Skip to main content

Seeing any kind of insect scurrying across your kitchen floor is enough to make your skin crawl – but the sight of wood roaches is something different completely. While cockroaches are universally unsettling, wood roaches present a unique nuisance to get rid of. Unlike German and American roaches that thrive indoors, wood roaches prefer outdoor wooded areas and only venture inside homes inadvertently.

This post is aimed at simplifying wood roach identification, implementing immediate control measures, and making your home as inhospitable as possible to these unattractive invaders. By the time we wrap up, you’ll be equipped to spot and eliminate current roaches, and a pro at preventing future invasions.

Know Your Opponent: About the Wood Roach

Wood roaches are one of the larger roach species, growing over 1.5 inches long. They have a shiny reddish-brown body and wings. Unlike other household roaches, wood roaches prefer the great outdoors. They thrive in forests, woods, and leaf-litter areas where they can find decaying logs and vegetation to feed on.

So why might you spot them in your home? Wood roaches are attracted to moisture and light. Outdoor lighting near your home’s entryways can draw them in. They may also find their way inside through cracks, crevices, and other openings seeking water. Once indoors, they are unable to survive long without the proper habitat. But during their brief indoor stay, they can still cause anxiety and contamination.

The good news about wood roaches is they don’t typically reproduce inside homes like German or American roaches. However, their presence likely signals an entry point that needs to be sealed. Left unchecked, wood roaches (and other pests) may continue to find their way inside. 

Example of wood roaches compared to various other roaches

Identifying Wood Roach Infestations

Detecting a wood roach infestation early is the key to getting the situation under control fast. Watch for these common signs that indicate wood roaches have invaded your home:

  • Shed Skins: As wood roaches grow, they shed their outer skin, leaving behind brownish, translucent molted exoskeletons. Find these cast-off casings along baseboards, under appliances, and in cabinets.
  • Droppings: Wood roach scat resembles large grains of black pepper. Check for droppings in hidden crevices and corners, especially near food prep areas.
  • Musty Odor: The droppings and secretions of a wood roach population can create a distinct musty, unpleasant smell. Follow any odd odors to their source.
  • Live Roaches: Seeing live, reddish-brown adult wood roaches, particularly at night near lights, confirms an active infestation.
  • Outdoor Activity: Heavy traffic of wood roaches around exterior doors, vents, lighting, or firewood may indicate these pests are trying to find a way into your home.

The Best Next Steps

Seeing wood roaches scurrying through your home can be upsetting, but you can take action right away to start getting rid of them. Focus first on reducing containments and the current roach population using simple but effective homeowner techniques.

1) Clean Thoroughly – Give all areas where you’ve seen roaches (or signs of them) a deep clean. Target food prep surfaces and hidden spaces where roaches can find food. Vacuum and wash down all surfaces.

2) Remove Attractants – Fix any water leaks and seal up food sources. Limit roaches’ access to moisture and sustenance.

3) Seal Entry Points – Caulk and seal any cracks, crevices, or openings roaches could be using to enter your home from outdoors.

4) Monitor Progress – Keep inspecting for signs of roaches and adjust tactics as needed until the infestation is eliminated.

5) Stay Diligent – Persevere with proactive sanitation, sealing, and trapping measures to gradually decrease roach numbers over time.

Close up view of a wood roach

Ongoing Prevention and Maintenance

Evicting wood roaches from your home is important, but deterring them from returning is key. Begin with regular vacuuming, cleaning up spills ASAP, and taking out the trash to quickly remove roach food sources.

From there, caulk any cracks, seal entry points, and install weatherstripping to block insect access. Similarly, fix leaks, ventilate damp areas, and keep things dry so roaches can’t find the moisture they need. It also helps to trim back bushes and branches touching your home. Stack firewood far from the house and limit wood debris piles near possible roach entry points.

Additionally, swap outdoor lights near doors for yellow bulbs, which roaches find less inviting. Check the outside of your home routinely, especially after heavy rain, for signs of roaches or new cracks needing sealing.

Staying on top of home maintenance is the best way to prevent infestations. Make your place inhospitable so wood roaches and their friends don’t stick around or sneak inside in the first place.

When to Call a Professional

Although there are many effective steps homeowners can take to rid themselves of wood roaches, difficult infestations may require calling professionals.

If you’ve diligently cleaned, sealed entry points, removed attractants, and monitored traps, but the roach population persists or continues increasing, it may be time to bring in expert help. Significant established infestations often warrant stronger treatment methods like chemical pesticide application, fumigation, or heat treatments that require professional training and equipment.

Likewise, if you begin seeing wood roaches frequently in multiple areas of the home, this likely indicates a major underlying issue that DIY measures aren’t fully resolving. Don’t continue battling a widespread roach presence alone. Seeking professional pest control assistance can help identify and address the root factors drawing roaches into your home.

While avoiding the use of harsh chemicals is understandable, wood roaches can be extremely stubborn invaders once established. DIY methods may simply be unable to fully eliminate a severe, entrenched infestation. Consequently, knowing when to call for professional backup can save you time, money, and frustration.


Without a doubt, dealing with wood roaches infiltrating your home can be frustrating. However, you’re now armed with the knowledge needed to take control! By identifying signs of infestation early and taking swift action to contain, reduce, and deter wood roaches, you can get rid of the current invasion and prevent encore performances.

All things considered, even the most diligent and well-informed homeowners should keep regular visits with a pest control professional to support their prevention efforts. To schedule your next service in Jacksonville, FL, and surrounding areas, reach out to Inside and Out Pest Services today!

Leave a Reply