- Latin Name: Pycnoscelus surinamensis
- Size: ¾” long
- Color: Dark brown with light brown wings. They are shiny.
- Shape: Oval, shield image located behind the head, wings
- Found in: The Southern United States
- Overview: The Surinam cockroach prefers to be outdoors and can cause problems in gardens and green houses.
Origin: The Surinam cockroach originated in South Asia.
Climate: Surinam cockroaches are found in tropical and subtropical climates. They are sensitive to cold temperatures and can only survive indoors when the temperature drops.
Favorite Foods: Vegetables are a favorite of Surinam cockroaches. In the evenings, they feed on the bark of plants and leaves. This can cause extreme damage to the plants they are feasting on. If they cannot find plants, they will scavenge to find anything they can. In order to survive, they must find water at least every two weeks and food once a month.
Family: The Surinam cockroach reproduces by parthenogenesis. This means they do not need a male to reproduce. The female fertilizes the egg herself. Male Surinam cockroaches are found in Australia, but not the United States. The female carries her egg case, ootheca, in her abdomen until the nymphs hatch. Each egg case has about 24 eggs that survive. A female will reproduce 72 eggs during her lifetime. The nymph will molt at least six times while it is developing into an adult. This development phase lasts up to 220 days. The total lifespan for a female Surinam cockroach is just under a year.
Unique Facts: Only females are found in the United States. The Surinam cockroach likes to burrow several inches deep in soil and mulch. They are nocturnal. They are also called Bi-Colored roaches because their wings are light colored.
Signs of a problem: Check houseplants closely for Surinam cockroaches before bringing them into the house. Surinam cockroaches don’t try to enter homes, but because they burrow in soil and eat plants they are sometimes transported inside unbeknownst to the new plant owner.
Do they attack humans? The Surinam cockroaches do not attack humans, but they may cause mental stress for homeowners who see one running inside their home. Physical discomfort is a common for allergy and asthma sufferers when Surinam cockroaches are present. They are omnivores so while they prefer plants, they will eat anything they can find including trash, which can cause them to carry disease.
Stopping an infestation: The best way to stop an infestation of Surinam cockroaches is by practicing proper yard maintenance. Remove dead leaves and move woodpiles away from the side of the home. Keep up with the landscaping and trim any overgrown plants. If you have mulch in your flowerbeds, be sure it is less than four inches tall so the Surinam cockroach won’t have a place to burrow. Next, seal cracks near windows and door. Make sure the inside of your home is tidy and there aren’t any crumbs on the floor or leaking pipes. If you are nervous about potted plants, talk to a pest care professional about placing bait in the pot. A pest professional will also be able to provide guidance on spraying landscaping and the perimeter of your home. It is not suggested that you try to treat cockroaches alone. It is difficult to find all of their hiding places and rain can remove spray insecticides.