What Do Roaches Look Like?
The body of a cockroach is oval in shape and consists of a head, thorax, and abdomen with six legs, antennae, compound eyes, and a hard exoskeleton. Not counting antennae, roaches found in the United States range in size from 1/2” to 2”. The mouths of roaches point downward and they draw air in through holes in their bodies called spiracles while they use their antennae to smell and feel. Roaches may have wings; however, with the exception of the brown-banded cockroach, their ability to fly is limited.
Roaches are varying shades of brown in color, with some species-unique markings. The aptly-named brown-banded cockroach has a light-colored band running across its wings, the German cockroach has two dark brown markings on its thorax, and the American cockroach has a yellow band behind its head. The Oriental cockroach is often called the “black beetle” because of its dark coloring.
The lifespan of a roach varies based on species – from a couple of months to a couple of years – but each progresses from egg to nymph to adult. During the nymph stage, roaches shed their outer shell multiple times (a process known as molting) before becoming adults. Prolific breeders, the German cockroach is the most prevalent species of roach in the world. A single German cockroach and her offspring can produce 300,000 roaches in a year.