Smokey brown cockroaches prefer moist, dark, protected areas with poor ventilation. Like most cockroaches it is a scavenger and the smokey brown cockroach can feed off a wide array of organic (including decaying) matter. These roaches have a tendency to loose moisture rapidly than its relatives and require water every two to three days. They require high humidity for survival.
The smokey brown cockroach prefers warmer climates and is not very tolerant of the cold. It may come indoors to look for food and even to live. They move about readily, going in and out of buildings. Generally, however, in warm weather, it will move outdoors. These insects then become a pest when, attracted by interior lights, they gain entry into a home or structure through gaps into the home such as openings or gaps beneath siding, through attic or soffit vents, openings around utility and plumbing penetrations, and through open windows or doors. These cockroaches can be attracted by a leaky roof. They are great fliers and like to stay around houses that have pet food outside and open trash containers. It often lives around the perimeter of buildings.
Outdoors, they are found outside in wooded areas that provide protection from the elements, warmth, shade and a lot of moisture. Since this insect is prone to dehydration, the availability of a moist environment is critical for its survival. They can also be seen in protected areas around homes (tree holes and mulch) and in buildings and attics. Stacks of lumber and firewood, sewer-access openings and trash piles can contribute to infestations. Once in structures they are commonly found in attics or near fireplaces.
Since they are nocturnal, their feeding activity is most evident during the late dusk or early dawn hours when the insects leave their hiding places in search of food. While smokey brown cockroaches prefer to eat decaying plant matter, they will consume any food source available to them, including human food scraps, dead insects, fecal matter, and plant materials. The life span of smokey brown cockroaches averages over a year, although they can live as long as two years or more under ideal conditions.