Common Types of Roaches in Florida & How to Get Rid of Them

Other names for cockroaches in Florida include croton bugs, water bugs, and palmetto bugs. At least 69 different cockroach species may be found in the United States. In the wild, cockroaches eat rotting organic waste and act as decomposers. However, it’s an issue when they come into contact with people, whether it be by invading gardens and lawns or by getting inside of homes and other buildings. Roach problems can also spread illnesses like Salmonella and destroy books, clothing, and food.

Cockroaches in Florida secrete an oily substance with a foul stench. In addition to what appears to be clean dishes, this smell can also linger on food and clothing. Excrement, which might appear as pellets or a liquid with the consistency of ink, is mostly to blame for this revolting odor. Allergens include cockroach skin flakes, feces, and other parts including antennae and legs. These allergens can cause a variety of symptoms in sensitive persons, from a slight rash to anaphylaxis and even death. Keep reading to learn more about preventing roach problems and how you can control active roach problems.

It can seem like no matter how thoroughly you clean your home, cockroaches will find a way in. If you’re wondering where the roaches are coming from in your clean home, click here!

Different Types of Roaches

The most prevalent household cockroaches in and around Florida homes include Florida wood roaches, smokybrowns, Americans, Australians, Germans, and Asians. The three smallest cockroach species, the German, Asian, and brownbanded, all have almost the same size adults and rarely grow larger than 5/8 inches (16mm).

The four bigger species of cockroaches—American, Australian, brown, and smokybrown—measure between 1.1-2.4 inches (31-61 mm) in length and are also known as palmetto bugs. Despite the fact that they flourish outdoors, if they can make a way inside, they can still cause issues.

The largest cockroach in the world, the Florida woods roach, is another common invader. Even though cockroaches found outdoors do not perform well in enclosed spaces, there is a propensity for people to overreact when they see them indoors. Cockroaches can frequently be controlled by simply limiting their access to the house in the first place.

The Asian cockroach resembles the German cockroach in appearance but is able to fly. In the wild, Asian cockroaches are attracted to the light from nearby structures. They will be attracted to the porch lights and use those to find their way inside. However, just like other outdoor cockroaches, their chances of survival inside are low. 

American Cockroach


The palmetto bug is a common roach in Florida’s tropical climate and is well-known to anyone from the South. Although “American cockroach” has a kinder ring to it, it is nonetheless the same intimidating insect. This large insect can cause problems with properties.


The American roach is among the greatest pests in Florida, due to its size (between 2 and 3 inches). If you turn on the lights and notice a large, brownish-red bug running for cover beneath the refrigerator, it’s probably an American cockroach.

There are six spiky legs, slender hairlike antennae, and long, dark wings that it occasionally (and awkwardly) uses.

One of several species of flying roaches found in Florida, the American cockroach has the uncanny ability to startle even lifelong Floridians when it unexpectedly flies in your direction.


Peridotid pests, American roaches prefer the outdoors, specifically dark, damp areas such as wood piles, mulch, dumpsters, and storm drains. However, they are also capable of thriving in the home. They eat garbage, fragments of food, and decomposed organic matter.

Florida Woods Cockroach

Happy1892, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons


The Florida woods cockroach, which looks like a little beetle, has a notoriously offensive defense mechanism: a strong odor it emits to scare away potential enemies. You’ll quickly learn why they’re called “stink roaches” if you uncover even a few of these pests in your bathroom or closet.


The Florida wood roach, at around 1.5 inches in length, is a dark brown with a reddish-mahogany tinge. It lacks wings and is stocky like a little, stinky, armored beetle.

You can sometimes see yellowish stripes running down their bodies. They don’t have wings, therefore it’s easy to tell them apart from American roaches.


Foraging on dead leaves and rotting wood, these detritivores are often found making their homes in gardens and woodpiles. They also populate the eaves of your roof and the palm trees around your home.

Florida homeowners frequently find dozens of these insects in hidden colonies in the mulch or beneath rocks outside their homes.

Because of their poor adaptations for life indoors, they do not present the same danger as the American or German roach. They may cause some unpleasant odors and wake you up around 2 in the morning, but they probably won’t multiply to epidemic proportions inside.

Smokybrown Cockroach

"Smokybrown Cockroach (Matsudo, Chiba, Ja" (CC BY 2.0) by t-mizo


Cockroaches of the smoky brown variety are among the most common flying roaches found in Florida. They will flit around your patio lights and soar through the palm fronds to your roof in search of a warm, damp, and secure spot to raise their young.


These roaches are a mahogany brown, which is much darker than the brown of American roaches. Comparatively smaller than the preceding two species, at around 1 inch in length, and sporting shorter, more curled antennae. They’re slimmer and glossier than the Florida wood roaches.

The smokybrowns don’t have any tan or yellow spots. When folded, their long wings extend well beyond their body.


