Talk:American cockroach

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Public Health implications[edit]

This article is missing the most important information: Do these creatures have any significant impact on human health? Do they carry disease? Do they cause adverse health reactions? Do they compete with humans for resources? Having read this articel I still have no idea if an infestation is just a cosmetic nusance or an actual hazard? Please could someone knowledgable expand on this issue? (talk) 23:54, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Palmetto Bug size..[edit]

Don't know about most places, but I know in Louisiana and Alabama cockroaches really aren't the cute little 1 inch to 1 1/2 inch size. Try 2-3 inches plus. And armored. Also, from what I understand, Palmetto bugs are solitary while the cute little ones hang out in large groups. Oh, and palmetto bugs fly. - —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Maribars (talkcontribs). 22:35, May 7, 2006

Not the same bug? - CobaltBlueTony 21:15, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
No, it's the same bug, but the ones up North never metamorphose out of nymph stage, from what I understand. Not warm enough. In the South they proceed to adult size, grow wings, and make this horrifying barking noise when they fly. People have been known to sit on their porches and pick them off with .22 caliber rifles. --Starkruzr 17:39, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
I think I know what you're talking about. And I think you're right it is pretty rare to see them up here in the North. I live by New York City. In my old apartment (thank god I've moved out of that rat and cockroach infested place) there were always bugs around. But one time I saw a couple of fully grown flying american cockroaches in the bathroom. And they made an clipping sound sound. I've only seen them once, thank god. That's one of the reasons I left that apartment and live in a house. --Lord Vader 00:51, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

They're pretty far off the mark with the size of these bugs. I'm on vacation in Florida, and I just watched one come up my shower drain that was at least three, probably more like four inches (without the antenna). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bat1425 (talkcontribs) 03:10, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

I agree about the size (in Texas this time of year, 2.5" cockroaches are everywhere, and I swear the one I killed in my house last night was almost 3" long). In fact, the second external link at the bottom of the article, the Ohio State University article, states that the adult can reach 2.1 inches, which is closer but still too small in my opinion. A change to the largest cited size seems appropriate to me. The use of the term "average length" is throwing me off -- how do you decide what is average? Is this a typical way to measure the size of insects? Maybe up in the north they don't get as big, but I would be surprised to learn that 1.6" is average in any southern state. Caffeinebump 18:39, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, these things are at least 2" long here in North Carolina. And they do fly, but prefer to scurry when threatened --Jepflast (talk) 18:20, 21 June 2010 (UTC).

Average size here in Hawaii is 2-2.5" long body (without antenna) and about 1" wide fully grown. Also they are quite aggressive. If you try to spray them, they will fly right at you to land on you. Try to swat them and they run at you. They are not afraid of anything at all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:11, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

This is incorrect, the American cockroach is NOT the same as the "palmetto bug". The larger, flightless insect being discussed in the comments is likely the Florida woods roach (see photo and description here: It's larger, and has only barely noticeable vestigial wings, and emits an odor when frightened or crushed. The woods roach (which has its own, very short, entry on wikipedia) is what I and everyone else I know in the South have always called a "palmetto bug". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:10, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

We call big American Cockroaches here Palmetto bugs.

Change the "misidentified" to something else explaining two different bugs called palmetto bugs. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:45, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Free image request[edit]

How's it going, guys and gals? I noticed that the image used to illustrate this article is copyrighted and could do with a free replacement. Can anyone provide a PD/GPL/etc. image of an American cockroach? I'll say thank you really loud! Lusanaherandraton 04:55, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

Could use Some expansion[edit]

I'm willing to do what I can, but I think this as an article that needs some serious expansion. RatherBeBiking 04:08, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

Can they really fly?[edit]

I sprayed one with Raid once and watched it try to fly but it hit the floor pretty quick. A lot of people don't believe me that I saw one "fly". How well do they fly? Can they travel decent distances by air or can they only sort-of fly?

