Cockroach taking a mugshot holding up a name plate with date and identification number on it.

Cockroaches are some of the most surviving insects you can come across. We’re all aware of this fun fact in school that they can live days without their head, but they only look good in science books and you wouldn’t want to see them inside your house or around your office. There are more than 4000 species of cockroaches discovered so far and very few of them can be considered a pest problem or thought to actively invade houses. That being said, spotting even a single cockroach indoors can lead to the discovery of an infestation.

Types of Cockroaches in Canada include some of the most invading species of cockroaches like the German cockroach and the brown-banded cockroach. These pests are nocturnal and that’s exactly why you find them scattering away when you turn the kitchen lights on. Cockroaches are smart animals and do not face danger, instead, they run off into crevices and dark hiding places. It’s extremely difficult to control their damage to food sources and in Canada including Ontario, they regularly enter homes for warmth and access to food. 

It is important to understand the different species of cockroaches that are most common in Canada, to understand prevention methods and the extent of the problem at hand. Without further ado, here are the 5 most common types of cockroaches in Ontario.

Oriental Cockroach

Oriental cockroaches like moist and warm places. You’ll most likely find them inside your house during winter and they are not your typical light brown large cockroach. 

How To Identify Oriental Cockroaches:

  • Oriental cockroaches grow around 1” – 1 ¼” which is smaller than the American cockroach
  • They are dark brown and closer to black in color
  • Their wings are incapable of flight
  • The female oriental cockroaches do not have any wings and are a little bigger than the male in size. 

Oriental cockroaches live in moist places like sewers and drains. During winters they crawl out and enter homes for warmth and are a major virus and bacteria-carrying pest. Although they have short life spans of around 160 days, don’t let this fool you into thinking your pest problem will go away. Each female oriental cockroach can produce 8 capsules during this time which can contain hundreds of eggs and a population of millions over a year!

Oriental cockroach viewed from different angles. It's dark brown, with long antennae and six legs.

© Melinda Fawver |

American Cockroach

This is the most widely known cockroach and isn’t native to the Americas at all. It comes from Africa and the Middle East and is found all around the world as a result of trade ships. American cockroaches can eat just about anything from meat to vegetables. If you’ve ever seen a cockroach at a bar, it was most likely an American cockroach as their feeding patterns have expanded to even beer!

How To Identify American Cockroaches:

  • American cockroaches grow up around 2” large
  • They have a figure 8 marked on their pronotum (just behind their head)
  • They have two large wings
  • They have a reddish brown colour and it gets lighter toward the end of their wings

American cockroaches constantly feed and their 6 legs can deposit bacteria and infectious disease particles on food, which is a great health risk. Apart from this, they produce a secretion with a strong smell. This secretion is so strong in an American cockroach infestation, it can alter food flavours. 

American cockroach viewed from the fornt. It's brown on the exterior and orange inside and at the tip of its body.

Courtesy of jigsawstocker | Freepik

Brown Banded Cockroach

If you have katsaridaphobia or in simpler terms a fear of roaches, brown-banded cockroaches can be most damaging. Unlike German or Oriental cockroaches, these do not need as much moisture and can nest throughout the house away from the kitchen or dark basements. You can find them in the living room and bedrooms. They also have one of the largest lifespans in cockroach species of around 200 days. 

How To Identify Brown Banded Cockroaches:

  • The most prominent feature are two lighter brown bands running across their dark body
  • They have fairly small sizes of around ½”

Brown Banded cockroaches reproduce at a rate of around 14 capsules over their singular lifespans and each egg capsule can contain more than 16 egg case. They are mostly found around food sources like trash and countertops. 

Brown banded cockroach. It has light brown bands running across its body.

German Cockroach

German cockroach is the main culprit that has given almost all of these trash-eating insects a bad name. German cockroaches are directly linked with humans and their survival depends on humans as they cannot survive cold temperatures in Canada including Ontario. Houses with central heating, warm and dark closet spaces, underneath the fridge and near stoves are all common places for these roaches. 

How to Identify German Cockroaches:

  • They have a light brown colour with two dark brown stripes running down their body.
  • They are smaller than an inch in length and vary around ½” mark
  • They have no wings

Their scientific name is Blattella germanica and they have nocturnal habits. They also secret an odor that can rot certain foods and they are known to carry diseases that can infect humans. They are scavengers eating anything on their way and like most cockroaches, they breed multiple times, and their nymph hatches out while the mother is carrying the egg case. 

