The American cockroach, Periplaneta americana, prefers warm and humid environments. It is worldwide in distribution and commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions. Under the right conditions, they readily live outdoors and are common pests in zoos and animal-rearing facilities. They are also common in sewers, steam tunnels, and masonry storm drains. Occasionally they forage from sewers and other areas into the ground floor of buildings.
Adult females carry the egg cases around for about 6 days and then cement them to a protected surface where they incubate for 1 - 1.5 months or longer. The egg cases, which are about 8mm long, are brown when laid but turn black in 1 to 2 days. Each egg capsule contains about 14 - 28 young; a female and her offspring can produce over 800 cockroaches in one year. Developmental time from egg to adult is greatly influenced by temperature. Nympal development period takes around 150 days. During this period, they molt 10 -13 times.
Adult American cockroaches can life for 3 months to 3 years, with average 1 year.
This is the common species found in household. When indoors, they are often found congregate in groups in more or less open space, in dark, warm, moist environment, such as in basement and crawl spaces, as well as in and around bathtubs, floor drains and sewer.
They are also being found near garbage or around access to sewers. They are capable to migrate from one building to another.
It is important to do a thorough inspection to locate the infested areas and their harborage sites.
Perimeter or barrier treatments using residual insecticides to prevent cockroach from entering the building is often be helpful. Identify the cockroach harboring areas (with the aid of insect traps) and focus insecticide application at these areas.
Sealing the cockroach entry points will also be effective in reducing the infestation indoors.
American cockroaches are readily feed on commercially available baits. It is crucial to place sufficient numbers o bait stations for an effective control.
The adult American cockroach (35 - 40mm) is shinning red to chocolate brown in colour, with a pale brown or yellow border on the upper surface of the pronotum (the shield-like back plate). They have a dorsal-ventrally flatten body, and at rest, the head bents downwards under the pronotum.
Bothe sexes have well-developed wings but seldom fly. They are capable to glide/swing for a long distance. The tip of the abdomen has a pair of cerci. The males will bear a pair of styli near their cerci. Generally, males are thinner and have elongated body comparing to the females.
Young nymphs are grayish brown. After the first few molts, they become more reddish brown in colour.