Smokybrown Cockroaches


Actual Size: 1 to 1.5”

Characteristics: Uniform shiny mahogany brown

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes, and both males and females can fly.

Habitat: Often found in crawl spaces or basements within properties.


  • Need moisture to survive.
  • Adults can fly, especially on warm humid evenings.
  • May invade structures, but often found dead indoors from dehydration.

Smokybrown Cockroaches in North Carolina

The smokybrown cockroach is a tropical urban pest in many parts of the United States and is common in Texas, the Gulf Coast, throughout North Carolina, and in some areas of California. This species is usually found outside in decorative plantings and planter boxes, woodpiles, garages, and water meter boxes; it may occasionally inhabit municipal sewers. They sometimes invade homes, spreading bacteria as they take refuge in areas such as attics, bathrooms, and kitchens. Adults can fly, especially on warm humid evenings.

Smokybrown Cockroach Habitat

Smokybrown cockroaches need moisture to survive, and outdoors they are found in mulch, woodpiles, leaf litter, and tree bark— locations used as protection against drying out. These roaches are occasionally found indoors preferring the upper parts of buildings; they also live under shingles or siding and sometimes get into trees, shrubs, and other vegetation during summer months. Smoky Brown roaches are sometimes found in kitchens, bathrooms, attics, and near points of entry such as garage and crawl space doors.

Smokybrown Cockroach Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Though their preferred habitat is outdoors, smokybrown cockroaches can still cause problems for homeowners, especially in humid environments. They live in a variety of disgusting places, from piles of dead leaves to storm drains and sewers, and even eat bird droppings. When entering your home, they will bring dangerous bacteria with them, contaminating cooking and eating surfaces. Their skin may also trigger allergies in sensitive people. They rarely survive in dry indoor environments, though rare cases of indoor infestations can occur in moist, organic-rich conditions. They are often found dead indoors likely due to dehydration.

Do Smokybrown Cockroaches Bite?

While smoky brown cockroaches have the capability to bite, it is extremely rare for them to do so. They typically bite only when threatened or if they mistake a piece of food on the skin. Their bites can cause minor irritation but are generally not harmful.

If you suspect a smokybrown cockroach infestation, it is recommended to contact a professional cockroach exterminator.

What are Smokeybrown Roaches Attracted to?

Smokybrown cockroaches are attracted to moist environments and food sources, particularly those that are high in starches, sweets, and greasy substances. They are also drawn to decaying organic matter, which provides both food and habitat. Outdoor lights at night can attract these roaches, leading them to enter homes and buildings through small openings.

What is the Difference Between American Cockroaches and Smokybrown Cockroaches?

While both American and smoky brown cockroaches are large and can be found in similar environments, there are distinct differences between the two species:

  • Color: Smokybrown cockroaches are uniformly dark brown to black, whereas American cockroaches are reddish-brown with a distinctive yellowish figure-8 pattern on the back of their heads.
  • Habitat Preference: American cockroaches are more commonly found in sewer systems, basements, and other dark, moist areas within buildings. In contrast, smoky brown cockroaches are more likely to be found outdoors, in attics, and in areas with high moisture content.
  • Behavior: Smokybrown cockroaches are strong fliers, especially attracted to lights at night, while American cockroaches, although capable of flight, do so less frequently.