identify White Roaches

Albino Cockroach

What Do American Cockroaches Look Like? | Get Rid of Roaches

American Cockroach

Periplaneta americana

Differences between Asian Roaches vs. German Roaches

Asian Cockroach

Blattella asahinai

Australian Cockroach Facts and Information

Australian Cockroach

Periplaneta australasiae

Brown Banded Cockroaches

Brown Banded Cockroach

Supella longipalpa

Cinereous (Lobster) Cockroaches

Lobster Cockroach

Nauphoeta cinerea

Cuban Cockroach Identification | Cockroach Control

Cuban Cockroach

Panchlora nivea

Death Head Cockroach Identification | Get Rid of Roaches

Death Head Cockroach

Blaberus craniifer

Field Cockroaches

Field Cockroach

Blattella vaga

Florida Woods Cockroaches

Florida Woods Cockroach

Eurycotis floridana

German Cockroaches

German Cockroach

Blattella germanica

Green Cockroaches

Green Cockroach

Panchlora nivea

Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Gromphadorhina portentosa

Madeira Cockroaches

Madeira Cockroach

Rhyparobia maderae

Oriental Cockroaches

Oriental Cockroach

Blatta orientalis

Pacific Beetle Cockroaches

Pacific Beetle Cockroach

Diploptera punctata

Pale-bordered Field Cockroaches

Pale-Bordered Field Cockroach

Pseudomops septentrionalis

Sand Cockroaches

Sand Cockroach

Sub-family Corydiidae

Smokybrown Cockroaches

Smokybrown Cockroach

Periplaneta fuliginosa

Turkestan Cockroaches

Turkestan Cockroach

Blatta lateralis

Wood Cockroaches

Wood Cockroach

Parcoblatta pensylvanica

Cockroach Treatment

How do I get rid of cockroaches?

What Orkin Does

While a cockroach infestation is one of the most common pest problems, it’s also one of the most stubborn. Since every home is different, an Orkin Pro can design a unique cockroach treatment program perfect for your needs.

Getting rid of roaches and keeping them out of your home or building is an ongoing process, not a one-time treatment. Orkin’s exclusive Points of Service is a continuing cycle of 5 critical steps that provides an effective strategy for pest control of roaches and other pests.

  • We Investigate: We’ll inspect your home from top to bottom, inside and out, for current or potential cockroach problems.

  • We Protect: We’ll treat the perimeter of your structure with the appropriate materials, remove all accessible cockroach nests and use the safest methods available.

  • We Fortify: We’ll do everything we can to keep roaches out--seal, caulk, plug, and secure gaps and cracks.

  • We Keep Watch: We’ll treat the interior of your home and install pest monitors in critical areas such as kitchens, baths, utility rooms, and garages.

  • We Report: We’ll always provide a detailed report of services rendered and recommendations to help keep your home free of cockroaches and other pests.

  • We Follow up: We’ll stay in touch between our regularly scheduled visits and respond to any immediate needs.

Orkin's roach exterminators can provide the right solution for a cockroach infestation to keep roaches in their place… out of your home or business.

If you believe you have identified a cockroach infestation within your home or business, contact your local Orkin branch to discuss inspection and customized solutions.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Close up of cockroach

Cockroach Facts

Understanding Cockroach Problems

The more you know about cockroaches, the better you can predict and control their behavior. Here are some quick facts to help you on your way.


Cockroaches belong to Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Arthropoda, Class Insecta and Order Blattaria. Some species invade human dwellings and are considered pests.

Risk of Disease

The pest cockroaches can be carriers of various diseases because they are commonly found near waste deposits or in the kitchen where food is present.

Environmental Impact

Some cockroaches are beneficial to the environment as important recyclers of decaying organic material.

More Resources

Dig Deeper on Cockroaches

Visit the Orkin Pest Library to learn how to identify and control other pests.
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Cockroach Infestation

Signs of Cockroach Infestation

A few telltale signs of a possible roach infestation are visible droppings, a strong and unpleasant odor and oval-shaped eggs in hidden locations.

Do Cockroaches Bite?

Although they are omnivores that eat plants and meat, cockroaches have been recorded to eat human flesh, although they’re more likely to take a bite of fingernails, eyelashes, feet and hands.

Cockroach Feces

Cockroach droppings will be visible during an infestation; the quantity of visible feces is oftentimes a good indicator of the level or duration of roach infestation.

Cockroach Infestation in Your Apartment

Eliminating cockroaches in an apartment requires a combined effort on the part of property management, tenants and pest control professionals.

Where Do Cockroaches Live?

A cockroach is able to survive almost anywhere that food, water and shelter are available, and can most commonly be found around food prep areas, inside cabinets, under sinks, in or around garbage cans and in cool, dark spaces like cellars.

