The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

American Cockroach

Afrikaans name:

American Cockroach being eaten by a House Gecko

An American Cockroach being eaten by a House Gecko

Photo © Steven Herbert

Periplaneta americana

Welcome to the American, or Common, Cockroach. Interestingly they do not originate from America. They actually come from Africa but have established themselves in several states in the USA.

It grows to a length of almost 3.5 cm although most Durban people would swear that they have seen bigger ones! Male and female are similar in colour which is an orangey-brown colour.

The American Cockroach lives in our houses, sewage pipes, drains and other places in or near our homes. Very few houses are free from cockroaches, but these creatures do need a few things to flourish to pest level. There must be a regular supply of food and places for them to hide. Various animals prey on them including geckos, toads, birds and even your pet dogs and cats.

Although these insects are found in various regions, they do tend to favour the more humid regions. They are normally only active at night as there are less predators around.

References and further reading

Suburban Wildlife in KZN - Author: Dr. Jason Londt - Published: 2009 - Page: 34

Remarkable Insects of South Africa - Author: Lambert Smith - Published: 2008 - Page: 161

Pocket Guide - Insects of South Africa - Author: Mike Picker & Charles Griffiths - Published: 2015 - Page: 21

Field Guide to Insects of South Africa - Author: Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths and Alan Weaving - Published: 0 - Page: 44

African Insect Life - revised edition - Author: S.H. Skaife - Published: 1979 - Page: 43


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