California Cockroaches: Top 7 Common Types

California is a dream destination for millions of people. Sunny weather year-round, breathtaking beaches, vibrant cultural scene, and diverse natural beauty make this West Coast state hard to resist. Unfortunately, California has become a home for unwelcome visitors such as cockroaches, commonly found scurrying around cities and inside houses or commercial properties. Southern California, in particular, serves as a breeding ground for roaches of all shapes and sizes. With temperatures rarely dropping below 50℉, SoCal’s cozy climate allows cockroaches the perfect place to breed and multiply.

This blog post is a complete guide to California’s most common cockroach species, ranging from German to smokybrown varieties. In addition, we share valuable tips on how to get rid of roaches, insights into what seasons these pests are most prominent during, and advice on how to identify if you have an infestation! Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about California cockroaches.

7 Common Types of Cockroaches in California

Did you know there are about 4,500 species of cockroaches around the world? However, only a handful of these roach families bother California residents. Here are the top 7 types of cockroaches you’ll find in the Golden State:

  1. German Cockroach

    If you find a roach infestation in your home, it’s most likely a German cockroach takeover. German cockroaches are the most common type of roach in California. These critters are only ½ inch long and are easily identified by their light brown coloring and two dark stripes on their pronotum. You’ll commonly find German cockroaches scuttering across kitchen or bathroom floors, with a particular fondness for warm, humid areas close to food and water. A fun fact about German cockroaches is that they are the fastest reproducers compared to any other roach species; a single female cockroach can produce up to 30,000 babies in a year—yikes! When pregnant, female German roaches carry a light tan egg case (usually ¼ inch long) for 1 or 2 days before she drops it and the baby cockroaches are born. Females in this species can carry and hatch an egg case every few weeks.

  2. Brownbanded Cockroach

    Only making up about 1% of indoor infestations, brownbanded cockroaches are much less common than German cockroaches. At about ½” in length, Brownbanded roaches vary in appearance depending on their sex. Females are darker brown, while males are often a lighter tan color. Both male and female brownbanded roaches have light-colored bands on their abdomen, sides of the pronotum, and wings. These pests are often found in hot areas (80℉) and enjoy cozying up to the electrical components of appliances such as TVs, refrigerators, and radios. For their diet, brownbanded cockroaches feast on starchy food (e.g., glue on stamps and envelopes), which are easily found in office buildings and other paper storage spaces. In reproduction, females stick light brown egg cases (¼ inch long) to ceilings, under furniture, or in other dark spaces such as a closet for several weeks before hatching. Females can produce 600 plus offspring in one year!

  3. Oriental Cockroach

    Also known as a “water bug” or “black beetle,” the oriental cockroach lives in moist, dark spaces such as water control boxes, woodpiles, garages, trash cans, and indoor or outdoor drains. Oriental roaches are 1 ¼ inches in length with a black color. Males have shorter wings, while females are extra short, underdeveloped, or rudimentary. These pests prefer cooler temperatures, stick together in groups, and avoid noisy areas during the day. At night, oriental roaches hunt for food in homes, condos, apartments, or businesses. If you ever spot a dark bug in your bathroom tub, it’s most likely an oriental cockroach; these roaches don’t fly and can’t climb vertical surfaces, so they can quickly become stuck in bathrooms and kitchens. Females drop red-brown egg cases (⅜ inch long) in food or debris under sheltered spaces and can produce about 200 roaches annually.

  4. Smokybrown Cockroach

    Smokybrown cockroaches are 1 ½ inches long with a dark brown/mahogany coloring and an almost-black pronotum. Commonly spotted in decorative planter boxes or garages and underneath water boxes or woodpiles, these pests wreak havoc wherever they go. You’ll likely find them in the upper part of your property, such as in the attic or under the roof’s shingles. In the summertime, smokybrown cockroaches relax in nearby trees, shrubs, and other vegetation. Females carry their dark brown egg case (⅜ inch long) for a day before dropping it and letting the eggs hatch. The smokybrown roach’s egg sack can hatch promptly within 24 days or take up to 70 days after being dropped, and around 40–45 nymphs can hatch per case.

  5. American Cockroach

    The American cockroach is probably the type you’re most familiar with. These pests are one of the largest roaches, measuring about 2 inches long with a reddish brown, oversized body. American cockroaches live primarily outdoors and can cause problems in zoos and other animal-rearing properties. Most of the time, these bugs spend their time in humid, warm spaces such as sewer systems, storm drains, and steam tunnels. If you find an American roach inside, you’ll likely spot it around leaking pipes. Unfortunately, due to their time spent near human excrement, these critters often cause food poisoning through the spread of Salmonella. Female American roaches carry egg cases for about 6 days, cement them to a safeguarded surface, and incubate them for 2 months or more. About ⅜ inch long, these sacks are brown when laid down but quickly turn to black within a day or two.


