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American Wood Roach Identification

Frequently Asked Questions About American Wood Roaches

What are American wood roaches?

American wood roaches are outdoor dwelling insects that are native to North America including the Fairfax, VA and the surrounding areas. These pest are of genus Parcoblatta, family Ectobiidae, and order Blattodea. Wood roaches are smaller than the average cockroach, measuring around 3/4 to 1 1/4 inches long. They have flat, oval-shaped bodies and one pair of wings, allowing them to only fly short distances. They are light beige to brown in color and they have six legs; each leg has spikes on it, used to help them climb and forage for food. They have two long antennae (longer than the length of their body). They follow the traditional cockroach lifestyle, moving from an egg to a nymph to an adult.

a wood roach on plants

Where do American wood roaches live?

Wood roaches originate outdoors, preferring to live outside, away from humans. They are found in the wild, living in moist woodlands and making their breeding grounds inside woodpiles and loose bark.

Here are some of the most common habitats of wood roaches:

  • Areas where plant materials accumulate and decay 
  • Leaf piles, firewood, and fallen logs
  • Rotten wood of uprooted and dying trees

If wood roaches do somehow make their way inside, they tend to gravitate towards crawl spaces and gutters. Because they require high humidity levels to survive, they cannot last indoors for long periods. In fact, they usually die out within a few days of finding their way inside.

Are American wood roaches dangerous?

The good news about American wood roaches in Fairfax, VA is that they are one of the least threatening species of cockroaches out there. They do not harm furniture or the structural elements of the house, so property damage isn’t a concern like with most wood-eating insects. Wood roaches actually act as a natural source of control for dead plant matter like decomposing leaves and rotting wood.

However, like other roaches, they are capable of causing contamination. Since they feast on rotten vegetation and dead wood, they can pick up bacteria and germs and spread them once entering your home. Fortunately, they rarely enter our homes, so contamination isn’t a huge concern. 

What do American wood roaches eat?

Wood roaches feed on decaying organic matter. They are attracted to light, and they forage for food during the day, preferring to eat leaves, bark, and woodWhen inside, they feed on house plants and firewood. They have special strands of yeast in their gut to help them process the nutrients in wood and plant matter. They don’t usually eat human food, but they can turn to these food sources as a last resort.

How do I know if I have an American wood roach problem?

Wood roaches are most troublesome during the months of May and June, as that is their mating season. If you live in a house near a forest, your property is more susceptible to wood roach activity. Also, if your home is surrounded by dead wood and organic materials, conditions are more conducive to their presence.

How to protect your property from American wood roaches

Wood roaches are resistant to average pesticides, so it’s important to take preventative measures to keep them off your property.

Here are some tips for avoiding wood roach infestation:

  • Inspect your firewood for any roach eggs.
  • Keep woodpiles away from the house. 
  • Make sure doors and windows are tight-fitting.
  • Seal all cracks, crevices, gaps, and potential entry points.
  • Store firewood outdoors and keep a good distance from any structure.
  • Turn off porch lights, indoor lamps, and night lights.

While being proactive is a great way to go, no roach control method is ever as fast or efficient as professional home pest control and commercial pest control services. Call SPRK Pest Solutions today to learn more about our wood roach treatments.

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