American Cockroach

Actual Size: 2.1”

Characteristics: Brown to reddish brown; winged

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Primarily live outdoors but can be found in sewers and drains across the Northern United States. In the Southern United States, they are found in shady garden areas and yards.


  • May carry disease-causing bacteria that are associated with these putrid conditions
  • Largest of the house-infesting cockroaches
  • Attracted to alcoholic beverages, especially beer

American Cockroaches in Santa Fe and Albuquerque NM

American cockroaches have the classic appearance many people think of when they think of roaches. They are nearly red in color with large antennae. They move very quickly, and at nearly 2 inches in length, can be a frightening sight to behold. They are often called water bugs or palmetto bugs. Despite its name, the American cockroach is not native to North America and was probably introduced via ships from Africa. It is currently found throughout the United States and is a frequent problem for New Mexico property owners. Adults can live up to one year and an adult female will produce an average of 150 offspring.

American Cockroach Environment

American cockroaches can be found both outside and inside. It is a common inhabitant of sewers, storm drainage systems, prisons, factories, hospitals, and hotels. The American cockroach is omnivorous and an opportunistic feeder, making it apt to live in many types of environments.  American cockroaches prefer warm, damp environments and can often be found outdoors around drains, garbage bins, trees and wood piles. When these roaches venture inside homes in search of food, they often live in damp areas such as basements, garages, kitchens and bathrooms.

American Cockroach Behavior & Threats

American cockroaches can bite, but thankfully, rarely do so. In fact, they will attempt to leave you alone. These cockroaches are considered dangerous pests because they breed and feed in unsanitary areas close to humans, such as garbage storage, sewage systems, and septic tanks. American cockroaches have a characteristic odor when present and can contaminate human food and surfaces with their feces and body parts. Foraging cockroaches can also be vectors of disease, depositing germs or bacteria in areas they inhabit and causing asthma attacks in some people sensitive to cockroach allergens. Always contact a professional cockroach removal expert for help with American cockroaches.