Cockroach Pest Control

Cockroach Foggers

Also called cockroach bombs, foggers are a form of pest control that releases a mist of pesticides into the air and unfortunately, isn’t the most effective at getting rid of roaches.

Cockroach Gel Bait

Often ineffective for several reasons, this method works by enticing cockroaches to eat gel bait that contains an insecticide.

Boric Acid and Cockroaches

Using boric acid on cockroaches can work, but correct application is key and improper use in a home can also cause several problems.

Cockroach Traps

While traps are great for helping to identify and monitor a cockroach problem, they are not effective at controlling and getting rid of an entire roach infestation.

Can Mothballs Repel Pests?

Mothballs aren't an effective cockroach control option for long-term use.

Does Vinegar Repel Cockroaches?

Although it can be used for fruit fly infestations, vinegar does not repel roaches.

Cockroach Facts

Scientific Name for Cockroach

Under the Kingdom Animalia, cockroaches belong to the Phylum Arthropoda, Class Insecta, and Order Blattodea. The Order name is derived from the Greek blatta.

What Do Cockroaches Eat

As omnivorous scavengers, cockroaches will consume any organic food source available to them, with a preference for sweets, meats and starches. They are also known to consume other items such as hair, books and decaying matter.

Largest Cockroach

Although several cockroach species are considered giant, the most well-known are the Madagascar hissing cockroaches and the rhinoceros cockroaches.

Cockroach Predators

Cockroaches play a vital role in the ecosystem and serve as a food source for a handful of predators like toads and frogs, mice and shrews and other insects or arachnids.

Cockroach Activity

Most active at night, cockroaches are often found in dark, warm and moist areas inside houses, hotels and restaurants and are social insects that usually live in groups.

Cockroach Anatomy

Learn about the anatomical makeup of a cockroach and what makes their body so unique for a variety of habitats.

Cockroach Identification

Green Cockroaches

Discover some helpful tips for homeowners who want to prevent green cockroach infestations.

Sand Cockroaches

Considering how little is known about the damage sand cockroaches can do, residents should remove any they may find.

Surinam Cockroaches

Prevent cockroach issues by following these helpful tips to prevent this common plant pest from entering your home or garden.

Wood Cockroaches

Follow these helpful tips for preventing an infestation of wood cockroaches in or around your home.

What Do Cockroaches Look Like?

Cockroaches have flat, oval-shaped bodies and a small head with a shield-like cover.

Difference Between a Water Bug and a Cockroach

While there are a few physical discrepancies, one main difference is that although cockroaches gather in warm, moist areas, they are not aquatic like true waterbugs.

Difference between a Cockroach and a Palmetto Bug

The term "palmetto bug" is a general name commonly used to refer to several species of cockroaches in the southern U.S. and even some beetles.

Bugs That Look Like Roaches But Aren’t

Learn about the top lookalike pests that are commonly mistaken for cockroaches.

Types of Cockroaches

Cockroaches have existed for millions of years, and there are thousands of cockroach types throughout the world today, including the main roaches we most commonly come across.

Lifecycle of a Cockroach

Cockroach Eggs

Female cockroaches produce egg cases, known as oothecae, which hatch within 24 to 38 days of being laid.

Cockroach Nymphs

Known as nymphs, baby cockroaches are bright white and darken with each progressive molt. The nymphal development to adulthood ranges in length from months to over a year.

Cockroach Gestation

Cockroach "gestation" begins when a female specimen creates an ootheca, or an egg case, which contains a number of eggs.

Cockroach Stages

Cockroaches undergo egg and nymphal stages before becoming adults. The average adult cockroach lifespan is about a year, depending on their species.

Can We Help Orkin Rid Our Home of Roaches?

While your home is being treated for roaches, there's a few ways you can help get rid of roaches, including sealing gaps and cracks in your home, and maintaining a clean environment.

Is One Cockroach a Sign of Infestation?

While one roach isn't always a sign of a hidden infestation, it is a sign that a cockroach infestation may develop without help from an Orkin Pro.

How Much Does Cockroach Treatment Cost?

Determining the cost of cockroach treatment will depend on the size of the infestation. A full inspection from an Orkin Pro will help determine the cost.

How Long Does it Take to Get Rid of Roaches?

Several factors may affect how long it takes to get rid of roaches, including the size of the infestation, the state of the environment, and which pest treatment techniques the cockroach exterminator uses.

How Long Does it Take for Cockroaches to Die After Roach Exterminator Visits?

Depending on the size and species of a roach infestation, it might take one or more visits from your Orkin Pro to get rid of cockroaches in your home.

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