Smokybrowns can fly and will use their wings to crash into trees, gutters, and pots. These roaches build their nests in odd places, such as under shingles and inside water meter boxes. They frequently pick places that are high up and shielded from the wind and rain.

Own a home with a usable attic? Infestations of smokybrown roaches have the potential to be disastrous.

Also, these winged roaches have a powerful attraction to artificial light. If you find one inside your home, it most likely got in through an open window while you were sleeping.

German Cockroach


The German cockroach stands out among Florida’s many roach species as the most harmful. And the fact that it can only be found in homes makes it much more annoying.


It is the smallest roach you’ll encounter in Florida, measuring at approximately half an inch in length. The wings of these bugs are a pale brown or tan, and there are two dark vertical stripes along the cowl-shaped area behind the insect’s head.

Did you spot a little, wingless roach? Possible infant German cockroach. The molted exoskeletons will be laying nearby, and the dark stripes down its back can help you locate it. Cockroaches reproducing at an alarming rate are a negative sign.


Due to the fact that they are mostly an indoor species, once German cockroaches have established themselves in your home, they will quickly proliferate to an unmanageable number. Garages and crawl spaces are ideal habitats for them due to the high humidity levels found across the state, which also appeals to their preference for the dark and damp.

The German cockroach, like the other species we’ve mentioned, prefers the darkness of night and the backyard barbecue. When someone comes in for the cheese plate and turns on the light, a tiny German roach is already there. Yuck.

German roaches in Florida can show up anywhere and at any time, which is in stark contrast to their behavior in colder climates, where they require artificial heat to survive indoors.

Cockroach Life Cycle

There are three stages in a cockroach’s life cycle: egg, nymph, and adult. The ootheca is a leathery case or capsule into which cockroaches deposit their eggs en masse. Immediately after formation, the female will either drop or glue this capsule to a surface. However, until the eggs are ready to hatch, the female German cockroach will keep the capsule protruding from her body. While the German cockroach capsule can hold up to 48 eggs, other cockroach capsules may only contain 10 to 28 eggs.

Nymphs are born without wings and go through several skin sheddings (molts) before maturing into winged adults. The outdoor species of German and brow banded cockroaches may take up to a year to mature from egg to adult, but they may have multiple generations per year.

Where Do Cockroaches Live?

Cockroaches spend the daytime in their hiding places and emerge at night to forage for food. Inside, they can be found in the following locations:
  • around all sinks or drain board
  • crevices underneath or inside cupboards and cabinets
  • behind drawers
  • around conduits or pipes
  • behind door frames or windows
  • behind baseboards or molding strips
  • underside of tables and chairs
  • bathrooms
  • and in radio and TV cabinets

The German cockroach can be found anywhere in the house, but it is most common in the kitchen and the bathroom. Other types of cockroaches are more at home in dark, damp places like sewers, attics, and storerooms; they enter homes from these outside breeding grounds.

Leaf litter, mulch, beneath vegetation, tree holes, and palm trees are all good places to find roach problems in the wild.

How To Get Rid of Roaches

If you want to get rid of roach problems for good, you should use an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy. The use of chemicals alone is ineffective as a management strategy. Chemicals alone can lead to insect resistance and poor management.

For effective cockroach control, homeowners can either implement an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy on their own or hire a pest control service. Professionals can do a better job because they have access to tools and resources that average consumers don’t have. If hiring a professional pest controller is something you’re considering, it’s a good idea to compare prices from several companies.

How to Prevent Roach Problems in House

Controlling cockroaches effectively calls for a focus on hygiene and pest-proofing. Cockroach allergens, such as shed skins and excreta, can be removed with a good vacuuming. There is a chemical in cockroach feces that attracts more cockroaches to the area. Scrubbing with hot water & soap to remove the cockroach feces will reduce the amount of roach pheromone in the area, thus reducing the number of cockroaches.

Exclusion, the removal of water, food, and harborage are the four main categories of prevention and sanitation. If you follow the guidelines for each of the four areas, you should be able to get rid of the main things that foster cockroach populations.

  • Infested shopping bags can introduce German cockroaches into a building. Before putting food away, check for cockroaches. Shopper bags should be kept in outdoor sheds or garages.
  • Corrugated cardboard boxes are a veritable cockroach breeding ground. Don’t hold on to any packing materials you don’t need.
  • Close all the windows and doors.
  • If you want to keep the roaches out of your house, make sure the screens are in good shape.
  • Make sure the attic vents are working properly and that any large openings around the outside of the house, such as those leading to the sewer or drainage system, are screened or sealed. Until permanent repairs can be made, fill any gaps with tightly packed steel wool.
  • If you want to keep cockroaches out of your home, caulk the frames of your doors and windows, as well as any openings near pipes and outlets.
  • Utilize weather stripping to close off air leaks around your door frames.
  • Cockroaches can hitchhike home with kids in their lunch boxes and backpacks. Check these things out on a regular basis.
  • Apartments and other dwellings that share a wall present unique challenges to residents. The pipes in a common wall can facilitate the spread of an infestation from one unit to another. Cockroaches can easily travel from one apartment to another, even if the latter appears to be spotless. Caulking the cracks in the shared walls and around the plumbing fixtures can help prevent this.

