Wood Cockroaches | Information and Control Guide

Most individuals know what a cockroach is, but not all know there are different species of roaches—and wood cockroaches are one of them. These roaches often live in rotted tree stumps, firewood, logs, dead trees, and loose bark.

What are the wood cockroaches? Wood roaches are outdoor pests native to North America. They typically live in moist woodland places but can be home nuisances since they love to wander around. Also, they have a flat, oval body with spiny legs, long antennae, and a chestnut brown color. 

By reading this guide, you will get more information about wood roaches, including their life cycle, ways to get rid of them naturally, and more!

So, if you are curious enough about these outdoor insects that can potentially go inside your house, consider reading all the given information below. 

Wood Cockroaches Identification

Wood Cockroaches Identification

The wood cockroach is often mistaken for an American, German, or Smoky brown cockroach. They have spiny legs, long antennae, and an oval, flat body in brown or tan color.

Adult females are usually 3/4 of an inch long, while adult males can reach 1 1/4 inches long. They are occasionally called ‘accidental invaders’ as they typically live outdoors but can be carried or wander inside homes.

The males have wings, while the females don’t. Both sexes have a translucent stripe on the outer edge of their thorax and wings.

It’s best to observe their behavior to distinguish them from the typical household roaches. Unlike household roaches, wood cockroaches are not sensitive to light, so you can see them at any time.

They’re not the skittish type and are less likely to scamper away when you come. They also love to wander around houses without congregating in any particular spot.

  • Scientific Name: Parcoblatta pensylvanica
  • Appearance: The wood cockroach is often mistaken for an American cockroach due to the resemblance in their look. These two roaches have a chestnut or tan coloration, oval shape bodies, long antennae with six legs. They only differ in size—being the American roaches are way bigger than the wood roaches.
  • Color: Brown/Tan
  • Lifespan: 10 months to 1 year
  • Habitat: Wood roaches usually live outdoors in moist woodland sites, such as mulch, woodpiles, decaying logs, underneath the loose bark of trees or branches. These roaches require an invariably moist environment to thrive, so they don’t endure for long nor get to breed indoors except if your house has consistent damp areas.
  • Size: 3/4 of an inch (adult female), 1 1/4 of an inch (adult male)
  • Diet: Decaying organic matter, such as leaves, dead animals, or rotting woods
  • Characteristics: Males own wings that are about the size of their bodies, so they are naturally strong fliers. Meanwhile, female wings are shorter than the males, which means they are futile as they can’t fly due to the size of their wings. Both sexes are either tan or brown in color, having two big antennae sticking out their head and six spiny legs.

Wood Cockroaches Life Cycle

Like most cockroach species, the wood cockroach has three developmental phases—egg, followed by the nymph stage, then the adult stage. Eggs are put in egg capsules, made during warm months, and deposited after in the fallen logs, loose bark of dead trees, or stumps.

Wood cockroaches’ average lifespan is around twenty to thirty weeks, given that they have constant access to food and water. 

Do Wood Roaches Infest Homes?

Do Wood Roaches Infest Homes

Wood roaches don’t infest homes, though sometimes they might find their way inside by accident or through any wood item carried inside the house.

Wood roaches are not attracted to clutter or leftover foods, so they tend to stay outdoors. You will more likely encounter wood roaches if your home is close to the woods or if you bring some firewood inside.

Are Wood Roaches Harmful?

Wood cockroaches aren’t harmful or detrimental to homeowners. They won’t make nests, infest, or damage your belongings. In addition, they don’t carry any disease, or bite pets and humans, either.

Why Do I Have Wood Cockroaches?

Why Do I Have Wood Cockroaches

One of the reasons wood cockroaches are present in your place is because of the moisture in your area. These roaches love warm, damp sites. So if your home has these attributes, you’ll likely see them.

Nonetheless, wood roaches don’t usually reside in houses but only go inside homes for leftover foods. But, they are prone to dwelling in homes with rotting wood or moist sites due to water damage.

Typically, these pests live outdoors in the ground litter, barks of loose trees, and woodpiles. They often only get carried into houses through wood items like firewood.

