The American cockroach is a reddish brown colour with a pale-brown or yellow band around the edge of the pronotum (shield like structure over the head). It is fully winged and apt to flying in warm weather, albeit for only relatively short distances at a time. It is the largest species of cockroach that infests homes and utilities. The female American Cockroach will lay up to 50 egg cases in her life and lays each egg case on surfaces within reasonable proximity to food or water, the egg cases can also be glued to food packages or boxes, pallets play an important role in dispersal. Adults that have access to a water source can survive for up to 2-3 months without food.
As the American Cockroach prefers warm, moist, dark conditions, it tends to live indoors in colder regions, but mainly outdoors in warmer regions. Partly because of its larger size, it tends not to frequently infest homes in the way that german cockroaches do. Nevertheless, it is a very wide widespread pest, occurring in wall, roof and subfloor voids and in and around sewers, drains, moist cellars, grease traps and rubbish dumps. They commonly infest hospitals, bakeries, food stores, warehouses, factories and domestic residences. It seems to prefer to decaying organic material, but will eat most human or animal foods as well as bookbindings, paper and clothing.