These pests are outside the authority of the Vector Control Program. We offer educational information but do not control or regulate these pests. 

Cockroaches are pests and a danger to public health. They can spread diseases and germs, contaminate food with droppings, and cause damage by chewing.

Cockroaches will eat just about anything. They prefer to live in warm, damp areas like sewers, bathrooms, cabinets, furniture, electrical appliances, basements, porches, or crawl spaces. 


Four types of cockroaches are likely to cause problems:

German Cockroach (most common)

Light brown, 3/4" long. Prefers damp, warm places inside the home, such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Adults: Two dark stripes. 

Nymphs: Two dark vertical stripes behind the head.

American Cockroach


Reddish-brown, 1-1/2" long. Prefers warm, damp places outdoors, such as sewers and water meters.

Adults: Wings cover their abdomens.

Nymphs: Darker sides and segment margins.


Oriental Cockroach

Black, 1-1/4" long. Prefers damp, cooler sites, such as water-meter curb boxes, trash piles, shrubbery, and other protected outdoor areas, as well as basements and sometimes sewers.

Adults: Black with wings shorter than the abdomen.

Nymphs: Shiny, dark reddish-brown to black color.

Banded Cockroach

Light brown, 1/2" long. Prefers warm, dry places. Found anywhere in the house including furniture, closets, and around the ceiling. Less common in restaurants.

Adults: Two pale bands across the base of the wings.

Nymphs: Two pale bands across the back.


Cockroach EggsCockroach Eggs


You may see live cockroaches, but also look for:

  • Old skins shed by nymphs as they grow
  • Small, leather-like egg cases
  • Droppings that look like coffee grounds along runways
  • Brownish stains along cracks
  • Sour, musky odors
  • Dead cockroaches


Cockroaches need food, water, access and hiding places to infest a building. Eliminating them takes a team effort by management, tenants, and a pest control operator.


  • Repair all holes and cracks in walls, ceilings, and floors to block access and hiding places
  • Use and maintain door sweeps to make sure that exterior doors seal well to thresholds
  • Repair all plumbing leaks in bathrooms and kitchen (water sources)


  • Report the first sign of cockroaches to management in writing and save a copy
  • Eliminate water sources and quickly clean up spills
  • Store food in tightly sealed containers
  • Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight
  • Do not leave a pet's water or food dish out overnight
  • Report plumbing leaks to the building manager
  • Follow pest control operator's pre-treatment instructions for your unit


  • Properly treat all infested units and inspect neighboring units as well as affected units during follow up inspections 
  • Recommend to manager ways to properly exclude cockroaches



Insecticides can provide temporary control. Always read the label carefully before buying to make sure it is the right product for your home and remember to follow the instructions on the label.

  • Contact sprays kill cockroaches on contact. They may last on surfaces up to a few hours or more. If sprayed in kitchen or bath areas, wash areas well.
  • Residual sprays come in different forms and may last a few weeks or months. Apply in cracks and crevices and along runways, as the label directs.
  • Dusts are used between walls or cracks and crevices. Use dusts only in dry, void spaces under cabinets, stoves, TVs, stereos, refrigerators and where it will not contaminate food.
  • Baits can be used where there is little for cockroaches to eat.

For more information on cockroaches, contact a licensed pest control company.


  (858) 694-2888


German Cockroach photo by Lmbuga
American Cockroach photo by Sputniktilt
Oriental Cockroach photo by Gail Hampshire
Banded Cockroach photo by James L. Castner, University of Florida