Wood roaches are not invasive roach species like the oriental cockroaches or German cockroaches.
Wood cockroaches or tree roaches are native to North America. In the US, you’ll find wood roaches in all the states.
But wood roaches are more widespread in Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.
In this wood roach vs. cockroach guide, you’ll find out the significant differences between wood roach and cockroaches.
You’ll also find out where wood roaches hide, how and why they enter your home, and how to get rid of wood cockroaches.
Let’s dive in.
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Wood Roach Vs. Cockroach – The Similarities
Some people wonder if a wood roach is a cockroach or not. Yes, it is.
There are 4500 cockroach species, and wood roach is one of them.
Wood roaches, also known as tree cockroaches, have the same lifecycle as other species of cockroaches.
It means that wood roaches lay eggs. From the eggs, the nymphs or baby roaches hatch out. And the nymphs molt or shed their skin multiple times before they reach adulthood.
Wood roaches have the same anatomy as other roaches.
However, their size, color, behavior, food choices, and infestation places differ, which you’ll find out in the next section.
Like most other species of roaches, wood roaches also prefer moist places to hide and nest.
Wood Roach Vs. Cockroach – The Differences
There are two significant differences between wood roaches and other species of cockroaches.
- Wood roaches are outdoor roaches. It means they don’t invade homes. In contrast, most other species of roaches in the US are home invaders.
- Wood roaches eat only decaying organic matter like rotting leaves and wood. They are not indiscriminate eaters like other home-invading roaches that prefer fatty, starchy, and sugary food.
Other differences include color, size, and behavior.
Wood roaches are tan, and they’re smaller than most species of cockroaches, including American and Oriental roaches.
An adult male wood roach grows up to 1 inch in length, and the female is only 3/4 or 0.75 inches long.
That makes them they are similar to German roaches’ size.
Another interesting difference between wood roaches and other cockroaches is that wood roaches are attracted to light.
So, glowing light bulbs can bring the wood roaches inside. But, unfortunately, that makes them accidentally intrude on your home.
But once the wood roaches are in, they’d like to move out asap. It’s because, at the interiors of your home, they can’t nest and breed.
Also, they don’t have any food source inside your house. They might eat some fallen food crumbs, but that doesn’t keep them alive for long.
Other species of roaches can tend to run away and hide when they come across a human. But wood roaches don’t.
Well, that makes it easy to squish wood roach under your boots.
But it’s not always wise to do so because the splashed out guts from a squashed wood roach can attract ants and other cockroaches.
Where Do Wood Roaches (Tree Roaches) Hide
Wood roaches prefer to hide in your yard or garden under decaying leaves and firewood.
That’s why many people also call them yard roaches.
You’d also find them in mulch and gutters choked with leaves and organic debris.
As you know by now, wood roaches eat decaying matter, so your yard and garden is an ideal place for them to hide.
At night, the light from your porch can attract the wood roaches. That’s why you might find many cockroaches scurrying around in your yard after sunset.
But there’s a catch.
Wood roaches can invade wooden homes made in the woods.
It’s because wood roaches prefer to live in wood. So it doesn’t matter to them if it’s a wooden home or wooden log.
Do Wood Roaches Fly
Yes, wood roaches fly. But it’s the only males that can fly because they’ve got a pair of fully developed wings.
The female wood roaches can’t fly.
When Are Wood Roaches Most Active
Wood roaches are most active during the winters.
But during the mating season, which is May and June, the male wood roaches fly around a lot, creating a nuisance.
It’s during the mating season that many flying male wood roaches accidentally fly into homes.
Are Wood Roaches Bad
Wood roaches aren’t harmful or dangerous.
If they’re inside your home, they won’t infest, make nests, and they won’t damage your furniture and other belongings.
Wood roaches also don’t carry any diseases because they don’t eat any filth. And they don’t bite humans or pets either.
How To Get Rid Of Wood Roaches?
Finally, in this section, you’ll find out how to get rid of wood roaches from your deck, yard or outside, and your house.
Let’s begin with how to get rid of wood roaches in your house.
Get Rid Of Wood Roaches In House
Wood roaches are accidental intruders to your home. They’re inside by chance, or the light from your home attracted them.
We don’t recommend using any aerosol spray or pesticide to get rid of wood roaches inside your home.
It’s because the source of infestation lies outside your home. And wood roaches don’t bring any infestation threat inside your house.
The best way to get rid of wood roaches crawling on the floor is to use a vacuum cleaner on them.
Wood roaches in deep and dark corners of your home.
It’s because when they’re inside your home, they’re looking for a way out. So, if there’s any wood roach inside your home, then you would find them scurrying them on the floor, looking for an exit.
After vacuuming your home, discard the vacuum dust bag filled up with wood roaches away from your home and yard.
If you don’t, then the wood roaches may chew through the vacuum dust bag, and they’d be back again.
