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Smokybrown Cockroach Facts & Information

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

Smokybrown cockroach illustration
Periplaneta fuliginosa
38 mm
Strong fliers
Long wings
Shiny black or mahogany


How do I get rid of smokybrown cockroaches?

What Orkin Does

Your local Orkin Pro is trained to help manage smokybrown 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 smokybrown roaches in their place...out of your home, or business. For help getting rid of roaches and other pests, contact your local Orkin branch.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Understanding Smokybrown Cockroaches

What do smokybrown cockroaches look like?

  • Length: Adults can reach 38 mm long.

  • Wings: These strong fliers have wings that extend beyond their body.

  • Color: Adults have a shiny appearance and are uniformly a black, mahogany color. The later nymphs are similar in color as adults, but the early nymphal stages have a whitish colored stripe on their thorax and on the tips their antennae. These roaches are often found in leaf litter and mulch, so their coloration helps to hide or camouflage them against predators.

Where do smokybrown cockroaches live?

The smokybrown cockroach is a common pest of the southeastern United States. Although mainly found from central Texas eastward to Florida (They are major pests in cities such as Houston and New Orleans), and as far north as North Carolina, the smokybrown cockroach also has been found as far north as Indiana and Illinois. They have also been found in Southern California.

Smokybrown Cockroach Habitat

These large cockroaches live in areas that are warm, with high humidity and in wooded areas where they are often found in tree holes and under mulch. Outdoors, smokybrown cockroaches can be found in areas that are warm, very moist and protected from the elements. Since this insect is prone to dehydration, the availability of a moist environment is critical for its survival.

They are nocturnal and hide in small places during the day, making themselves inaccessible to humans and predators. They prefer non-dwelling areas such as greenhouses, nurseries, and gardens. Around homes and structures the smokybrown cockroach can be found:

  • In tree holes and cavities

  • Beneath mulch beds and ground cover

  • Around soffits, eaves, and gutters, or areas where moisture problems may exist

  • In gutters

Inside, they breed in attics, where their populations can grow unnoticed.

What do smokybrown cockroaches eat?

Smokybrown cockroach feeding activity is most evident during the late dusk or early dawn hours when the insects leave their hiding places in search of food. It is also not uncommon to see these insects taking a drink when water is available.

While smokybrown cockroaches prefer to eat decaying plant matter, the opportunistic feeders will consume any food source available to them, such as:

  • Dead insects

  • Fecal matter

  • Meats

  • Starches

  • Sweets

Cockroach Reproduction Cycle

What is the lifespan of smokybrown cockroaches?

Depending on environmental conditions, the development time for a smokybrown cockroach, from egg to adult, can vary greatly, with a range of 160 days to 716 days. As adults, a female lives an average of 218 days, and a male will live, on average, 215 days.

The lifespan of smokybrown cockroaches averages over a year, although they can live as long as 2 years or more under ideal conditions.

Cockroach Egg Cases

Females can produce an average of 10 egg cases, or ootheca, with an average of 20 cockroach eggs per case. Each female can produce up to 32 oothecae in one lifetime. These egg cases are then attached to a protected surface within a day of production, where they will remain until the young hatch.

More Information

Although smokybrown cockroaches are related to the American cockroaches, they are slightly smaller in size and uniformly mahogany in color.

Can the Smokybrown Cockroach Fly?

Adult smokybrown cockroaches have wings and can fly.

Does the Smokybrown Cockroach Bite?

Smokybrown cockroach bites are very rare.

Smokybrown Cockroach Nymphs

"Baby" smokybrown cockroaches are actually referring to the nymph stage of the roaches' life cycle.

Smokybrown Cockroach Life Cycle

Smokybrown cockroaches have three stages in their life cycle-- egg, nymph, and adult.

Smokybrown Cockroach vs. American Cockroach

Learn more about the differences between smokybrown and American cockroaches, including their appearance and habitats.

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