Adult males are slightly more than two inches long and female are about one and one-halfinches long. Body is shiny, reddish brown to brown; pronotum has a yellowish white margin with dark brown interior. Wings extend beyond the abdomen in males, and as long as the abdomen in females.
Egg case is dark brown to blackish brown and contains 14 to 165 eggs; hatching occurs in 57 days. Females produce 15 to 90 egg cases in a lifetime; typically 10 to 15 within 10 months. Nymph development is five to 15 months.
Adult life span is 90 to 706 days for females, and 90 to 362 days for males.
Habits. Survival without food or water is about 29 days for males and 42 days for females; survival with water is 43 days for males and 90 days for females. Adults readily ﬂy when the temperature is above 72° F; they usually travel short distances, but sustained flight is possible. They fly to lights at night.
This cockroach occurs in urban landﬁlls, wastewater treatment plants, and underground sewer systems of cities around the world. In homes and buildings, it is in basements and upper floors of large buildings.
The female often will chew a small hole in a soft substrate to deposit her egg case, and then cover the egg case with chewed debris so that it is partially concealed. Females sometimes will eat egg cases they find in the habitat.
Seasonal abundance. American cockroach populations have a distinct seasonal abundance. Egg cases are deposited in spring; then from April through July, there are nearly equal numbers of adults and nymphs in the population.
From August through November, the number of adults decreases and the number of nymphs increases.
There is relatively little foraging and feeding of adults and nymphs during winter. This seasonal abundance and foraging pattern seems to be adopted regardless of the temperature conditions in the habitat.