The most well known cockroaches inhabiting the United States include, the German cockroach, the American cockroach and the oriental cockroach. These species are also commonly recognized as being the most significant roach pests in the US, if not the entire world. Out of the 4,500 roach species that have been documented, only 30 are considered nuisance pests. The vast majority of cockroach species dwell within uninhabited forested regions located in tropical regions. For decades, researchers long considered the spotted mediterranean cockroach to be just another forgettable forest-dwelling species. However, after this species was accidentally introduced into the state of Massachusetts nearly 70 years ago, it became clear that these roaches have no problem invading homes.

The spotted Mediterranean cockroach first appeared in America in Cape Cod, indicating that the roaches were inadvertently transported to the country from Europe, as Cape Cod is a major port of entry for foreign vessels. In 1948, the first significant American presence of these cockroaches appeared within the city of Falmouth, MA where the roaches were documented as invading homes during the nighttime hours and infesting vegetable gardens. At the time, pest control and agricultural officials in the US made an effort to quarantine this roach within the state of Massachusetts, as researchers had noted this roach species’ slow spread and nuisance activity within Europe. Despite a few spotted Mediterranean cockroach sightings in Michigan, the quarantine strategy was a success, until the arrival of the early 2000s when researchers discovered that other New England states had been infiltrated by these roaches. Although it was initially believed that this roach species was largely a non-pest, it is now clear that spotted Mediterranean roaches infest homes and buildings after being lured by artificial light. Last year in Concord, MA, these roaches were discovered infesting an apartment in the city. Several spotted Mediterranean cockroach specimens were collected by apartment residents and later identified. The roaches were most often encountered skittering around within apartment unit cupboards that had contained food.

Have you ever found a pale brown cockroach specimen?