Pennsylvania Wood Cockroaches


  • Latin Name: Parcoblatta pennslvanica
  • Size: The male is 1” and the female is ¾” long.
  • Color: Dark brown, tan wings and a white marking behind the head
  • Shape: Oval, flat, wings. The wings on a male are longer than his body while the wings of a female only reach to the mid abdomen.
  • Found in: Eastern United States
  • Overview: The Pennsylvania wood cockroach prefers to live outside in the woods.

Origin: Like many cockroach species, the Pennsylvania wood cockroaches originated in Africa.
Climate: They prefer cooler temperatures and the outdoors. They will not survive inside more than a few weeks.
Favorite Foods: Wood and organic matter are two favorites for the Pennsylvania wood cockroach.  They do not like human food and are eager to leave the house.
Family: The Pennsylvania wood cockroach will not reproduce inside.  The adult female is smaller than the adult male. The male flies but the female does not. The males travel together in large groups and have the ability to fly far distances to mate. They are attracted to light and may enter a home because of the light or the smell of a female. Mating season is early summer. There are three stages of a cockroach: egg, nymph and adult.  The female adult produces egg capsules containing 32 eggs. The capsule is light brown and shaped like a half moon. Once the eggs hatch, the nymph stage will last one to two years. The adult stage only lasts a couple months.
Unique Facts: The Pennsylvania wood cockroach lives in hollow trees, under bark, in tree stumps or in woodpiles. They look similar to the Oriental cockroach. Male cockroaches are attracted to light and are excellent flyers.
Signs of a problem: Firewood is the most common place to spot the Pennsylvania wood cockroach. They may also be found nesting under cedar shake shingles on your home. If they manage to make it inside, you will see the males flying around looking for an exit. Because they do not reproduce indoors, you will most likely find the Pennsylvania cockroach alone in your home. It may make you feel better to do a through check, but typically people do not run into issues inside.
Do they attack humans? The Pennsylvania wood cockroach does not attack humans. They do not interact with humans except in rare instances when they have been carried into the house on firewood or accidently flown in an open door or window.
Stopping an infestation: Install screens to all windows if you plan on leaving the windows open at night or live near the woods. Check all of your firewood for insects before bringing it into the home. If possible, store firewood outside away from the house. Treatment inside the house is not suggested as it is rare that these cockroaches will venture inside, however spraying the outside with insecticide is recommended especially for houses in the woods or containing cedar wood shingles. Call a pest control professional to find out more information on keeping these insects away from your property.

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