By Chris Williams on March 16, 2017.

The community room of our condo building is on the lowest level near the parking garage. On more than one occasion when we’ve been having a board meeting there, we’ve seen really large reddish-brown cockroaches. I think they’re coming in from the parking garage but the others think they’re migrating from the bakery next door. What should we do to keep them out? L. A., Boston, MA

I think you might be talking about American cockroaches. They are the largest cockroach (1-1/2 to 2 inches long) that gets into buildings in our area. They’re more than twice the size of the more common household German cockroach, and the adults can fly, although they rarely do so (see Do the Roaches Suddenly Seem Bigger?).


American cockroaches are not really household cockroaches here although they can be in Florida. We find them more often in our commercial food-handling accounts and sometimes in office buildings. In these sites, they occupy warm, dark, damp locations on lower levels in steam tunnels, boiler rooms, garbage rooms, storage rooms, etc. (see American Cockroaches Occupy Lower Levels of Buildings). Here in the Northeast, American cockroaches can’t survive the winter outdoors, so those that are not living in structures tend to move into the sewer system where they can keep warm during the winter (see Yes, There Are Cockroaches in Your Sewer System!).

It’s not surprising that a bakery could have a population of American cockroaches. They often can be pests in bakeries, restaurants, breweries, grocery stores, and similar sites. They’d be less likely to be invading your space from the parking garage, at least at this time of year.


You and your fellow condo residents need to:

  • Positively identify the cockroach, first making sure that it is a cockroach. Save a specimen or take a photo if you can for an expert’s ID.
  • Have a professional inspection to determine whether the cockroaches are living and breeding in your building or invading from elsewhere.
  • If the cockroaches are coming from the building next door, pest-proofing of any openings and utility connections between the buildings is needed.
  • Someone with proper authorization should check nearby sewer manholes for roaches. American cockroaches often migrate from sewers into buildings so sewers may need to be treated.
  • Have a professional treat your community room with an appropriate product. Even if the cockroaches are coming from next door, you need to block them before they can spread into your building. And, in this case, hopefully you or your pest control contractor can work with the bakery to solve the problem.

Photo Credit : Par Heinonlein — Periplaneta americana, Isalo 01.jpg, CC BY-SA 4.0, Lien

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