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Brown Banded Cockroach

Supella longipalpa


Brown banded cockroaches get their name from the two lighter bands they have across their dark brownish bodies. Adult males are about ½ inch long and light brown, with fully developed wings. The adult females are shorter and stouter than the males and their wings do not cover the entire abdomen. Among cockroach species, brown banded cockroaches have the most distinctions between sexes. Females have larger abdomen and shorter wings than males. Both males and females are quite active at night, avoid light, and do not need moisture like the German and American Cockroaches do; adult males fly and jump readily when disturbed.


Like many cockroaches there are three stages, egg, nymph, and adult. The life cycle begins when the female cockroach deposits egg cases in clusters inside furniture, undersides of tables, draperies, wall decorations, shelving and ceilings. The egg capsule contains an average of 13 eggs; a female produces 10 to 20 cases in her lifetime which can be up to 600 cockroaches in one year. Eggs hatch in 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 months, and nymphs develop in 3 to 9 months, and the lifespan of an adult Brown Banded cockroach is about 13 to 45 weeks.


The Brown Banded cockroach prefers to hide in warm, elevated areas near the ceiling, behind wall decorations, pictures, loose wallpaper, in shower stalls, underneath chairs and tables, in closets, beneath or inside upholstered furniture, and in electrical appliances such as TV sets, stereos, radios and toasters. They develop and live throughout the building (especially bedrooms), making it very difficult to control and exterminate.

The Brown Banded cockroach feeds on a wide variety of materials. Like members of other cockroach species, it may consume materials like glue or paste (especially from animal-based materials), starch, and certain color dyes. As a result, items like stamps, envelopes, bindings of older books, draperies, and occasionally wallpapers may show signs of feeding. A way to prevent an infestation of this type of cockroach, or any type for that matter, is to keep surfaces clean, remove clutter, vacuum regularly, seal up cracks in floors, walls and outdoor areas, don’t keep dirty dishes in the sink for long periods of time, and keep foods in closed or air tight containers.

Like many cockroaches, the spread of disease and bacteria is a major concern. Cockroaches have been reported to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms, and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens. They can pick up germs on the spines of their legs and bodies as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage and then carry these into food or onto food surfaces. Germs that cockroaches eat from decaying matter or sewage are protected while in their bodies and may remain infective for several weeks longer than if they had been exposed to cleaning agents, rinse water, or just sunlight and air.

Fun Fact:

The Brown Banded Cockroach was introduced to the United States from Africa via Cuba in 1903.

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