It is believed that the first specimens of the Surinam cockroach were collected in Surinam. Because of this, the Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus gave it the name Pycnoscelus surinamensis.
Adult Surinam cockroaches are about an inch long. They are dark-colored insects, usually brown. The pronotum that covers the head is almost black.
Surinam cockroaches are burrowing insects. They hide in the soil or under mulch or piles of leaves. They come out at night and feed on the bark of plants. There have been reports of great numbers of Surinam cockroaches emerging from the soil where people were not even aware they were in the area.
Scientists believe the Surinam cockroach originated in Southeast Asia. Now it is found throughout the world. In the United States it is common in the Southeastern states. It is found from Virginia to South Texas.
Surinam cockroaches are reported to be very sensitive to cold temperatures. As a result, in northern areas, they often survive only indoors. They are found inside buildings, in atriums of office buildings, and in greenhouses. In these protected environments, Surinam cockroaches have been found as far north as Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Surinam cockroaches are not usually considered structural pests, however they can cause economic damage in greenhouses and nurseries. In the warm climates, they can become troublesome in flowerbeds. They do not normally invade homes or buildings. They are often shipped in the soil of potted plants.
People who have found Surinam cockroaches should begin their control measures outdoors where the roaches live. Control begins with removing as many of the roach hiding places as possible.
Remove dead leaves from flowerbeds, especially near the foundation of the home. Move woodpiles away from the house and stack the firewood on a rack. Landscape timbers may also have to be removed. Keep the grass mowed and keep weeds trimmed.
Granular roach bait is an effective tool for controlling Surinam cockroaches. Many brands of bait are water-resistant so they can be used in flowerbeds and other damp locations. Liquid insecticide may be effective, especially to drench the soil where the roaches have been burrowing.
Because of the effects of sun and rain, these treatments often have to be re-applied. Homeowners often find it more convenient to have pest control professionals make these applications and control these pests.