Facts, Identification & Control
One of the smallest of the invasive cockroaches, the adult brown-banded cockroach may reach 11 to 14.5 mm in length. These colorful roaches received their name from the light brown or tan transverse bands that are present on the wings of the adult and across the body of the young, or nymphs.
Behavior & Diet
Unlike the indian cockroach which prefers a warm temperature of approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit and more humid environment, the brown-banded cockroach tends to inhabit areas that are less humid and much warmer, with a temperature greater than 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In structures, these insects are most frequently found congregating on ceilings, in attics and in or around appliance motors, for example. Active primarily at night, the brown-banded cockroach may be seen wandering in search of food during the day.
Brown-banded cockroaches, like other cockroach species, are opportunistic feeders. However, when provided a choice, they have a preference for materials with a higher starch content, such as book bindings, wallpaper glue and stamps.
An adult brown-banded cockroach can live anywhere from 130 to 315 days, with an average life span of 206 days. During that time, a female brown-banded cockroach will produce approximately 14 egg capsules, or oothecas, during the course of her life. She produces the ootheca, which contains an average of 10 to 18 eggs, carries it for approximately 24 to 36 hours, and then attaches it to the protected underside of a surface until the young hatch. Once the young hatch, the time needed to develop varies greatly depending upon the environmental conditions, ranging from as few as 90 days in ideal conditions or as many as 276 in more harsh environments.
Brown-banded cockroach infestations can often be identified by the droppings they leave behind. Often found in those areas where the insects frequent, these droppings appear as dark brown or black specks or smears. These fecal spots are used by the brown-banded cockroach to communicate a safe gathering point for other cockroaches in the area. For brown-banded roaches these may be visible along the crown molding of ceilings, around ceiling light fixtures and even behind pictures mounted high on a wall, to name a few.
The small, almost 5 mm, egg case may go unnoticed attached to the underside of protected surfaces or within cracks. However, once these cases become dislodged, especially after hatching, the tan egg cases may become visible.
When they move indoors, Indian cockroaches prefer to live in moist, humid environments. They can also survive in dry areas with sufficient food and water sources. These insects favor temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. When an Indian cockroach population infests a human home, the insects are drawn to food storage and preparation areas, as well as moist locations. In industrial settings such as restaurants and bakeries, they can be found in boiler rooms and steam tunnels. In residential and commercial buildings, the Indian cockroach typically infests basements and landscaping.
The first step in addressing any cockroach infestation is to identify the species correctly. The techniques used to manage one species seldom prove effective when applied to another species. Thus, it is best to contact your local pest control professional if you suspect an infestation.