Remember, wood roaches don’t eat what other home-invading cockroaches eat. So, using cockroach baits will not lure the wood roaches.
If you don’t get disgusted by the sight of a squashed cockroach, then you can squish the wood roach under your shoes.
But make sure you discard the dead body of the wood roach and clean the surface with a disinfectant.
If you don’t, the wood roach’s splashed out guts and interiors will attract ants and other domestic cockroaches.
If there’s firewood in your yard, then check every block of firewood for wood roaches hiding in it.
If there’s any wood roach in the firewood, get rid of it before you bring it inside your home.
Do not bring firewood with wood roaches inside your home.
Termites can easily infest firewood. So, do not bring firewood infested with termites. That can cause a massive termite infestation inside your home.
But how to prevent wood roaches from entering your home?
Here are the steps that you should take –
- Caulk all the gaps and cracks on your home’s walls, doors, and windows with a silicone-based sealant. Bugs and roaches cannot chew through silicone-based sealants.
- Fix any water leakages from pipes inside and outside your home. Leaking pipes increases moisture and dampness that makes your home more inhabitable for roaches.
- Do not leave the light bulbs on the deck or the porch glowing for extended periods, especially during the mating months of May and June.
- Keeping the light bulbs will cause the male wood roaches to fly inside your home. Attracted by the light, the female wood roaches will crawl inside your home. That will also attract the male wood roaches.
- Keep firewood pile at least 6-8 feet far from your home. If there’s a mulch layer touching the home’s perimeter, then remove it.
- Install bug zappers at the deck of your home. That’ll kill any flying male wood roach that can get inside your home.
- Protect your windows with window screens and install weather stripping at the doors to prevent wood roaches and other flying bugs from entering your home.
Get Rid Of Wood Roaches Outside In Your Yard Or Garden
Wood roaches are outdoor roaches, and they hide, nest, and breed in your yard or garden outside of your home’s perimeters.
Getting rid of them is easy and entirely hassle-free.
You can use residual insecticide sprays like Bioadvanced on firewood piles, moist soil beds, mulch, and layers of rotting leaves.
Ensure that you don’t forget to spray on places like gutters where leaves and broken twigs get stuck. Wood roaches hide in gutters too.
To stop wood roaches from entering your home, spray the insecticide spray on the deck, patio, windows, and doors of your home.
There are a few home remedies too to get rid of wood roaches in your yard.
The first is by making a mixture of boric acid and hot water.
Mix boric acid and water in the ratio of 1:3 and spray it on the places where wood roaches hide or where you’ve found them.
The mixture will kill the wood roaches on contact.
Another option is diatomaceous earth.
Scatter diatomaceous earth on your yard, especially on mulch, gutters, and firewood piles. Not surprisingly, diatomaceous earth will kill them too.
You can also use a spray made out of white vinegar and water. The mixture works great to get rid of roaches.
But the key to keeping wood roaches out of your yard is by keeping your yard clean.
Remove all organic debris from your yard. Fix any water leakages which are keeping your yard moist and damp.
A damp and moist yard is heaven for roaches and all types of bugs and pests.
Clean the gutters often. Don’t let organic debris like leaves choke the gutters.
Ensure there’s no rotting firewood in your yard. Instead, keep the firewood under a shed so that the rains don’t rot them.
Remember, rotting firewood is the home for wood roaches.
It’d be best if you keep firewood over a cemented foundation.
Firewood attracts termites too. If you keep firewood on a cemented foundation, then subterranean termites won’t attack the firewood from underground.
Get Rid Of Wood Roaches On Deck
Wood roaches can hide between the wooden beams of the deck and underneath it.
From these places, the wood roaches can sneak inside your home.
The best way to get rid of wood roaches on deck is to sprinkle borax detergent booster or diatomaceous earth on the deck.
Both borax and diatomaceous earth kill roaches.
Let the powder sit on the deck for at least an hour. Then vacuum clean the deck.
Vacuum cleaning will remove the dead roaches from the deck.
If there’s a gap between the ground and the deck, spray an insecticide spray underneath the deck.
Also, ensure that there are no rotting leaves and overgrown shrubs in and around your deck.
Wood roaches have two significant differences from other cockroaches.
These are –
- Wood roaches are outdoor roaches. They don’t prefer to invade homes.
- Wood roaches only eat decaying organic matter.
In this guide, you’ve also found other differences like differences in color, shape, and size.
Also, there’s a complete list of steps that you can use to get rid of wood roaches in the yard and home.
Nang Chen is an Entomologist and Arachnologist who is associated with Vienna’s museum of natural history. He’s also a consultant with real estate groups, insecticide conglomerates and law enforcement groups as a forensic entomologist. Nang Chen holds an M.S. from South China University and he’s a regular contributor to our site.