While I'm not sure how far they can fly, as a Texan I can definitely attest that they do fly. (To stick to the subject of WP article improvement: The ref from Harvard says it's the males that fly, which I believe was incorporated into the WP article, though I'll check.) I've largely given up spraying them with Raid precisely because that seems to be a major trigger prompting them to fly, which scares the ---- out of me.Lawikitejana (talk) 07:22, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
They can fly for several meters if they are able to climb somewhere first. That is, normally they can't take off from the floor, they must jump from some height (which may be as little as 20 cm). (talk) 08:26, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
The previous comment is basically correct - they "fly" somewhat akin to the way a "flying squirrel" flies, albeit flapping their wings instead of gliding - but climbing up high and losing altitude quickly. The article states that this is "rare," which is NOT my experience. If you live in an infested area, you will see them fly quite frequently. Not as often as mosquitoes, but not just when they are sprayed with insecticide. While my current residence is curiously devoid of roaches (even without a great deal of effort on my part), in past residences (mine and others'), it was not unusual to see several to many "in flight" in a month until extermination efforts could be taken. Samatva (talk) 17:32, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
I can certainly vouch for this. I just saw a giant cockroach fly in my living room and I was looking on Wikipedia to find out where they don't have giant cockroaches when i saw "They have been known to fly, but this is rare." As you said, in my experience, this is not rare. I live in New Orleans and I think if I had to choose between getting rid of cockroaches or hurricanes, I'd choose cockroaches. God, I hate those bastards. (talk) 04:19, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
In my experience, the adults are able to fly (and, one should note, they have fully developed wings, unlike some other species of cockroach) but they prefer not to fly. I was sitting quietly at home one evening, untroubled by cockroaches, and had a visitor. Within seconds after he entered, they had come out of crevices or from under furniture and were flying everywhere around the room. There may have been a dozen of them, and I had not suspected that they were there. I think my visitor had used some sort of hair oil or body spray that simply drove them crazy. (talk) 18:54, 8 May 2017 (UTC)Eric
I have absolutely witnessed one of these fly across my face and the entire length of my living room, landing on the wall behind me. Perhaps it started from high up and may have somehow been a glide, but if asked i would say yes it can fly.--Mapsfly (talk) 00:08, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
"The article states that this is "rare," which is NOT my experience...". I have seen some flying, and yes, straight from the ground. I don't really know if this is a misconception or what, but apparently some cockroaches do fly often when i try to kill them, while others don't. Some people from here thinks that there is a common and a flying species, others that this is an individual thing. Maybe a learned behavior? Is much harder to kill one while it is "flying", i mean, at least without contaminating your bare hands with cockroach fluids (which is generally avoided by the humans i know). Gottliber (talk) 11:48, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

"You must destroy them before they gain air superiority and are harder to kill" - Roffles - AThousandYoung (talk) 23:03, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

Flying cockroaches[edit]

I have just been introduced to these terrifying creatures. Living in the tropics (Seychelles), we open the large patio doors to cool down and on a number of occasions, especially when the warm wind blows, these huge 2 inch plus bugs came flying in, en masse. They seem to be attracted to the light (unusual for cockroaches who usually skulk around in the dark). When they land, they move so fast it is frightening. I have always had a cockroach phobia, and this has put me over the edge. Do they nest in houses? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs). Holy Sh*t! These bugs are huge... I had the honor of finding two today in my apartment; thanks to my puppy who wanted to play with them. I would never make it on Fear Factor; don't think I'll sleep tonight; 2nd one measured 1 & 1/2 inches long; just a baby compared to the one I saw at 6:30am..... didn't measure him.. Linda, Atlanta, GA

"The insect is believed to have originated from Antartica, " .. is this true?[edit]


Are they really from there? I'm just quoting this from what the article says right now.


Very unlikely. The article states that the cockroach is found "near human habitations due to its lack of cold tolerance" and that it "prefers warmer climates and is not cold tolerant".

A quick look at the articles history reveals this edit to be at fault, probably vandalism.

However, even prior to that edit it was claimed that the Periplaneta americana probably originated in Asia. AFAIK it is commonly believed that it originated in Africa.

Fixed now.

-- 18:15, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Too many images?[edit]

This article looks like it might have too many images for its relatively small amount of text... usually, one image would be enough for an article of this size, unless there was something that really called for more. It's bad enough that it's disrupting the text on most resolutions. Would anyone have any objection to choosing one image and cleaning out the rest? --Aquillion 22:06, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

I disagree. We just found such a beast here and I am glad I could compare it with the images here to verify that it indeed is an American cockroach. Oku 19:45, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

It would be nice to add an image of an immature one. All images currently in the article show winged adults. —BarrelProof (talk) 21:07, 1 December 2014 (UTC)


I've heard people have EATEN these things. Should this be mentioned ? Heard they're bought at the local grocery AS food. 02:14, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

American cockroaches are edible. In fact, there are several books on cooking and eating arthropods that include information on preparing cockroaches (for example, see the book Eat-a-Bug Cookbook: 33 Ways to Cook Grasshoppers, Ants, Water Bugs, Spiders, Centipedes, and their Kin (Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 1998), which includes a chapter with recipes for preparing cockroaches). I'm not sure that this information is important enough to be included in the encyclopedia, though, since it's more of a curiosity than a fact about cockroaches themselves. Caffeinebump (talk) 19:42, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Conservation status of a roach?[edit]

The article highlights the conservation status of a cockroach!!! A cockroach! You have got to be kidding me! Some of the wikipedia articles on well known endangered species of fauna and flora don't have their conservation status highlighted! But you have got that for a roach in this article!

Somebody is really giving these insects their share of the due, huh!

