Common Species of Florida Roaches & Their Habits

There are about 69 different species of cockroaches in the United States. In the wild, cockroaches eat rotting organic waste and act as decomposers, which is beneficial. However, they are unwelcome guests, whether it be by invading gardens and lawns or moving into homes, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. Roach problems can also spread illnesses like Salmonella, or destroy books, clothing, and food.

Cockroaches secrete an oily substance with a foul smell. Excrement, which might appear as pellets or a liquid with the consistency of ink, is typically the cause of any 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. Keep reading to learn more about common Florida roaches and their habits. Remember, there are many ways to prevent roach infestations.

Be on the lookout for these Florida Roaches 

The most common household cockroaches in and around Florida homes include Florida wood roaches, smokey browns, 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. They flourish outdoors, however you still want to prevent them from getting indoors.

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.

The Asian cockroach resembles the German cockroach in appearance but is able to fly. In the wild, Asian cockroaches are attracted to the light. 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.

Florida Woods Cockroach


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 does not have wings and is stocky like an armored beetle. You can sometimes see yellowish stripes running down their bodies. 


Foraging on dead leaves and rotting wood, these critters are often found making their homes in gardens and woodpiles. They may also live around your roof and in palm trees.

Florida homeowners frequently find dozens of these insects in 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, described below. They may cause some unpleasant odors, but they probably won’t multiply to epidemic proportions inside.

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” sounds a bit more welcoming, we don’t welcome them with open arms. These big guys can cause problems throughout the home or lawn.


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. They have six spiky legs, slender hairlike antennae, and long, dark wings that it occasionally 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.


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.

German Cockroach


The German cockroach stands out among Florida’s many roach species as the most harmful as they reproduce very quickly. 


It is the smallest roach you’ll encounter in Florida, measuring at approximately half an inch in length. The wings 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. 


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

Smokybrown Cockroach


Cockroaches of the smoky brown variety are among the most common flying roaches found in Florida. They will flit around your patio lights and 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, at around 1 inch in length, and sporting shorter, more curled antennae. They’re slimmer and glossier than the Florida wood roaches.

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


Smokey Browns 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 smoky brown roaches have the potential to be disastrous. They also have a powerful attraction to artificial light. If you find one inside your home, it most likely got in through an open window or door.

What other places can cockroaches be found around your home?

Cockroaches typically spend daylight hours in hiding places and emerge at night to forage for food. They can be found in, under or around:

  • Sinks or drain boards
  • Cupboards and cabinets
  • Drawers
  • Conduits or pipes
  • Door frames or windows
  • Baseboards or molding strips
  • Underside of tables and chairs
  • Bathrooms
  • Attics
  • Flower Pots

It is extremely common for Florida residents to experience a roach infestation. There are many ways to get rid of them and prevent them from reappearing. Click here for many more tips on how to survive roaches in Florida.

Roaches are active all year, but because they love moisture you can expect more roach activity during Florida’s rainy summer.

If you’ve noticed cockroaches around your home or business, call Brock Pest and Lawn Control right away! Our team provides professional, eco-friendly pest control services for homes and businesses. As colder weather closes in, you may start to notice more insects and other pests trying to use your space as their own. Make sure to get a head start with our extensive, year-round pest control services. As a locally owned and operated pest control company, we proudly serve Florida’s Gulf Coast and northern counties with offices in Panama City, Fort Walton and Panama City Beach.

Have a pest emergency? We provide same day services! Contact our team today.

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