The American cockroach is one of the larger cockroach species. American cockroaches are reddish-brown to dark brown (except for a tan or light yellow band around the shield behind the head). Their oval shaped body can measure from 1 to 1-1/2 inches in length. Males and females are about the same size. They have wings making them capable of flight, but they usually seen scurrying around on their six legs. The wings are about the same length as the body in the females and longer in the males, extending slightly beyond the abdomen. When feeling threatened they will scatter and adult males can glide for extended distances. Adults can live at least two to three months without food, a month without water, and can easily survive outdoor freezing temperatures.
The American cockroach is commonly found outdoors in landscaped areas, sewers or storm drains and in low areas of a building where moisture levels are higher. Indoors, they are most commonly found in restaurants, grocery stores, and other places where food is prepared or stored. They are often found in damp sewers and basements, in heating ducts, and on the first floors of buildings. They can be transported into homes and apartments in boxes from infested establishments. This species feeds on decaying organic matter. They hide during the day in sheltered, dark places and forage for food at night, often running rapidly when disturbed. However, American cockroaches are one of the least common roaches found in homes.