  6. Turkestan Cockroach

    The Turkestan cockroach makes their home in water meter boxes, concrete cracks, leaf litter piles, potted plants, and compost piles. These pests are new to California but are quickly becoming a common nuisance for home and business owners. Females can be mistaken for oriental roaches but are differentiated by their cream-colored markings behind their heads and around their short, circular wings. Turkestan males are confused with American cockroaches but are smaller, with yellowish-tan wings edged with cream-colored stripes. The Turkestan roaches’ reproduction process is similar to oriental cockroaches. You may find these pests inside your home during the dry, warmer months of the year.


  7. Field Cockroach

    On an afternoon walk, you could run into field cockroaches, spotting them in leaf litter piles or plant debris. Field roaches prefer outdoor living and only invade indoor spaces when it’s unbearably hot or dry outside. While often mistaken for German cockroaches, these pests are more olive in color and have a distinguishable black stripe between the eyes. Females carry egg cases until they’re ready to hatch and each capsule holds about 30–40 young roaches. 

How to Spot a Roach Infestation

Don’t want to see any of these cockroach species in your home or business? We don’t blame you! Here are 4 tell-tale signs to watch out for if you want to avoid a costly roach infestation:

  1. Droppings: Cockroaches often leave small droppings wherever they go. Since roaches are small, their droppings can look like coffee grounds or tiny clusters of black specks. You may spot roach excrement in kitchen cabinets or various surfaces.
  2. Out-of-the-ordinary smells: Roach infestations come with a very distinctive smell. If you notice an oily or musty scent around your property, you may have a cockroach problem.
  3. Smears: Cockroaches leave smears behind that can be mistaken for food stains or dirt. These red-brown or brown streaks are left on numerous surfaces and are difficult to clean. Roaches may be occupying your home if you keep finding random smears on kitchen or bathroom counters.
  4. Egg cases: As mentioned above, some roaches drop their egg sack on a protected surface while others carry it before it hatches. If you ever come across brown or red cases around your property, you could be hosting an entire roach family!

If you’ve noticed any of these signs, you must call the professionals immediately. Don’t let your roach problem get out of hand! Contact local California pest control experts to put an extermination plan in place.

3 FAQs about California Cockroaches

Here are 3 common questions we hear about California cockroaches. 

How do I get rid of cockroaches in California?

There are a variety of DIY methods you can use to get rid of California cockroaches. White vinegar, ethanol, and baking soda are a few everyday household items you can utilize to try and eliminate these pests. For example, you can fill a small container with water and another bowl with equal parts sugar and baking soda. Then, place these items near the roaches’ entry point. Once the roaches eat the mixture along with water, they’ll quickly die from the inside out. Here are a few other preventive measures you can take to protect your home from roaches: 

  • Keep surfaces clear of food and clutter
  • Ensure moisture-packed areas are dry (e.g., sinks, tubs, refrigerator leaks)
  • Store food in seal-tight containers
  • Clean up yard debris
  • Scrub underneath kitchen appliances weekly (e.g., microwave, refrigerator, toaster)
  • Take out the trash daily

While home remedies and preventive methods can be effective in the short term, they don’t always promise lasting results. If you’ve tried to get rid of roaches alone without success, it’s time to hire a professional pest control company to eliminate the critters for you. 

Are there flying cockroaches in Southern California?

American cockroaches are the only type in Southern California that fly for short distances. While other roach species have wings, they are unable to fly. Outside of Southern California, numerous roach families fly, such as Asian roaches, smoky brown cockroaches, Australian cockroaches, and more.

When is cockroach season in California?

Due to California’s mild climate year-round, cockroaches are present every season. These pests nibble on decaying plants and leaves or trash in the colder months. Cockroaches can hibernate inside homes and commercial buildings if it gets exceptionally chilly. For this reason, investing in year-round pest control is a good idea to safeguard your space from roach infestations. 

Eliminate California Cockroaches From Your Property For Good

It’s a terrifying sight to witness a cockroach hurrying across the kitchen or office floor. While DIY and preventive methods can be a temporary solution, roaches are known to be stubborn pests that don’t back down. That’s why Preventive Pest Control is here to provide long-term solutions for your cockroach problems. 

For 20 years, we’ve used advanced Temprid technology to safeguard Southern California homes throughout the Inland Empire and Orange County. Our certified technicians prioritize efficiency, consistent communication, and diligent pest control efforts. Contact Preventive’s team to remove roaches and other pests from your California home or commercial business.