Sand cockroaches are native to arid regions and are also known as desert cockroaches. Their primary habitat is beneath the surface of sand. In the United States, the sand cockroach is most commonly found in Colorado and parts of Southern California.
How can I tell a sand cockroach from other kinds of cockroaches?
Sand cockroaches are large insects that exhibit significant sexual dimorphism, meaning the male and female are different in appearance and may not appear to be members of the same species. Male sand cockroaches are winged and resemble American cockroaches or cicadas, only lighter in color. Males are frequently seen in flight. Female sand cockroaches are wingless and darker in color than males and feature a distinctive oval exoskeleton or outer shell. Female sand cockroaches look less like the cockroaches we’re used to seeing and more like ancient (and extinct) organisms known as trilobites. Male sand cockroaches are attracted to light, and most likely to be seen during daylight hours, while female sand cockroaches are nocturnal.
What should I do if I find a sand cockroach in my home?
Sand cockroaches mostly feed on the roots of desert plants and leave their burrows infrequently. They also breed in their burrows and are not known to infest homes. Individuals who suffer from specific allergies and/or asthma should avoid contact with sand cockroaches regardless of where they encounter them.
How can I prevent sand cockroaches from entering my home?
If you live in an area where sand cockroaches are common, you can take the following preventative measures to make sure they don’t become unwelcome visitors.
- Seal any potential points of entry. Make sure all your exterior doors and windows are shut tightly. Repair or replace any damaged weather stripping, caulk, vent screens, etc.
- Control humidity within and around your home. In addition to drawing moisture from the plant roots on which they feed, sand cockroaches can absorb water from the air. Additionally, runoff from your air conditioner's compressor, plumbing leaks and over-saturated lawns and gardens are irresistible to thirsty sand cockroaches.
- If there are accumulations of sand around your home, clear them. Even a small hill might be an attractive residence for a sand cockroach. If you live in close proximity to dunes or hills you can’t break up, look for small ridges in the surface. These are signs that sand cockroaches have been "digging" in the area. Consult a Terminix pest control specialist about possible treatment options.