Periplaneta brunnea, or the “brown cockroach,” as it is more commonly known, is a common household pest in most areas of Texas despite not being particularly well known to the public. The lack of public familiarity with the brown cockroach is likely due to its close resemblance to the very well known American cockroach. There are very few physical features that differentiate brown cockroaches from American cockroaches, as they are both brown in color and are relatively large in size. Both brown and American cockroaches are between 1 ¼ and 2 inches in length, are brown in color, and each species possesses a yellowish band directly behind the head. However, brown cockroaches are slightly darker and wider than American cockroaches, and only the latter possesses wings that extend beyond the abdomen. While it is difficult to tell brown and American cockroaches apart, they each exhibit different pest behaviors within homes. Surprisingly, brown cockroaches are even more abundant in certain areas of Texas than American cockroaches.
The brown cockroach is native to the tropics, and due to their intolerance to the cold, their non-native habitat in the US is largely restricted to the southern states, especially Texas. In the rare instances in which brown cockroaches were found in northern regions of the US, their habitat had been limited solely to indoor environments. Female brown cockroaches mate quickly once they reach adulthood, and within two to three weeks following copulation, females deposit their egg case within a protected indoor area. Cockroach egg sacs are known as “oothecae” (plural), and the oothecae deposited by female brown cockroaches contain an average of 24 eggs. Females can deposit as many as 30 oothecae during their lifetime, and brown cockroaches reproduce more rapidly than American cockroaches. Brown cockroach oothecae are around ½ inch in length, and they are initially brown, but they blacken with age. It is difficult to locate an ootheca within homes, as female cockroaches take measures to hide oothecae after depositing them. Female brown cockroaches use a salivary substance to paste their oothecae to vertical surfaces before hiding them in nearby debris to prevent other roaches from finding and eating the eggs. It takes around 340 days for brown cockroach eggs to develop into adults, which is shorter than the American cockroach life cycle. Brown cockroaches are well controlled with baits.
Have you ever encountered 2 inch cockroaches within your home?