At as long as 2 ⅛ inches, an American cockroach is the largest cockroach that is likely to get into your Pittsburgh home. Perhaps you've seen one. An American cockroach is a chestnut color with a yellowish-orange figure 8 pattern on its back, just below the head. It is a flat, oval bug with stacked wings on its back, and six, prickly legs. They use the tiny spines on their legs to climb walls and run across ceilings at full speed. If they weren't so disturbingly gross, they might be pretty cool to have running around inside our homes. Cockroaches are amazing creatures. But it isn't cool to have cockroaches in your home. It isn't cool at all. Here are some things you should definitely know about American cockroaches if you see them in your Pittsburgh home.  

American Cockroach Infestation

Not all cockroaches want to live inside your home with you. Some only get in by accident and go right back out. Some never get into homes. The American cockroach will not only get into your home, it can stay in your home permanently.

American Cockroaches Breed Quickly

It doesn't take long for a few American cockroaches to turn into a whole bunch of roaches. At her peak, a single female can produce one egg case per month for ten month with each egg case containing 16 eggs. Each of her offspring will grow to live as long as 30 months.

What It Means When You See An American Cockroach

Not only are American cockroaches nocturnal, they have a strong aversion to being around people. It is said that, if you see one cockroach, there are probably hundreds in your walls. You're more likely to hear them skittering across kitchen or bathroom floors at night, or finding black cockroach excrement in dark, secluded locations to let you know that you have an infestation.

Diseases Spread By American Cockroaches

  • Cockroaches are implicated in the spread of more than 33 kinds of harmful bacteria, including salmonella, streptococcus, staphylococcus, and E. coli.

  • Cockroaches collected in urban centers have been found with at least 6 parasitic worms. The most common parasitic worm found was Ascaris, which is a roundworm. This worm can cause ascariasis, an infection of the small intestine or lungs.

  • Cockroaches are known to transmit at least 7 human pathogens.

  • Cockroaches have been found to aggravate asthma symptoms, and their presence in homes often leads to increased hospital visits for asthma-related symptoms.

Food Infesting Pests

These insects are prone to getting into stored foods and they are equipped to chew through paper, cardboard, and thin plastic. If you have an infestation, you should consider putting these foods in sealed containers. This will protect them from being contaminated by curious cockroaches searching for a morsel to eat.

Your Toothbrush

Cockroaches are drawn to the smell of toothpaste. While you're sleeping, they may climb onto the bristles of your toothbrush and leave invisible organisms that you could put in your mouth when you brush your teeth in the morning.


American cockroaches are strongly attracted to sources of moisture. One source that could put you at risk is the saliva in your mouth. Roaches can climb on you and drink saliva from your mouth as you sleep. They're also drawn to the sour milk smell of a baby's mouth.

American Cockroaches Can Bite

While they are not prone to bite, they can and do bite when populations get larger than the availability of food sources. When they bite, they usually bite around the eyes because they feed on dead skin cells and eyelashes. They'll also bite around the mouth. These bite wounds often swell up due to the bacteria from the cockroach immediately infecting the wound.

Cockroach Control

It is never good to have American cockroaches (or any other cockroaches) running around inside your Pittsburgh home. If you see or hear signs of roaches in your home, contact Witt Pest Management for elimination and control of those cockroaches. Our team of pest professionals use field-tested strategies to monitor for cockroach activity and systematically check to make sure that all the cockroaches are gone. Reach out to us today for immediate assistance.