The American cockroach is the largest of the house-infesting cockroaches. Despite its name, the American cockroach is not native to North America, but was probably introduced via ships from Africa in the 1600s.
American cockroaches often enter structures through drains and pipes. They are more active when the temperature is 70 degrees or higher, but they can survive lower temperatures with the right conditions.
Although American cockroaches can be found in homes, they are also common in larger commercial buildings such grocery stores, food processing plants and hospitals. American roaches are also known to infest basements, yards and alleys.
American roaches have been reported to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens. They can pick up germs on the spines of their legs and bodies as they crawl through decaying matter or sewage and then carry these into food or onto food surfaces. Recent medical studies have shown that cockroach allergens cause allergies and exacerbate asthma attacks, especially in children and those living in metro-city areas. As with other species of roaches, American cockroaches can pose a threat to individuals with allergies.