Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach

There’s a unique insect, strikingly different yet seemingly familiar, that you might stumble upon if you live near wooded areas in the United States or southeastern Canada. Meet the Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach, scientifically known as Parcoblatta pensylvanica.

This creature enjoys the peace of rural timbered landscapes far from bustling cities. This article will delve into the nitty-gritty details of this cockroach, exploring its identification, life cycle, and how you’re likely to encounter it.

Quick Summary

Attribute Description
Scientific Name Parcoblatta pensylvanica
Identifiable Traits Dark brown to tan color, mottled markings, creamy white wing edges
Sexual Dimorphism Males have fully developed wings; females have shorter, undeveloped wings
Habitat Rural, timbered areas
Range East Coast to Midwest U.S., southeastern Canada
Reproduction Up to 32 eggs per ootheca, nearly 1000 eggs per year from females
Human Interaction Attracted to artificial lights, especially during mating season

Identification Guide
The Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach might make you double-take; its physique and appearance bear resemblance to multiple other cockroach species. While it might be similar in shape to the American cockroach, its size is considerably smaller.

It also shares its color and markings with the German cockroach but is substantially bigger. If you’ve ever encountered a Southern wood cockroach, distinguishing between the two could be challenging without a close inspection.

When captured, this creature exhibits a flat body, long antennae, and six spiny legs that it uses for climbing and scrambling. A dark brown to tan complexion adorned with mottled markings on its ‘cowl’ or the area behind its head is standard. It also flaunts creamy white edges along its wings.


Sexual Dimorphism
|The sexes of the Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach are easily distinguishable. Males are larger, measuring approximately an inch in length, with fully developed wings that enable them to fly. Conversely, females are smaller and have shorter, underdeveloped wings, rendering them flightless.

Range & Habitat
The Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach is a well-dispersed species whose range stretches from the East Coast to the Midwest of the United States and into southeastern Canada. It has been spotted in various states, including Florida, New York, and even as far as Texas.

You’re less likely to find this cockroach species in cities but more in rural areas rich in timber, where it feeds on decaying plant material. Habitats include woodpiles, bark, stumps, and hollow trees.

In the woodland or semi-woodland areas near your residence, you may find Pennsylvania Wood Cockroaches in three primary stages: egg sacs (oothecae), nymphs, and adults. The egg sacs are particularly intriguing as they hold up to 32 eggs, which hatch in about a month.

These females are productive, capable of producing nearly a thousand eggs a year. The nymphal stage lasts for about 10 to 12 months, and adult life is relatively short, only lasting several months.

Human Interaction
Though you’ll most likely meet them during their late spring to early summer mating season, these roaches are active year-round. Males, especially during the mating season, fly towards artificial lights, even those in residential areas.

In conclusion, the Pennsylvania Wood Cockroach is a remarkable insect with unique traits that set it apart from its cockroach cousins. Its woodland lifestyle and striking sexual dimorphism make it a fascinating subject for those interested in cockroaches.

Whether you find its activities an intriguing part of the natural world or an unwelcome invasion, there’s no denying that this cockroach has carved out its niche in the diverse ecosystem.

Scroll to Top