Houston Home Inspector Provides Information About The Wood
Wood CockroachWood 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.
- Wood 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."
- Wood 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
- Wood 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.
- Control: 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 discarded.