How To Identify and Get Rid of Pennsylvania Wood Cockroaches

Cockroaches are one of the worsts pests to have in your home. They crawl all over your food and they are hard to find. 

Trying to get rid of cockroaches is disgusting and difficult. They can make you feel uncomfortable in your own home. 

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. In this article, we will go over how to identify and get rid of Pennsylvania wood cockroaches both inside and outside your home. 

Let’s get started, so you can start getting your home back. 

1. Identification

The first step to treating Pennsylvania wood roaches it to fist make sure that you have a Pennsylvania wood cockroach.

There are approximately 12 types of wood roaches in the U.S.

While identifying that you do have a Pennsylvania wood cockroach infestation is important, its more important that you identify you have wood cockroaches.

Although, there are 8 different types of wood cockroaches, their behavior and characteristics are very similar.

More importantly, the most effective way to get rid of wood cockroaches remains the same regardless of the type you have.

There are approximately 12 types of wood roaches in the U.S.

Different roaches require different treatments, so it’s important that you identify you have wood cockroaches.

What Do Pennsylvania Wood Cockroaches Look Like?

Pennsylvania woodcockroach infographic

Wood roaches in general, as are often confused with American cockroaches due to their similar size and color.

They also will hide in similar areas outside of your home.

That said, American cockroaches are a much bigger problem than wood cockroaches.

First, American cockroaches will infest and reproduce indoors.

Wood cockroaches, on the other hand, live outdoors. These roaches are accidental invaders and they can’t reproduce indoors. As such, Wood roaches will not infest your home.


Pennsylvania wood roaches are found in the eastern, southern, and midwestern U.S states. They are also in some areas of Canada.


Pennsylvania wood cockroaches grow between ¾ inch to 1 ¼ inch. Females are generally slightly smaller while males are larger.


Pennsylvania wood cockroaches are dark brown with a yellow almost translucent margin on their thorax and wings.

Males have large wings that extend beyond their abdomen. Females have smaller wings that only cover around ⅓ of their abdomen.

Males are capable of a short period of flight, while females can not fly at all.


Wood cockroaches prefer to live outdoors but can wander indoors in search of shelter.

They feed on decaying organic matter such as woodpiles, stumps, hollow trees, piles of leaves, mulch, dying fruit. 

Wood cockroaches are attracted to light, so you can find them near light sources around decks and backyards.

Pennsylvania Wood Roach Identification
Size: 3/4″ – 1 1/4″ Region: Eastern, Southern, and Midwestern U.S states
Eating Preferences: Decaying Organic matter Shelter Preference: Outdoors
Color: Dark brown with a yellow margin on thorax and wings Wings: Yes. Males extend beyond the abdomen, females are shorter than abdomen 

American Cockroaches vs. Pennsylvania Wood Cockroaches

American cockroaches are larger than wood roaches. They are generally between 1 and 1 ½ inches.

In some cases American cockroaches can grow as large as 3 inches long.

American cockroaches have a light brown ring around their head.

Both males and females have wings that extend beyond their abdomen and are both capable of flying short distances.

2. Use Traps

The best way to identify wood roaches is by using a trap.

Fortunately, it’s also the easiest way to get rid of them.

Because wood roaches don’t reproduce indoors, you can get rid of them by simply trapping them.

Place your roach trap where wood roaches are likely to be in your home.

Some ideal places are in the restroom or kitchen, where there are sources of food and water.

You can also use a roach trap to target wood roaches outdoors.

Keep in mind that traps are less effective outdoors due to the elements.

The best way to determine what type of roaches you have is to use a trap or to do an inspection.

Inspect any dead or decaying organic material, under rocks, around trash cans, near any sources of water, under mulch, or around potted plants.

These are all locations you will find wood roaches.

You can also inspect on or around sewers, on curves, near doorways, or around the structure of your home for wood and American cockroaches as well.

Identify the type of cockroach in your home based on what you see.

3. Seal All Entry Points

Pennsylvania wood cockroaches prefer to live outdoors.

They generally only travel inside your home on accident when they are searching for shelter.

If wood roaches get into your home, that typically means that you have easy entry points.

As such, the easiest way to prevent wood roaches from infesting your home is to seal up entry points.

Ensure doors and windows are correctly installed and that there are no gaps around them where wood cockroaches can enter.

Inspect and screen and ensure there are no holes or tears on them.

Weatherstrip your doors and windows to keep wood roaches from entering along the sides or top.

Use a door sweep to block the gap under your doors to prevent wood roaches from crawling in. If you don’t want to drill, you can use a door strip that sticks onto the door with an adhesive strip.

Caulk any cracks on your wall. Cockroaches can fit through the tiniest holes, so make sure to cover up even those you think they won’t fit in.

For most people, one bottle of caulk is typically sufficient to seal up and cracks and crevices around your home, and it will cost you around $10.

If you have more entry points than average, you might need two bottles of caulk.

You’re also probably experiencing infestation outside your home (we’ll address this later).

Make sure your faucets and pipes don’t have any cracks where cockroaches can slip through.

Any wood roaches inside your home won’t be able to reproduce and will eventually die.

If you do not want to wait till then, you can use sticky traps to capture them.

4. Keep Your Yard Clean

If you have a Pennsylvania wood cockroach indoors, it’s likely that you have an infestation outdoors.

The only exception is that if the cockroach hitched hiked on a piece of wood from somewhere other than outside your home.

As such, the best way to get rid of Pennsylvania wood cockroaches is by cleaning up outdoors.

Wood cockroaches eat decaying matter, sweets, and starches. Eliminating these will help get rid of them.

Remove any decaying matter such as rotting trees, leaf litter, rotting fruit, and rotting vegetables. These are the primary source of food for wood cockroaches.