Remove Water Sources

Cockroaches depend on water more than anything else. Without water, German cockroaches die within 12 days. However, cockroaches can survive without food for about 42 days if water is the only resource available. Cockroaches seek moisture, so they venture indoors during dry spells. The following are methods for removing potential water sources:

  • Fix plumbing problems by sealing cracks or replacing damaged pipes, paying special attention to the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Keeping water in sinks for extended periods of time is not recommended.
  • Keep in mind that cockroaches will have access to any standing water in your house if you overwater your plants.
  • Refrigerators used to have empty pans underneath them to collect condensation.
  • Keep in mind that there are other potential sources of moisture, such as pet water bowls, aquariums, and pipe condensation (under sinks, in wall voids).
  • Remove any containers, tires, or tree holes that could serve as outdoor water catchments.

What Do Roaches Eat?

Although cockroaches can survive on very little food as long as they have access to water, their populations can explode if they are given a steady supply. Cockroach baits are also less effective because they face competition from human food sources. To do away with food sources, you can:

  • Properly store trash and throw it away when you’re done. Cockroaches tend to congregate most heavily in kitchen and bathroom areas, especially near food waste containers and refrigerators.
  • If you don’t want cockroaches getting into your trash, make sure to tightly close the lids. Wipe down trash cans and receptacles on a regular basis.
  • To avoid gross buildup in your sink, empty the strainer on a regular basis.
  • Make sure to frequently wipe down the kitchen counters.
  • Dishes should be washed right after use. A kitchen infestation can be fed largely by dirty dishes that aren’t washed.
  • Kitchen appliances should be kept clean and free of food debris. You should also clean the spaces around these devices.
  • After each use, food should be resealed and either refrigerated or stored in an airtight container.
  • Tightly enclose pet food. Put away the food and water when you’re not going to be around them.

Where Do Roaches Hide?

Cockroaches need a warm, damp, dark place to hide, in addition to food and water. A cockroach’s harborage is essential to its survival. Generally speaking, cockroaches are most at home in damp, dark, and warm environments. Cockroaches prefer tight spaces like those provided by cardboard boxes, clothing piles, and structural cracks and crevices.

Cockroaches need harborages for shelter, but they can also use them to avoid being sprayed with insecticides if that strategy is chosen as part of an integrated pest management (IPM) plan. To get rid of hiding places, try to do the following:

  • Caulk the holes and crannies. Cockroaches, even adults, can only squeeze through openings as narrow as 1/16 inch, and they prefer gaps about 3/8 inch wider (9.5 mm).
  • Do some mulch removal away from the house. In contrast to their success at reproducing in gravel or bare soil, large outdoor cockroaches thrive in pine straw mulch.
  • Wood for the fireplace should be stacked high and far from the house.
  • The tree holes should be sealed with cement to prevent rodents and other pests from using them as hiding places.
  • The shrubbery and ornamental plants should be kept at a safe distance from the house. Insects like ivy because it provides a safe place for their offspring to multiply in the open air.
  • Eliminate piles of newspapers, bags, and clothes.

Best Way To Get Rid Of Roach Problems in Florida

Use hygienic measures of control, with chemical methods of management only as a last resort. Common roach pesticides include baits, sprays, and dusts. Cockroach foggers are widely available, but they only kill the insects that come into contact with the fog. As a result, the efficacy of foggers as a means of controlling roach problems varies and is outside the scope of this article.

Types of Roach Bait

When it comes to reducing pesticide exposure while maintaining effectiveness, baits come out on top. Granular baits, plastic bait stations, and large syringes for gel applications are the most common packaging options.

Get Rid of Cockroaches with Gel Bait
  • Put granular products where plants and mulch are located outside.
  • Place bait stations around any corners you think cockroaches might be hiding or entering your home for the best results.
  • You should get larger stations for outdoor cockroaches and smaller ones for German cockroaches.
  • Outside of food preparation areas, place the gel bait in cracks and crevices around windows and doors.
  • Be very careful about using liquid insecticides in areas where baits have been placed. Cockroaches can be deterred from bait stations by spraying the area around them with liquid insecticide.
  • Other baits in various forms are also available to pest control professionals, and they all achieve similar results.

