While there exists more than one million insect species that dwell in a variety of habitats, most insects thrive in warm and humid conditions in tropical and subtropical geographic locations. This is true when it comes to the vast majority of the more than 4,500 cockroach species that have been documented worldwide, but a small number of cockroach species have become well adapted to living alongside humans in a variety of climates. Around 30 cockroach species worldwide are considered pests, but only four can be found on occasion within homes and buildings in Maine. These cockroach pest species include German, American, brown-banded, Oriental, and in rare cases, Pennsylvania wood cockroaches.

While Pennsylvania wood cockroaches can be found in Maine, they are considered only minor nuisance pests in the state. Oriental cockroaches are widely distributed throughout the US and into southern Canada, but they are responsible for a small proportion of cockroach infestations in Maine. American cockroaches are occasional indoor pests in Maine, but they generally infest large buildings rather than homes. The brown-banded cockroach is becoming a progressively more common pest in the state. The German cockroach, on the other hand is a very common indoor pest in both homes and buildings in Maine, and they are responsible for the majority of roach infestations in the state.

German cockroaches are unique for dwelling primarily within homes and buildings where they have evolved to exploit human food sources and other resources. German cockroach adults are light brown and around ½ an inch in length, and they can be recognized for the two vertical stripes on their back. American cockroaches are much larger in size at around 1 ¾ to 2 or more inches in length, and while they are often found within homes, they are particularly common in restaurant kitchens.

Cockroach infestations are more common in Maine than some residents realize, and they are considered medically significant due to their habit of infesting stored foods where they spread numerous pathogens. Last year, cockroaches were found multiple times within a popular Lewiston restaurant, and three years ago a restaurant in Auburn was forced to close due to cockroach-related food safety violations. Also, pest issues involving cockroaches have become a common problem within apartment buildings in Maine, and the pests are known to invade homes from filthy environments, such as sewers and garbage collections.

Have you ever struggled to control cockroaches within your home?