Smoky Brown Cockroach Identification & Control Tips


The smoky brown cockroach can grow to be one and half inches long and are a dark brown color. This cockroach is a strong flier with wings that go beyond its body. They are related to American roaches but are smaller and feed on plant material and decaying matter. They will commonly seek shelter in homes during the spring, summer and fall by entering your home through cracks, crawl spaces and attics. When they are outside, this cockroach can be found in areas that are warm, moist and protected by weather. They are very susceptible to dehydrating so they must be near a moist environment.

Around homes and structures, this cockroach will be found beneath mulch beds, tree holes, and cavities and on structures in soffits and eaves where moisture will collect. Smoky brown cockroaches easily enter buildings through openings or gaps underneath the siding, through your attic or soffit vents. They are also able to enter through openings where wiring and plumbing enter your home and through open windows or doors.

If these critters have entered your home you will notice them during the late dusk or early dawn hours as they leave their hiding places to find a food source. They are nocturnal insects and will hide in small places during daylight to make themselves inaccessible to predators. Even though they prefer to eat decaying plant matter; they will eat anything including; human scraps, fecal matter, plant materials, and dead insects. If you have a house pet it would not be unusual to see one taking a drink from your pet’s water bowl. You will be able to see their fecal material and droppings where ever they are living and searching for food.

Video showing the difference between smokey brown cockroaches and American cockroaches

Non-Chemical Methods to get rid of the Smoky Brown Cockroach

The smoky brown cockroaches are just like all other pests and require three things to survive; food, water and a place to live. When you take even one of these requirements away through proper sanitation they will be forced to find a new home. These are some simple home maintenance practices to follow:

  • Do not keep old boxes or papers piled up where they can hide. Discard all old boxes and papers.
  • Your trash can needs to have a tight-fitting lid and the trash should be closed in plastic during the night.
  • Do not allow faucets to drip. The smoky brown cockroach can live on water alone.
  • Do not let your pet’s food sit out overnight. Place them on the back porch tightly sealed in a plastic bag.
  • Airflow is important and you should take care of areas that are high in humidity with fans or a dehumidifier.
  • Vacuum your home regularly to ensure there are no food crumbs or scraps left as a food source.
  • Repair any holes around doors, water pipes, baseboards, and doors. Put a mesh screen over windows, vents, and floor drains.
  • Make sure your doors and windows are closing tightly. It does not take much space for the cockroach to fit through.
  • Chemical Methods to get rid of the Smoky Brown Cockroach

Cracks and Crevices

Delta Dust and CB Borid Boric Acid are dust that works best when trying to eliminate the smoky brown cockroach.

With a hand duster, read the label instructions, and apply dust liberally where the cockroach can get underneath or behind; wall outlets, baseboards, cupboards, and cabinets, under appliances and anything they can crawl under or behind.

Video showing how to identify and control smoky brown cockroaches

Perimeter of Area

Demand CS, Suspend SC or Demon WP are excellent products when mixed in a sprayer and applied slowly.

Spray inside along your baseboards making sure to get in the corners, windows, door frames and the underside of your furniture, behind book cases or any noticeable areas listed on the labels. With a smoky brown cockroach problem you should also spray the outside perimeter of your home.

These sprays are residual and need to be reapplied every three months unless you start seeing signs of re-infestation sooner.

Baits and Granules

Niban FG or Intice Bait work well in basements, crawlspaces and attics.

Other effective cockroach baits are; Maxforce FC Roach Bait Gel, Avert Dry Flowable Cockroach Bait and Advion Roach Bait Gel.

You may have to try more than one bait as sometimes the cockroach builds a tolerance to them. You can’t give up though; keep trying until you find one that they will take.

Contact Kill Sprays

There are sprays that will kill the cockroach on contact. These can also be used to flush the cockroach out of hiding. Contact sprays that are effective for this use are; CB-80 Extra, Cy-Kick, D-Force HPX and 565 Plus XLO.

Remember to use an IGR

IGR is a chemical that will disrupt the life cycle of the smoky brown cockroach in its egg and larvae development. It restricts them from reaching adulthood and is therefore unable to reproduce. It is basically a birth control for insects. It will also help you keep populations under control and prevent future infestations.

The most common and effective IGR for roaches is Gentrol IGR which can be found in aerosol, point-source tablet or concentrated liquid. Professionals recommend using the concentrate in your hand sprayer and spraying along with your baseboard chemical.

In bathrooms and kitchens, Gentrol Aerosol is the professional choice. It comes with a straw attachment you use to apply liberally in all cracks and underneath, behind and alongside appliances. The straw attachment will also allow you to get behind outlets, along pipes and near ceilings.

Continue your use of IGR every four to six weeks or as long as six months until you start to see a reduction or elimination of infestation.

The smoky brown cockroach is dependent upon its environmental conditions. When you make your environment unacceptable to them you will find it is less likely they will want to share it with you.

Categorized as Cockroaches

By David Jackson

I enjoy learning about new pest control strategies and sharing what I learn at I aim to create a reliable resource for people dealing with all sorts of pest issues.

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