Cockroaches are among the least desirable insects to have in a home. They are believed by many to be filthy, disease-carrying vermin that are expensive to get rid of. However, the family to which roaches belong contains a diverse number of species, few of which actually invade homes. Cockroaches can be red, grey, or brown, but are most commonly red.
General Roach Appearance
Roaches can be similar in appearance to beetles, crickets and other winged insects. According to entomologists Jeffrey D. Hahn and Mark E. Ascerno, roaches are recognizable by their oval shape and slightly flattened appearance. Some roaches have segmented wingless bodies, but most have wings and the ability to fly short distances. Roaches are normally reddish-brown or grey, though they come in rarer colors as well.
In North America, common species include the American cockroach, the German cockroach, and the brown-banded cockroach. An example of a less-obtrusive species is the Madagascar hissing roach. These hardy segmented roaches are native to the island of Madagascar, as their name suggests, and they are used as pets, zoo attractions, and reptile food in the rest of the world.
According to a fact sheet from the Herp Shop, which specializes in the breeding of reptiles, speckled cockroaches are large, grey insects native to Australia. Speckled cockroaches are now bred and sold as food for pet reptiles and amphibians. Their hardiness makes them low-maintenance and simple to care for. Furthermore, grey roaches do not infest homes.
In addition to red and grey roaches are brown, black and green roaches. The Cuban cockroach, for instance, is a lime green roach that can be found in Florida. The Terminix pest library notes that Cuban cockroaches do not infest homes, though they are occasionally drawn to them by bright lights.
June Mebei is a Virginia-based writer who earned her B.A. in English at Georgia State University. She began writing professionally in 2008, and has published narrative essays, editorial articles, short stories and poetry.