Red cockroaches sometimes happen. Some cockroaches are reddish-brown. Some cockroaches have colorful patterns of red, yellow, and white. One cockroach actually develops into a maroon-colored insect. The color is usually very dark and appears almost black. The scientific name of this “red cockroach” is Eurycotis floridana (Walker).
Some people call this roach the Florida woods roach. It is common in Florida, but it is also found in Georgia and along the Gulf Coast in Alabama and Mississippi. This cockroach lives in wooded areas and the adults often climb trees. For that reason, many people use the name “Palmetto Bug” when they describe this roach.
Adult Florida woods roaches are almost 2″ long. Their bodies are about 1″ wide, so they seem to be very large insects. The adults have only stubs of wings, so most of their abdomen is visible. Since they have short wings, these roaches cannot fly.
These roaches live outdoors. They hide under piles of leaves, in rotting stumps, under logs, or in the bark of dead trees. In subdivisions, they hide under sheds, doghouses, and woodpiles. Mulch and dead leaves in flowerbeds can also provide shelter for these roaches.
Although these roaches do not fly, they sometimes crawl into homes. People often bring these roaches into their homes when they bring in firewood. The roaches do not usually survive indoors, so they are not considered a significant pest.
These roaches can give off an unpleasant-smelling fluid when they are threatened. This fluid smells so bad that some people use the name “Florida Stinkroach”. It has also been called the “Skunk Roach”.
Controlling these cockroaches begins outdoors. Move woodpiles away from the house. Rake mulch and dead leaves away from the foundation. Branches and dead leaves can provide shelter, so they should be removed from the yard. Trim grass, weeds, and ground cover, especially near the foundation.
Granular cockroach bait can be an effective tool. Apply it in flowerbeds and ground cover according to label directions. Liquid insecticide can make an effective barrier on the home's foundation. Because of the rain and sun, these materials will break down fairly quickly. They will have to be re-applied periodically. Many homeowners prefer to have pest control professionals make these applications and control the “red” cockroaches.