Brown Banded Cockroach

What Is a Brown Banded Cockroach?

The second most common cockroach species found in the United States, brown-banded cockroaches go by the scientific name of Supella longipalpa. Brown-banded cockroaches become pests when they gain entry to homes and other buildings occupied by humans. The brown-banded variety of cockroach often enters occupied structures by lying unnoticed on furniture or in cardboard boxes. Once inside, brown-banded cockroaches can quickly infest the building, causing physical damage to food and possessions as well as potentially creating health problems for residents.

What Do They Look Like?

brown banded roach
brown banded
image source:
brown banded roach
dead brown banded roach
male brown banded
image source: Univ. of Florida

As the name of the species indicates, brown-banded cockroaches feature a pair of yellowish bands that contrast with the rest of their brownish bodies. Males have golden-brown bodies with long wings that extend past the abdomen, while females boast a darker chestnut brown coloration and have shorter wings that leave the abdomen slightly exposed.

The distinctive yellowish bands marking the bodies of brown-banded cockroaches are more pronounced during the nymphal stage of development than as adults. Fully grown specimens typically measure about a half-inch in length, with pairs of extended antennae often making the insects appear much longer.

What Problems Do They Cause?

While scavenging for food, the insects often leave behind fecal matter and other contaminating debris on edible items and kitchen surfaces.

People who unwittingly prepare food on surfaces contaminated by brown-banded cockroaches or consume bacteria spread by the insects may contract food poisoning, diarrhea, or more serious ailments like hepatitis.

The molted skin of brown-banded cockroaches is also known to produce allergens that aggravate allergies and induce asthma attacks, with children at highest risk.

Where Do They Hide?

While often found occupying a variety of spaces throughout the home, brown-banded cockroaches generally prefer to live in warm areas with temperatures exceeding 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The ability to go without water longer than other cockroach species allows the brown-banded cockroach to inhabit a wider range of locations in buildings.

The pests frequently live in highly elevated places like cabinets and cupboards positioned just below the ceiling. Home owners regularly find the brown-banded cockroach living in closets, clothing, drapes, and behind picture frames, as well.

The insects also tend to populate areas in close proximity to computers, radios, televisions, stoves, and other common household appliances that generate heat.

What Do They Eat?

Like other cockroaches, brown-banded cockroaches feed on human foods, food residue, and other organic materials commonly found in homes and offices.

Book bindings, paper products, and wallpaper paste can also make up the diet of brown-banded cockroaches. The insects will even eat pet food, fecal matter, and dead animals.

Life Cycle & Reproduction

All brown-banded cockroaches hatch from eggs that females carry in an egg case measuring nearly a half-inch long. Each case holds between 13 and 18 eggs, with a typical female producing as many as 14 egg cases during her life.

After two days of carrying a freshly produced egg case, females glue the case to ceilings or doors, underneath furniture, behind picture frames, or in the corners of cabinets, cupboards, or closets.

Newly hatched brown-banded cockroaches, called nymphs, emerge from the eggs in about 50 days. Nymphs mature by molting between six and eight times to reach adulthood in five or six months.

On average, brown-banded cockroaches live for a total of roughly 200 days.

Learn how to get rid of cockroach infestations.