Cockroaches: Which Roaches Your Home Invites Inside and Why

Written by Wasatch Bug Busters on . Posted in I.D.

You aren’t much of a bug person. In fact, you keep your home and property clear of garbage, overgrowing plants, and clutter so insects don’t call your living environment “home.” But no matter how tidy your home is, you still find the occasional critter scurrying across your floors or countertops.

You wonder how exactly these bugs find their way inside your home. And if you see one insect in your kitchen or bathroom, chances are there are more hiding elsewhere in your house.

In another blog, we discussed the myths associated with cockroaches. Here, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the roaches common to your area, as well as how your home inadvertently invites these critters inside. Read this blog post to find out how to make your home yours-and keep unwanted critters out.

Roaches Common to Utah

If you’ve ever seen “Men in Black,” you know that cockroaches come in all shapes and sizes. Though you’ll never have to worry about a colossal roach in your home, Utahans should know about the following four species native to the state.


These usually flightless cockroaches look light brown in color and have two black, parallel lines that run vertically behind their heads. German cockroaches range between one-half and five-eighths inches in length. Males and females look almost identical. However, males are typically lighter in color and the females have a wider abdomen.

This species of cockroach prefers warm and humid or moist areas, such as your bathroom or kitchen (specifically, your toilets, sinks, showers, and pipes). However, you’ll also find them wherever they can find food. Additionally, German cockroach feces emit aggregation pheromones to attract other cockroaches.


American cockroaches are some of the biggest you’ll find in the state. They measure over two inches in length and have wings to maneuver from place to place. These cockroaches display a rusty, burnt brown color. Males typically live about 200 days, whereas females have an average lifespan of 440 days, depending on the temperature of their environment.

You’ll commonly find American cockroaches in sewers and commercial food kitchens or preparation areas. These insects thrive well with German cockroaches, so if you see either of the two in your home, both species are likely present.


Oriental cockroaches typically run between one and one-and-a-quarter inches long. They maintain a shiny dark brown or black physique with wings. Due to their color, you can sometimes mistake them for crickets. The males’ wings cover most of their thorax, while the females have much smaller extensions.

Unlike German and American roaches, this species thrives well outdoors. If you don’t find these insects near your sinks, tubs, or plumbing, you’ll likely discover them in your yard around plants, rocks, and mulch-even on your patio if it’s moist.


These roaches don’t grow larger than half an inch long. Their exoskeleton shows a mixture of colors including:

  • Brown
  • Black
  • Grayish white
  • Burnt orange

You can easily identify Brownbanded cockroaches by the bell-shaped design at the bottom of their abdomen. Though these roaches have wings, only the males can fly.

This species of cockroach lives in warmer locations, including ceilings, inside and under furniture or appliances, walls, and even inside picture frames.

Items that Attract Cockroaches

Though you know which types of cockroaches to look out for, you still need to know which items in your home entice these pests to come inside.

Primary Sources of Food

As omnivores, cockroaches eat essentially anything. They often look to the following for their main food supply:

Garbage and organic compost

Unsealed or poorly tightened food containers

Crumbs on the counters, floors, and furniture Sugary, starchy, or greasy foods

They also thrive near water, so if you have any pipe leaks, your plumbing could unknowingly establish the perfect environment for cockroaches to thrive in.

Secondary Feeding Options

When they can’t obtain nourishment from the items listed above, roaches will search for other “edible” items, including:

  • Stacks of newspaper
  • Paper bags
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Book bindings
  • Leather
  • Toothpaste
  • Glue
  • Bars of soap
  • Wallpaper
  • Nylon clothes

If cockroaches can’t find their primary or secondary food sources, they’ll search for live or decaying plants, insects, and wood. Cockroaches can also go three months without food, so if they don’t find something immediately, they will begin to eat each other and even their own feces.

Preventative Measures to Take

If you don’t see cockroaches in your home, follow these tips to prevent them from entering your abode:

  • Immediately clean food preparation areas. Also wipe down your tables and chairs after you finish eating.
  • Repair any pipe leaks in your kitchen or bathroom.
  • Rinse off your dishes before you put them in your dishwasher. Any food scraps that don’t drain after a cycle will attract cockroaches.
  • Sweep and mop your floor regularly.
  • Clean in, under, and around appliances regularly.
  • Take out your trash as soon as the bag fills up. Be sure to tightly seal your trash can if possible.
  • Vacuum your carpets and rugs often. Throw away the vacuum bag or empty the container frequently. Wash your dishes as soon as possible. Don’t let them sit in the sink overnight.

To keep roaches out of your living environment, keep this advice in mind. But remember, cockroaches can find their way into even the cleanest homes. So if you spot one of these critters in your pantry or around your house, contact a pest control specialist immediately.