Insect Growth Regulator

IGRs take four to six weeks to start reducing roach problems. However, unlike other contact insecticides, cockroaches are unable to reproduce after being exposed, so the effects last for a much longer period of time. Adult cockroaches with twisted wings and unusual behavior are signs of exposure to IGR. Use of IGRs will likely increase the number of cockroaches visible during daylight hours. Cockroach abundance after IGR application is indicative of successful treatment. The use of baits in conjunction with IGRs is possible.

Growth Regulator for Pests including Cockroaches

Roach Insecticide Spray

  • Insecticides are less effective when applied to oily surfaces. Therefore, before treating surfaces remove grease and oil by scrubbing with hot, soapy water.
  • Wooden surfaces, such as cabinets and shelves, are typically ineffective when treated with liquid sprays.
  • Insert materials into crevices and other hiding spots frequented by cockroaches. These spaces can be found in the baseboards, around the appliances, and in the walls near the sinks, the toilets, and the bowls.
  • Remember to avoid getting spray in or near any electrical outlets.
  • Pesticide sprays can be used to effectively manage flying insects.
  • Do not spray areas where food will be prepared.
  • Do not touch anything until it has dried (at least 4 hours).
  • Carpets, tiles, and plastics can all be harmed by the wrong substances. Before applying any substance, make sure you read the label.
  • Cracks and crevices where cockroaches are known to live or enter the home, such as door thresholds and window frames, should be treated with outdoor products at the label rate.
  • A perimeter treatment can be used to control larger outside cockroaches at points of entry into the house, along the base of the foundation wall, and in cracks and crevices. Before using the spray treatment, cracks and crevices should be sealed.

Roach Powder

Dusts take their time to work, but they can provide lasting suppression. Among the many dusts approved for use against cockroaches, boric acid is by far the most popular. Clean, dry environments indoors are optimal.

  • A duster that emits a fine mist of dust is ideal for applying boric acid.
  • Use dust in hard-to-reach places like behind or beneath furniture, inside of cabinets, in wall voids, and in crevices.
  • Put away any food and put away any utensils before applying any dust to open areas like shelves or counters.
  • Toxic to plants, boric acid can also stain certain fabrics.
  • Pest control companies can also access other effective dust and borate products.

Get Rid of Indoor Florida Roaches

  • Clean the entire place using a vacuum cleaner and hot soapy water.
  • Follow the instructions on the packaging when setting up the baits (both gel and station varieties).
  • To begin with, check baits once a month until population levels decrease, and then every three months after that.
  • Empty bait stations should be replaced because they serve as a safe haven for cockroaches when full.
  • If the original population is particularly large, a “clean-out” may be necessary to reduce it. In cracks and crevices, mist liquid insecticides containing insect growth regulators like hydroprene or pyriproxyfen.
  • Baits should be set out four to six weeks after spraying liquid insecticide, or in areas that were missed.

Get Rid of Florida Roaches Outdoors

  • With this IPM strategy, roach problems can be reduced by at least 80%.
  • Extend the mulch out from the house no more than 1 foot (30.5 cm). This will give the area time to dry out, creating an environment less hospitable to cockroach survival.
  • Pine straw, dead leaves, and ivy are ideal places to apply pesticides, as are the edges of flowerbeds, large rocks, and railroad ties, all of which are within 3 feet (91.5 cm) of the house. Keep to the instructions on the package at all times.
  • The corners of porches, the space beneath ledges, the gratings in crawl spaces, and the area beneath garage doors are all excellent examples of covered cracks and crevices that need to be repaired. Liquid products and baits can both be used, but not simultaneously.

Professional Cockroach Control in Southeast and Southwest Florida

Cockroach infestations are more than just a nuisance—they pose serious health risks and can significantly tarnish the comfort and hygiene of your home. While some over-the-counter solutions may offer temporary relief, eradicating a cockroach problem requires a professional touch, especially in the warm and humid conditions of Southeast and Southwest Florida.

At On Demand Pest Control, we’re your local ally in reclaiming your space from these unwelcome intruders. Our tailored cockroach control solutions are designed to effectively combat infestations in cities like Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Pompano Beach, Naples, and Fort Myers, ensuring your home remains a comfortable and safe haven for you and your loved ones.

Reach Out to the Experts Today

Your peace of mind is just a call away. By reaching out to On Demand Pest Control, you’re not only taking the first step towards a cockroach-free home but also investing in a long-term, pest-free environment. Our seasoned experts are equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to handle infestations of any scale, delivering swift and sustainable solutions right at your doorstep.

Don’t let cockroaches rob you of the comfort and cleanliness you deserve. Contact us today for a free quote and let us assist you in restoring tranquility to your home. Our services span across the beautiful regions of Southeast and Southwest Florida, ensuring residents have a trusted, local pest control solution whenever the need arises. Your journey towards a pest-free home is but a click away—reach out to us and experience the superior service and effectiveness of On Demand Pest Control.

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