Brown-Banded Cockroach


Actual Size: 5/16 to 5/8″

Characteristics: Brown with pronounced banding across wings

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Congregate in warm areas, often in closets or heat-generating appliances


  • Often confused for German roaches
  • Lives indoors, completely dependent on human habitats for survival
  • Prefers higher elevations and often found in upper cabinets of kitchens and bathrooms

Brown-Banded Cockroaches in the North and East Bay of California

The name “brown-banded” cockroach comes from the pronounced bands of color across the wings of adults and bodies of nymphs. In North America, the brown-banded cockroach is thought to be present in most states and lives in buildings that maintain relatively high temperatures. This cockroach is similar to the German cockroach with its small size and body shape but can be distinguished by its lack of two dark stripes.

The brown-banded roach is a domestic species, which means they do not live outside and rely solely on conditions created in our homes and buildings for survival. Brown-banded cockroaches feed on a variety of materials including human food, starches, dyes, glue, books, stamps, and clothing.

Brown-Banded Cockroach Habitat

Brown-banded cockroaches prefer warmth and tend to be found up and away from the floor in closets or in heat-generating appliances. Brown-banded cockroaches are good climbers and can be active at night and during the day. Females seek out warm, dark places where they can attach their yellowish-brown egg capsules, and prefer walls, ceilings, tables, bedding, or furniture. In fact, the brown-banded cockroach is sometimes referred to as the “furniture cockroach” because it is distributed evenly throughout households, including non-food locations, such as bedrooms, under chairs and tables, and behind pictures and other objects on walls. 

Brown-Banded Cockroach Behaviors, Threats or Dangers

Brown-banded cockroaches are not aggressive and do not bite. That said, they can be a threat because of their rapid rate of reproduction: One female can produce up to 600 young in her lifetime! Brown-banded cockroaches are known to spread at least 33 different kinds of bacteria, making them a concern for any homeowner. Like other types of roaches, brown-banded cockroaches can spread germs or bacteria in areas they inhabit. Their skin and feces also cause asthma attacks in some people that are sensitive to cockroach allergens. E. coli and Salmonella are both commonly spread by brown-banded cockroaches and can cause gastroenteritis and diarrhea.

Because brown-banded roaches are so common here in the Bay Area, it’s important to always enlist the help of your local cockroach exterminator.