We can dream, can't we? - Richfife (talk) 19:59, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

Control Section[edit]

As nice as the section is, it just doesn't fit right here in an encyclopedia entry, it gives step by step instructions of how to get rid of them... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:22, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

roaches? do they have a queen and are they A sexual?[edit]


Does that really say 'citation needed'[edit]

For the statement that cockroaches are often considered a pest? Really? Perhaps some things can be taken as fact unless challenged. --Dilapidus (talk) 00:27, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Moving indoors[edit]

The article states that American cockroaches often come indoors during the winter looking for warm weather, however the majority of appearances of cockroaches indoors seems to be in the summer, particularly during periods of drought, as the cockroach searches for water. For this reason, cockroaches are normally close to death when found indoors during the summer as they have been forced to come out of their favored environment of dark places. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:23, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

 This is not my experience. They come inside in the wettest of summers in Florida;often it seems that a rainy night invites an invasion.

Family is NOT Actinopterygii[edit]

Actinopterygii only consists of types of fish. The correct family is Blattidae according to numerous sources. There is absolutely NOTHING to attest to the American Cockroach belonging to Actinopterygii! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:50, 21 April 2012 (UTC) Apparently, Loof Lirpa, the Weekly World News and your mother reclassified it as a carnivoran. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:49, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

i saw this roach in puerto rico and dominican republic... why are they called american rocahes? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Arimamba (talkcontribs) 20:21, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

Purposed Section: "Kill it with Fire"[edit]

I would like to purpose a section, "Kill it with Fire", in which we can go into detail about how to kill American Cockroaches. Preferably with fire. Jessyisasmith (talk) 16:34, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

'History' section is too broad[edit]

The History section describes the early fossil history of cockroaches and their ancestors in general, rather than saying anything specific about the American cockroach. It seems out of place and would fit better in another article. Cephal-odd (talk) 19:43, 22 January 2013 (UTC) American Cockroaches also like hospitals as places to stay


Cosmetic companies reportedly use them as a source of protein and for a “cellulose-like substance” on their wings, according to the Times. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:20, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

At least five pharmaceutical companies are using cockroaches for traditional Chinese medicine. Research is underway in China (and South Korea) on the use of pulverized cockroaches for treating baldness, AIDS and cancer and as a vitamin supplement. South Korea's Jeonnam Province Agricultural Research Institute and China's Dali University College of Pharmacy have published papers on the anti-carcinogenic properties of the cockroach. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:18, 16 October 2013 (UTC),0,4704825.htmlstory — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:16, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

"Palmetto bug" - alternate common name or misidentification?[edit]

I tend to agree with the current article position that calling this species a palmetto bug is a mistake/misidentification, but it doesn't seem so clear cut that it should be stated as a irrefutable fact. I've added a citation to an Orlando Sentinel article that cites a book which says that two kinds of insects are referred to as palmetto bugs, but then defers to an associate professor who says the American cockroach is "not a true palmetto bug."

However, I also linked an Encyclopedia of Life entry which says palmetto bug is a common name for the P. americana, which in turn cites as a source a Harvard University Press book already cited in this article to substantiate the use of the common name "water bug" (Cassidy & Hall's 2002 "Dictionary of American Regional English" - not available online and I don't know what it says). While that book and are generally considered reliable sources, it's effectively a single source (since EoL is going by the book), and I think it's plausible that the single source is simply mistaken on this point.

I've found few print references to palmetto bugs until the late 1990s, although a 1964 St Petersburg Times article suggesting the palmetto bug as a state insect makes it clear the term has been in common usage for a long time. No early sources address the question of the specific species referred to by the name.

Agyle (talk) 12:24, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

After further research, I found a dozen books that state "palmetto bug" refers either to P. american or to multiple species. Here are a few with quotations:
Agyle (talk) 13:56, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

Challenged source[edit]

This edit changed the flying status of Oriental cockroaches from No to Yes, removed the source saying they didn't see where in the cited reference, and supplying no alternative source. The statement is based on page 51 of the cited source, first paragraph under the section "Oriental cockroach, waterbug, Blatta orientalis", which reads: "Wings of the male cover two-thirds of the abdomen, while female wings extend slightly past the thorax; neither sex is capable of flying." Agyle (talk) 08:49, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Move comparison table[edit]

I suggest to move the table under Comparison of three common cockroaches to the Cockroach article (e.g. section Notable species), because it contains information regarding several species. I hope that this is possible without importing/copying the editing history. --Mopskatze (talk) 13:14, 23 August 2014 (UTC)


Some editor seems to have thought this cockroach is American or that our readers live in cold weather climates. Such generalizations can only harm the encyclopedia, this is primarily a tropical cockroach and the cold weather bias simply unacceptable. ♫ SqueakBox talk contribs 23:28, 1 August 2015 (UTC)

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Citation Challenge[edit]

The book linked in Cite #19 does not refer to 'American Cockroaches' at all, only the other two varieties. Additionally, the information linked should probably be page 223 in the google books version, not 317. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:17, 7 December 2017 (UTC)