What Cockroaches Live Inside the Home and Which Ones Are Mostly Outdoor Roaches?

There are many bugs we do not want to see inside of our homes, including spiders, ants, and flies. But there is one type of pest that most of us REALLY do not want to see is the cockroach.

It’s safe to say that cockroaches are, in general, pretty gross. Very few people “like” cockroaches. Not only are they visibly unappealing, but they can also cause allergies and asthma and they’re fast runners making them very difficult to kill.

But the main reason people are afraid of seeing cockroaches in the home is because they are associated with large invasions. We often believe that if you see one cockroach, there are likely dozens more hidden in secret spaces. Movies and video games have taught us, as a culture, that cockroaches are frequent home invaders that take over a home if they are allowed to live untreated.

But is it true?

Yes – And No – Only Some Cockroaches Invade in Large Numbers

Contrary to popular belief, most cockroach species can only live and survive outdoors. Cockroaches prefer and benefit from the outdoor climate, food, moisture, and breeding spots. They do not want to live in your home, and are unlikely to survive if they are in there.

You may see them enter your home, but they are not going to live and breed there in large numbers.

Also good news: Most of the large, “gross” roaches are outdoor roaches. The most common roach that invades properties is actually quite small, and so while they are still an unwanted guest, you do not typically have to worry that your home is hiding thousands of very large roaches.

There are three cockroaches that are especially likely to enter and live in your property here in Northern Virginia include:

  • German Cockroaches – German roaches are the #1 home invading cockroach. They are also quite small and much thinner than we typically imagine roaches to be. They love living inside of homes and can breed in large numbers. They prefer damp locations.
  • Brown Banded Cockroaches – Brown banded cockroaches are even smaller than German cockroaches. They can be identified by the light brown bands across their wings. Unlike the German cockroach, brown-banded cockroaches prefer drier locations and higher areas like upper cabinets in kitchens and rooms.
  • American Cockroaches – American cockroaches are the roach we typically envision entering homes, and unfortunately, they do like to invade and breed inside of homes (though they are more likely to be found in commercial properties). They are actually an outdoor cockroach, but their ability to survive indoors makes your home a possible location for them to live and breed. Known for its considerable size, up to 2 inches, these are the roaches that typically trigger the most shock and fear.

These are the only types of roaches that prefer the indoors and tend to live and breed indoors. All other roaches prefer the outdoors.

Still, even though these are outdoor dwelling cockroaches, you may still find them inside in small numbers:

  • Oriental Cockroach – Predominantly an outdoor dweller, the Oriental cockroach favors cool, damp environments like under mulch, leaves, and debris. They are dark brown to black and about 1 inch in length. These cockroaches may migrate indoors during extreme weather or if their outdoor habitats are disturbed.
  • Smokybrown Cockroach – Similar in habitat preferences to the American cockroach, the Smokybrown cockroach is primarily found outdoors. They are dark mahogany in color and approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. They prefer areas with abundant vegetation and moisture and are less common indoors unless they are searching for water.

You may also come across wood cockroaches as well. They, as the name implies, prefer to run around old and rotting wood. You may find them around old fences or around trees. If they come indoors, they do so seeking light. Australian cockroaches and Turkestan cockroaches are other outdoor roaches that can be found in Virginia and may be found in your property, but are typically only there by accident.

Prevent Cockroaches with Ongoing Pest Control

Most cockroaches do not want to enter homes. They do so by accident seeking water or following the light, and while you may find them in your home, they are not going to breed in large numbers.

Still, roaches do invade, and some cockroaches – particularly the German cockroach – can breed extremely quickly and establish themselves in your property if not properly prevented.

That’s why it is so important to make sure that you are engaged in ongoing pest control. Only through prevention can you make sure that no cockroaches are able to live and breed on your property. Get help for you Virginia property by contacting ExtermPRO today. We are in Gainesville, VA, and serve Centreville, Bristow, Haymarket, and beyond. Learn more by contacting ExtermPRO, today.


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