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There are around 4,000 species of cockroaches worldwide and about 450 species in Australia, but very few are pests.
The three main types of cockroaches commonly found in homes and businesses in Australia include the German cockroach, Australian cockroach and American cockroach.
Identifying the cockroach species will help deal with an infestation more effectively. See below for descriptions of the appearance, lifestyle and habits of the cockroaches common in Australia:
Notorious for their world-wide distribution, German cockroaches are easily identifiable by 2 dark longitudinal stripes on their pronotum. Adults grow to approximately 12 – 15mm in length.
The American cockroach is one of the largest pest cockroaches to invade homes and commercial properties.
Also known as the ‘Palmetto bug’ because they live on trees, the American cockroach prefers dark, humid and undisturbed areas and can be found in subfloors, basements, kitchens, roof voids and bathrooms of homes.
One of the smallest pest cockroaches, brown banded adult cockroaches are approximately 10 – 15mm in length and characterised by yellow-brown stripes across their abdomen.
Brown banded cockroaches mostly stay on ground, but may fly in very warm climates. Their preference for warm, humid environments leads them to harbourages within heated buildings - ceilings, attics, inside and around appliance motors. Primarily active at night, these opportunistic feeders particularly enjoy materials with high starch contents.