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Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Facts & Information

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

Madagascar hissing cockroach illustration
Gromphadorhina portentosa
7.5 cm
Wingless with long antennae


How do I get rid of Madagascar hissing cockroaches?

What Orkin Does

Your local Orkin Pro is trained to help manage Madagascar hissing cockroaches and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin Pro will design a unique cockroach treatment program for your situation.

Orkin can provide the right solution to keep cockroaches in their place…out of your home, or business.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Understanding Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches


  • Size: Growing up to 7.5 cm in length, they are one of the largest cockroach species.

  • Color: Madagascar hissing cockroaches are brown in color.

  • Characteristics: Both nymphs and adults are wingless with horns and long antennae. Males have larger pronotal humps on their thorax and bushier antennae than females.


These cockroaches are also commonly referred to as hissing cockroaches. Some people refer to them as giant cockroaches. Despite their large size, Madagascar hissing cockroaches are capable of hiding within incredibly narrow spaces.


In their natural environment, they are helpful as consumers of carrion and decay. Hissing cockroaches are omnivores which feed primarily on:

  • Animal carcasses

  • Fallen fruit

  • Rotting plants

  • Small insects


These large pests thrive in warm climates and become sluggish as temperatures cool. Madagascar hissing cockroaches live in moist areas including:

  • Beneath rotten logs

  • Forest floors

  • Tropical areas

Geographical Range

These roaches are native to Madagascar. Because they aren’t native to the country, these pests are rarely the cause of cockroach infestations in the house.

Life Cycle

Young Madagascar hissing cockroaches stay in close contact with females for an extended period of time after birth. Nymphs undergo six molts in a span of approximately seven months before reaching the adult stage and can live up to five years.


The Madagascar hissing cockroach is the only known insect species capable of hissing. While other insects create sound by rubbing body parts together, these cockroaches hiss by releasing air from their abdominal spiracles. These roaches produce two kinds of hisses: upon reaching a certain developmental stage, all hissing cockroaches can produce the disturbance hiss, but only males ever emit the fighting hiss.

Male cockroaches establish and defend territories using a unique sound. They are very territorial and use their horns in combat. Females only hiss when disturbed. The hiss plays an important role in:

  • Colony hierarchy

  • Communication

  • Courtship

Male Madagascar hissing cockroaches hiss to communicate with other cockroaches to:

  • Attract mates

  • Scare off enemies

  • Warn others

More Information

Madagascar hissing cockroaches are one of the largest cockroach species. Male Madagascar hissing cockroaches have larger pronotal humps on their thorax and bushier antennae than females.

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