How Worried Should I Be About Wood Cockroaches?

There’s nothing to worry about having wood cockroaches as they’re not known to damage structures or bring in any diseases. However, they can be a real nuisance once they’re in great numbers and enter your house. 

What Smell Do Wood Roaches Hate?

What Smell Do Wood Roaches Hate

Roaches have a fantastic sense of smell, making it easy for them to find food. You can take advantage of this by applying scents they hate that will deter and get rid of them in the process.

Some of the scents they hate are:


Cockroaches detest the scent of lavender, which is good for you. If you like to grow lavender in your garden or yard, you are more than mid-way to a roach-free home. 

Just plant lavender close to your home, and this will serve as a barrier for roaches. However, if planting isn’t your thing, you can opt to use lavender oil in your home to chase these roaches away.

To use, just mix a few drops of lavender oil into the water. Put it in a clean spray bottle, and spray the solution into the areas where you often see wood cockroaches.


The scent of fresh citrus is pleasant to smell but not to cockroaches. Use citrus-scented cleaners when cleaning the kitchen and bathroom areas as this hunts the lingering roaches away.

You can also put a few citrus peels (orange or lemon) around your home in strategic locations. This will send a signal to roaches to stay away. 

You can also make a solution using lemon juice with some water. Put the mix in a clean spray bottle and spray it in areas where you often observe roaches. Reapply as needed.


The scent of eucalyptus is refreshing to humans, but cockroaches find it rather sickening. So, if you can, consider planting a eucalyptus bush in your front yard or make a spray solution using eucalyptus oil and spray it around your home.

To make a eucalyptus spray, get some water. Put it in a clean spray bottle. Then, put some drops of eucalyptus oil and spray them around your house or in affected areas.

If all the natural solutions don’t work, call in a professional pest control provider to deal with the issue.

How Do I Eliminate Wood Cockroaches in My House?

Since this cockroach species is only an accidental invader, it’s much easier to keep them out of your home. Just ensure you maintain the weather stripping and screens in a good state, without any holes. 

It’s also best to inspect the exterior walls occasionally and fill up voids and cracks using a caulk. Also, consider cutting tree branches away from your house’s roof so the wood cockroaches won’t have easy access inside your home.

Furthermore, ensure the gutters are unclogged and fix any issues that let moisture form around the house walls. It’s also beneficial to rake up leaves and away from home. 

If you have tried all preventative measures and still encounter wood roaches in your home, it’s best to call a professional pest exterminator. They can get rid of the wood roaches and make a pest prevention plan to fulfill your needs.

How Can I Prevent Wood Cockroaches Invading?

To prevent wood cockroaches from invading your place, consider doing the following:

  • Consider bringing only enough firewood indoors for a day or two to deter these insects from later appearing in the house.
  • Don’t bring in large quantities of firewood to reduce possible breeding sites.
  • Hoard firewood piles away from home.
  • Keep tight-fitting screens in doors and windows.
  • Seal the cracks or entry points.
  • Contain water leaks and keep drain traps capped.
  • Pull decomposing leaves away from window wells.
  • Move trash cans out of moist areas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Wood Attract Cockroaches?

Cockroaches are particularly attracted to rotting wood. These roaches eat almost anything they find in their way but are drawn to the rotting matter, moisture, and unsanitary conditions. 

Are Wood Roaches Fast to Multiply?

Wood roaches can multiply quickly, so it won’t take long for them to invade a property. So, if you find them in your home, it’s best to deal with them right away.

Do Wood Roaches Carry Diseases?

Wood roaches don’t carry any diseases, so they’re not dangerous. Instead, they are more of a nuisance to homeowners, and they don’t even bite or sting.


Wood cockroaches are not harmful, unlike household roaches. They don’t bite, contaminate food, or damage any belongings.

However, they can be a genuine nuisance inside homes since they can quickly multiply. In this case, you can use the given methods above or call a pest control professional to solve the problem. 

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Wood Cockroach

Wood Roach


Wood Cockroach