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The Brownbanded – A Different Kind of Cockroach

By Chris Williams on May 14, 2014.

Brownbanded cockroachIn the Northeast, as in the rest of the nation, the German cockroach (Blatella germanica) is our most common household cockroach. If you’ve ever stayed in a place that had cockroaches, it was probably the small, dark German cockroach that you saw running around.

We do have other cockroaches that occasionally become pests in homes. One that we see from time to time is the brownbanded cockroach, Supella longipalpa, not the “brown bandit” cockroach, as I’ve heard it called.

The brownbanded cockroach is about the same size as the German cockroach (1/2 inch long). It gets its name because it has two cream-colored bands that run crosswise over its back. The male has wings and can fly. The female has very short wings and cannot fly.

To a pest control professional, what makes brownbanded cockroaches interesting is their very different habits when compared to German cockroaches. Brownbandeds like warmer temperatures (80 degrees or above) and for that reason are usually found in warmer and higher places near ceilings, on closet shelves, or in attics. Back in the day, when electronics were boxes that gave off heat, we would commonly find brownbandeds inside TV sets. They still like the warm innards of refrigerators and microwaves and they seem to prefer living in dressers and other furniture.

Because they require less water than German cockroaches, brownbandeds are often found in bedrooms while Germans usually hang out in damper kitchens and bathrooms. Brownbandeds like to feed on starchy foods like wallpaper paste and book bindings so they don’t really need to go near the kitchen for either water or food.

Unlike the German cockroach that carries her egg case with her, the brownbanded female glues her egg case to a vertical surface. It’s not unusual to see several egg cases, looking like a bunch of seeds, all stuck side-by-side in a closet, behind a picture, or under a table. The cockroaches prefer to rest on high vertical surfaces, too.

For all of these reasons, brownbanded cockroaches provide a little more of a challenge for exterminators. If you try to control them in the same places and in the same ways as German cockroaches, you’re not going to have much luck. That’s why it’s important to know your pest…and at Colonial, we do.

Photo credit: cdresz / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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