One day last week, Gary and I headed over to the Falling Waters Trail to some naturalist stuff. Along the walk, this little brown insect went zipping across the pavement (I believe I mentioned it in the post about our walk). I stopped it with my foot (blocking its path, not squashing it) so I could snap its image. Voila:
I then sent the photo to the trusty folks at BugGuide and lo! and behold! it turned out to be a cockroach. And not just any old cockroach. It is a female wood cockroach (Paroblatta sp.). According to the fellow who identified it for me, female wood cockroaches are very difficult to identify to species, but that's okay - I'm just thrilled to know that it is a female wood cockroach!
Armed now with this information, I set off to do some research.
It turns out this is not only not a pest 'roach, it is a native roach! A denizen of moist woodlands (under logs, under rotting bark, etc.), this roach would not survive in most homes because they are just not moist enough for its tastes. And, unlike many of its roach relatives, the wood cockroach is an active critter both night and day. No hiding in the shadows or lurking behind toasters, nosirree; these guys will zip about in the open as bold as brass.
If a wood cockroach or six should accidentally end up in your house (someone must've brought them in), they won't really stay long enough to become pests - the habitat just isn't right for them. And even if they did stay, they are no threat to the structural integrity of your home. In fact, the only problem would probably be psychological: you would no doubt freak out simply because you have a cockroach in your house.