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Guide to NC Pests

Wood Roaches


Wood RoachWood roaches are similar in appearance to the household cockroaches, but they live exclusively outdoors. An adult wood roach measures between three-quarters and 1.25 inches in length. They live in rotted logs, tree stumps, hollow trees and under the loose bark of dead trees and firewood. Wood roaches prefer to eat decaying organic matter and are attracted to light, whereas most roaches run from the light.  In a lifetime, females can produce 30 egg capsules, each containing up to 32 eggs. Eggs hatch approximately one month after being laid and maturation can take up to 9 months. Unlike other species, wood roaches are not likely to flee when approached.



Native to North America, wood roaches live outdoors in moist woodland areas, including woodpiles, mulch, under the loose bark of trees, branches or decaying logs. These roaches need an environment that is consistently moist, so they don’t survive long nor breed indoors. The female wood roach uses this outdoor environment to her advantage, depositing egg capsules behind the loose bark of dead trees, fallen logs or stumps, safe from the prying eyes of hungry predators.

These particular roaches aren’t prone to infest houses like other cockroaches, but you may see them inside your home occasionally. They could find their way in via a bundle of firewood. The males are drawn to lights at night, so they may crawl into your home through a window frame or other opening. When they are indoors, it’s a temporary situation, typically a few weeks in the spring. 

The wood cockroach eats decaying organic matter such as rotting trees and leaf litter. They don’t eat your home’s structure or furniture. They are merely a nuisance should they find their way into your house.