roaches are very similar in appearance to the common household cockroach
called the American roach; flat, oval body, long antennae, spiny legs,
chestnut brown color. However, wood roaches are slightly smaller, about
3/4 to 1 1/4 inch long, and the adults, especially the males, appear tan
because of the color of their wings. Adults and large nymphs of the wood
roach can be recognized by a pale, creamy white or transparent stripe on
the outer edge on the thorax. The pale edge extends onto the first 1/3
of the front wings of the adults. Positive identification of small
nymphs is more difficult and usually requires microscopic examination.
cockroaches, also known as wood roaches, are common outdoor dwelling
insects native to North America and found throughout Iowa. Their
normal habitat is moist woodland areas but they frequently become a
household nuisance because they wander into or are carried into
houses as "accidental invaders."
roaches that have wandered into the house usually behave differently
than the household roaches. Wood roaches are not secretive; they are
active both during the day and at night and they are less likely to
scamper out of sight when approached. Also, they will wander about
the house without congregating in any particular location.
roaches do not thrive and reproduce in homes because they require
the consistently moist environment of their natural habitats such as
under wood piles or loose bark and in decaying logs. Indoors, their
presence is strictly a temporary annoyance. They do not harm the
house structure, furnishings or occupants.
The sprays and dusts used with success against household cockroach
species are of very limited benefit against wood roaches. Exclusion
techniques that prevent wood roach entry should be considered. Doors
and windows should be tight fitting and cracks, gaps and other
possible entry points should be sealed. If a breeding site can be
moved or modified (e.g., relocating a wood pile farther from the
house) it might help. Also, store firewood outdoors until you are
ready to burn it. The males are attracted to lights at night and
limiting porch light use in late May through June when males are
flying might be of some benefit. Outdoor insecticide barrier
treatments of diazinon, Dursban, malathion or Sevin around windows
and doors and along the foundation or firewood pile are a last
resort that may reduce the number of wood roaches that get indoors.
Direct application of insecticide to firewood does no good and is
discouraged. Wood cockroaches inside need only be picked up