The death head cockroach can grow more than 2 inches long. Luckily, they cannot fly. Read more about this cockroach and where it can commonly be found.


While there are two different species of roach known as death's head cockroach or death head cockroach, the Blaberus craniifer is the true death's head cockroach. They can be quite large in size, measuring 1.5 inches to more than 2 inches long and a little more than 1 inch wide. The Blaberus discoidalis, or discoid cockroach, lives in Central America and is a hybrid species that often grows larger than B. craniifer.

What do true death's head cockroaches look like?

They have a black patch on their pronotum, or dorsal plate, resembling a skull, which is how this species got its name. The body of the death's head cockroach is brown, though juveniles are usually speckled. The wings are mostly for show, as the death's head cockroach cannot fly. They have a flat, shell-like body, which can provide some shelter from predators. A cockroach's legs are usually referred to as jointed appendages and attach to the thorax. The appendages at the end of the abdomen are called cerci. With the cerci, roaches detect air movements, which usually cause them to run. The cerci have multiple segments but are not jointed. The antennae and tibiae are the most sensitive of the cockroach’s organs and provide assistance in locomotion. When frightened, the death’s head cockroach can emit a mild odor.

What is the life span of a death's head cockroach?

Reproduction is sexual as opposed to asexual. Females carry approximately 34 eggs in an egg case located in a pouch at the end of the abdomen. After three to four weeks, the newborns called "nymphs" hatch and make a hiding place in the ground. They sprout wing sheaths as they grow and molt. Molting involves shedding its outer shell in favor of a bigger one to accommodate its increasing size. A cockroach will molt several times before it reaches maturity. A death's head cockroach is full grown after four to five months, and can live up to a year.

What do death's head cockroaches eat?

Death's head cockroaches are omnivores with great appetites. They are known to eat half their weight in food at one time and will feed on feces or sometimes even on wood if necessary. They are not known to be a wood-destroying insect.

Contact a Terminix pest control specialist to help you identify the type of roaches you're seeing around your home and develop a treatment plan to combat the infestation.