Pest Information - Roaches

There are over 4,000 species of roaches but only 12-14 are associated with humans. This site will focus on the roaches most commonly found in Hawaii. Learn about their Appearance, Habitat, Diet, Health Risks, and Reproduction.
Select from the following choices:

American Roach

American Roach

Scientific Name

Periplaneta americana
AKA: Palmetto bug or Water bug


The largest structure-infesting species — an adult is from 1 to 2 inches long. The adult is a shiny reddish brown to dark brown. Adult American cockroaches have wings and will occasionally fly. However, they are awkward fliers and prefer to run when disturbed.


American cockroaches generally live outdoors. However, populations can also move indoors and live in human structures. They prefer warm, damp areas such as basements, crawl spaces, decorative landscaping, and sewers.


American cockroaches eat anything humans will and many things humans will not.

Type of Damage

They can foul human food, clothing, paper goods, and surfaces with their feces and body parts. American cockroaches also produce a strong unpleasant odor.

Health Risks

Their presence is primarily an aesthetic nuisance, however, members of this species are known to carry infectious bacteria known to cause food poisoning, dysentery, and diarrhea in humans. They have been implicated as a cause of allergic dermatitis and childhood asthma (roach feces in particular).

Life Cycle

Adult American cockroaches can live approximately a year to a year and a half. An adult female will produce between 6 and 14 egg cases (ootheca) during her lifetime, and each ootheca contains about 16 eggs. Nymphs emerge within 38 days and complete their development within 6to 12 months.

Interesting Facts

The original home of the American cockroach is actually tropical Africa. Evidence indicates that the American cockroach was transported to the Americas on slave ships.