The German cockroach has a light brown colour with two dark brown stripes running down its body.

Wood Cockroaches

Wood cockroaches are not intending to invade homes, they are found around woodlands and if given the chance, will make a home under wood sidings of your house. They like to eat food rich in starch, but like all scavengers, they can eat anything. 

How to Identify Wood Cockroaches:

  • Tan to light brown colour on wings
  • Very similar to American cockroaches but smaller in size
  • They do not scatter when lights are turned on
  • They are usually found under wood in moist places like under firewood. 
  • Adult males have wings while the females have much shorter wings

They are an accidental invasive species and you are most likely to encounter them during the summers when they are searching for females to breed. They like travelling in swarms and spotting one around your house, which means there are more hiding nearby.

The wood cockroach has a light brown colour and looks a lot like the American  cockroach but smaller.

Prevention Techniques

Let’s face it, you wouldn’t be here curiously searching about roaches if you hadn’t spotted one around your living room or kitchen. Don’t worry! This is a really common pest problem and should be dealt with immediately to prevent cockroaches from multiplying. Here are a few things you can do to get rid of cockroaches. 

No matter the type of cockroach, they are all scavenging for food. The best thing that prevents cockroach infestation is a thorough cleanup every night. Clean your countertops, cabinets, and kitchen floor every day, and store food in tightly sealed containers. Don’t leave pet food out in the open. 

The next thing that can help prevent cockroaches is keeping the bathroom clean and dry. Cockroaches are attracted to moisture. Try to air out the steam after a shower and make sure the bathroom floor is wiped dry. 

Of course, these are not permanent solutions to your cockroach problem and if you keep seeing roaches in the kitchen and bathroom area, you’re most likely dealing with an infestation and are in dire need of a pest control service. 

Permanent Solution To Cockroach Infestation

The only safe way to get rid of cockroaches once and for all is by using a reputable pest control service. ActionPest offers same-day services in Canada including Ontario and is dedicated to providing best-class service to residents. Some of the methods shared by these experts can help you control the population like using glue traps overnight and bait stations. 

Experts warn you to stay away from infestation zones as roaches can latch onto your clothing and travel with you to other areas of the house or even your car. It is recommended to get help from experts who know how to locate the source, caulk entry points, and use insecticide sprays with proper protective gearing and kits. 

Contact Action Pest today before your roaches start multiplying and the infestation worsens. 

Courtesy of freepik | Freepik


What can be mistaken for roaches?

Water bugs and crickets are often mistaken for roaches because they appear similar and have the same habits.

Why do I have roaches even though my house is clean?

Cockroaches are not only attracted to food, but they also prefer to live in moist and warm places. As the weather outside gets colder, they start finding entry points into your house.

Why do I suddenly have roaches in my house?

Roaches are scavenging animals. They can suddenly appear in previously unseen places in search of food and moisture. They like hiding behind washing machines, fridges, and dark cabinets.

Can you be clean and still have roaches?

While cleanliness can prevent cockroaches, it’s not a hard-set rule that you’ll never have roaches. They can enter your home for warmth and leftover food.

Does one roach mean an infestation?

One roach doesn’t mean an infestation, but it does mean that roaches have found an entryway into your house and a possible infestation might come as they get more curious or eager for food.

How do I know if I have a roach infestation?

The best way to tell an infestation is by spotting different-sized roaches. This means you have cockroaches in different life stages, and they are breeding inside your house. Other signs include egg capsules and tiny black droppings.

Do cockroaches hide in beds?

Cockroaches aren’t interested in your bed. They do not seek shelter there, but wood cockroaches can end up in your bed frame. If you see some kind of tiny insect in your wooden bed, they are most likely termites.

Are cockroaches in houses normal?

Cockroaches in the house are not normal, and this is a sign of infestation. Cockroaches and humans co-exist, but they are an invasive pest

Can you squish a cockroach?

Squishing a cockroach will not adversely affect you. Pest control often squishes one or two wandering cockroaches when they spot them. However, the force needed to squish a cockroach is much larger than a fly, as it can support massive amounts of weight.