The Brownbanded Cockroach

Common Name:
Brownbanded Cockroach
Scientific Name:
Supella longipalpa (Fabricius)


Brownbanded cockroaches get their common name from the pale brown bands which run across the wings of the adult, but more appropriately, from the pale brown bands which run across the body of the nymph. This species is apparently of African origin and was presumably introduced from Cuba into Florida about 1903. It now occurs throughout the United States.


Adults about 1/2" (male 13-14.5 mm; female 11-12 mm) long. Color light brown to brown with females much darker than males; head brown, pronotal shield with brown liberty-bell shaped pattern formed by translucent lateral margins or sides, and wings darker at base but paler towards their tips with exception of a pate band at their base and another about 1/3 from base. Female darker than male, her abdomen much broader and more rounded, and her wings do not completely cover the abdomen as they do in males. Males readily fly, but females cannot fly.

Nymphal instars 1-2 with thorax dark brown to black, but having pale lateral margins, mesothorax with white central area, metathorax pale/white its entire width or at least on its posterior half, abdomen with white central area; thorax and abdomen pale/white ventrally. Later instars (3rd on) with pronotum having a dark liberty-bell shaped pattern formed by pale/clear lateral margins, meso- and metathorax mostly white but white areas of mesothorax usually divided by dark posterior and sublateral margins; abdomen with lst segment dark, next 4 segments dark laterally on dorsum.

Ootheca or egg capsule light brown; length about 1/4" (5 mm) or less, with length less than twice width; subdivisional furrows extending entire width; bottom straight, top slightly bowed or arched; and with 8-1 0 subsegments but only 7-9 eggs on each side.


(Adults only)

  1. German cockroach (Blattelia germanica), Asian cockroach (B. asahinai), and field cockroach (B. vaga) have 2 dark longitudinal stripes on pronotal shield.

  2. Pennsylvania wood cockroach (Parcoblatta pensylvanica) lacks dark liberty-bell shaped pattern on pronotal shield and cross bands on wings.

  3. Other cockroaches are either smaller or larger, lack characteristic pronotal and wing color patterns, and/or are not associated with structures.


The female carries the ootheca for 24-36 hours and then attaches it, usually to the side or undersurface of shelves, furniture, etc. On the average, the female will produce about 14 egg capsules with each containing about 14-18 eggs (range 10-18), with an average hatch of 13-14 per egg capsule.

Developmental time (egg to adult) is greatly influenced by temperature, varying from 90-276 days but averaging about 161 days. Adults live about 206 days (range 131-315).


Brownbanded cockroaches are found throughout structures but show a preference for warmer areas, over 80'F (27'C). Be sure to check ceilings, anything high on walls such as picture frames and wall molding, near appliance motors, and in light switches, closets, and furniture.