How To Tell Which Cockroach Is In Your Houston Home And Why It Matters


asian cockroach crawling on a wooden deck

In our Houston service area, we have two cockroach species that look similar but are very different in how they behave. If you see these cockroaches in or around your home, there are some things you need to know about them if you're interested in keeping your home cockroach free.

What are these two cockroaches that look the same?

They are German cockroaches and Asian cockroaches. Both of these species are tan in color and have dark brown lines on their backs. These dark lines can look like an equal sign if you are looking at them at the right angle and in the right light. Both species of cockroach are around 15 mm long as adults.

How can I tell the difference between a German cockroach and an Asian cockroach?

It is extremely difficult to tell them apart by looking at them. The differences are subtle. If you've seen a German cockroach before and you look closely at an Asian cockroach, you might notice that the Asian cockroach has a tail that hangs slightly over the end of its abdomen. The wings of a German cockroach do not go past the end of its abdomen. But the best way to tell the difference between German cockroaches and Asian cockroaches is by observing their behavior

What is the difference between a German cockroach and an Asian cockroach?

  • Light. German cockroaches are mostly nocturnal insects that scatter when the lights are turned on. Asian cockroaches are drawn to light. This love of light makes these cockroaches do something that might cause you to be a little freaked out. An Asian cockroach may follow you from one room to another at night. Don't worry. They're not hunting you down to bite you. They are going where the light is. If you turn a light off in one room and go to the next and turn a light on, don't be surprised when an Asian cockroach follows you.

  • Reclusiveness. German cockroaches don't like to be seen and they will work hard to avoid you. Asian cockroaches are commonly seen. This isn't just because they don't mind the light. It has to do with their behavior as well.

    Flight. German cockroaches have workable wings but they rarely fly. When they fly, it is really more of a glide. Asian cockroaches are strong fliers and can travel over a hundred feet. This makes it easy for them to get in through open doors or windows.

  • Habitat. German cockroaches are the most successful indoor pests in the world. They can be found everywhere except for Antarctica. This is because they do very well inside man-made structures. Asian cockroaches prefer to be outside near areas where there is wood debris.

Do Asian cockroaches cause illness?

If you know that German cockroaches spread harmful bacteria, parasitic worms, human pathogens, and allergens, you might be thinking that Asian cockroaches would be the opposite. But this is one place where these insects share common ground. Asian cockroaches can be a disease threat when they get into your Houston home. They get into garbage cans, dumpsters, sewers, compost heaps and other dirty places, just like German cockroaches are prone to do.

What Does It Matter?

Okay. You may be able to tell these two cockroaches apart now but why does it matter?

  • Keeping exterior lights off can deter Asian cockroaches from coming near your home.

  • Quickly opening and closing exterior doors can help keep Asian cockroaches from flying into your home.

  • If you see Asian cockroaches running around outside your home, you don't have to be as concerned as finding German cockroaches because Asian cockroaches are less likely to infest your home, though it is still a good idea to contact a licensed pest control provider when you see any type of cockroaches on your property.

Cockroach Control

If you live in the Greater Houston area and you need assistance with cockroach control, remember that Modern Pest Control is available to help you with all of your pest control needs. Reach out to us at any time for fast, effective control of cockroaches and other Houston pests.


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