Below are a few other things you can do to make your home less appealing to wood roaches

  • Store firewood and another wood object properly.
  • Keep your lawns well-maintained and free of rotting leaves or branches.
  • Seal soil, mulch, and manure in proper inside containers.
  • Use fewer lights outside or replace outdoor lights with less warm-colored LED lights.
  • Use motion detectors or timers for your outdoor lights.
  • Limit your indoor light and use curtains or blinds.
  • Fix any leaking pipes and faucets.
  • Clean gutters, vents, pipes, and window wells.

By making the outside of your home less appealing to wood roaches, they will eventually leave and seek other places to live.

5. Barrier Treatment

If you find that the infestation is rather large after cleaning your yard, it might be necessary to apply a pesticide to your entire yard.

Create a barrier to keep Wood Roaches out by spraying a perimeter treatment around the exterior of your house.

Spray up 2 or 3 feet around doors, windows, and the foundation.

These sprays typically last three months before needing to reapply.

If you see an improvement in the infestation over the next three months, then your next treatment may not need to be your entire yard.

Consider applying a 3 feet wide barrier of insecticide around your entire yard.

Natural Ways To Kill Wood Roaches

If you have a garden or pets, I recommend using natural pesticides to keep cockroaches out.

One of the best natural pesticides to use outside is Diatomaceous earth.

Diatomaceous earth is usually used as powder form.

But, I recommend mixing it with water for easier outdoor applications.

In a spray bottle, mix ½ cup DE (8 tablespoons) and 2 cups of water.

Spray the formula throughout your yard.

While DE doesn’t work when wet, it will once the formula has dried up.

Spray the pesticide around your doors, windows, and walls going up 2 or 3 feet.

Also, spray on any other possible entry points.

Another natural insecticide you can use in your garden is cinnamon.

Place a thin layer of cinnamon to your garden soil to repel, including cockroaches.

You’ll also want to apply a barrier around your yard and to keep wood roaches away.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do Pennsylvania Wood Roaches Bite?

Pennsylvania Wood Cockroaches are capable of biting just like all other cockroaches.

But the likelihood that you will get bitten by a Pennsylvania wood cockroach is almost zero.

It’s possible for cockroaches to bite if you find them on your body. But, cockroaches are not aggressive insects.

Since Pennsylvania wood roaches live outdoors, you are unlikely to come into direct contact with them or ever get bitten.

Can Pennsylvania Wood Roaches Fly?

Male Pennsylvania Wood roaches flutter rather than fly.

During mating season you’ll see them flutter towards light sources such as windows or porch lights.

While female Pennsylvania Wood roaches have small wings on their back, they do not fly.

Why Are Pennsylvania Wood Roaches In My House?

While wood cockroaches live and breed outdoors, they can wander inside your home.

They are drawn to light, so they commonly stumble inside homes at night.

If wood roaches get into your home, that typically means that you have easy entry points.

Wood roaches thrive on rotting, organic material.

So, if you live close to a forest, you’re more likely to get them outside and inside your home.

How Do I Get Rid Of Pennsylvania Wood Roaches In My House?

The best way to get rid of wood roaches from inside your house is to seal up all entry points around your home.

If there are already wood roaches inside your home, the best way to remove them is with sticky traps.

Since wood roaches can’t breed inside your home, they will eventually die out.

To remove wood roaches outside your home, make sure to clean up.

Pick up woodpiles and rake your leaves.

Make your trash bins have a secure lid. If possible, keep compost bins away from your house.

Finally, apply insecticides around the base of your home and your yard.

Are Pennsylvania Wood Roaches Dangerous?

Wood roaches are not dangerous to humans.

Unlike other roaches, wood roaches are not known to carry any diseases. They also do not bite or sting.

Are Pennsylvania Wood Roaches Dirty?

Yes. Since wood roaches feed on rotting organic material, they are dirty.

If they do enter your home, be sure to clean and sanitize.

What Attracts Pennsylvania Wood Roaches?

Wood roaches are attracted to decaying organic materials such as woodpiles, rotting leaves. These roahces are also attraced to light, water, sweet and starchy foods.

Do Wood Roaches Live Indoors?

No. Wood roaches live and breed outdoors.

They thrive on rotten wood, bark, and other decomposing organic materials found outdoors.

People call them “accidental” pests because they wander into your home by accident.

These roaches may sometome seek for water, food and shelter inside a home during a drought.

But in most cases, they’ll go inside your home by accident.

They are drawn to light, so they are likely to stumble in your home at night.

Sometimes wood roaches will accidentally hitch a ride into a home on firewood stored outside.

How To Get Rid Of Pennsylvania Wood Roaches On Deck?

One of the best ways to kill wood roaches on deck is by using an outdoor insecticide.

If you have a garden or pets, I recommend using natural pesticides such as Demacreous earth.

While diatomaceous earth is safe for pets and humans, it kills insects by destroying their exoskeletons.

I recommend mixing DE with water for easier outdoor applications.

While DE doesn’t work when wet, it will once the formula has dried up.

Here’s how: 

  1. In a spray bottle, mix ½ cup DE (8 tablespoons) and 2 cups of water.
  2. Spray the formula on the surface of your deck to eliminate any wood cockroaches that are hiding.
  3. You’ll also want to treat the rest of your yard to prevent the roaches from coming back on your deck.

Can Pennsylvania Wood Roaches Infest Your House?

Pennsylvania Wood roaches can’t reproduce indoors, so they are unlikely to infest your home.

Wood cockroaches are called “accidental” pests because they often wander into homes by accident.

If you’re experiencing wood roach infestation, there is likely a significant entry point in your home.

You’re also probably experiencing infestation outside your home.

Do Pennsylvania Wood Roaches Carry Diseases?

No. Pennsylvania Wood roaches do not spread disease or contaminate food.

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