A Daunting Giant of the Cockroach Family

The Smoky Brown


At an average adult size of 1.5 inches, the Smoky brown cockroach brings shivers of fear and dread to many Cherokee County residents every fall season.


With a dark cherry coloring, a white band across the back area, and white-tipped antennae, the smoky is well known in Canton and often called a palmetto bug. The lifespan of a smoky brown can vary widely from 200 to 700 days. This roach is the most commonly found roach in our Southern state and is typically found in areas with mature hardwood trees. Trees are one of the most common habitats for the smoky brown along with sheds, attics, and crawl spaces.


And now you see the problem.


Where do smoky browns live?


If the smokies would stay put in their tree-hole home, we wouldn’t really have much of a problem, except the occasional foraging visit. But that’s not always the situation. These roaches are looking for areas with higher humidity and protection from the wind and weather, and it is quite possible that your home could fit the bill as the perfect roach hideaway! Interestingly, these roaches have been found sharing space outdoors with the American or Oriental varieties.

The cost of living is high for everyone!

You will find them in tree holes, mulch beds, around your gutters and eaves, and even in attics. Basically, they just want a warm, moist place to call home. Scavengers at heart, and are looking for organic and decaying matter as a food source and must have water often; therefore, moisture is essential.

The Smokey Brown is not usually found in the kitchen like the German, but it could be a passthrough in any area of your home found accessible. Plus, lights are a huge attractant to this and other insect life, so porch lights can draw them into your home through doors, windows, and vents.


When will I see smoky browns?


This variety of roaches is most active at night. This is when you will notice the most activity due to the fact that the roach is sensitive to dehydration and prefers the later parts of the day for foraging. Obviously, they are avoiding any predators and are basically shy of human interaction, which is another reason they are more often seen at night. As far as seasons, summer and into the fall is the most likely time to see these roaches here in Georgia, although keep in mind the life cycle length of 200-700 days means they could be nesting long before you know you have a problem. This means they can reproduce and stay practically hidden for a year in an attic before emerging as full-grown adults and surprising their human housemates with a visit. They are intolerant of cold so will hide away during colder seasons.

How do I know if I have smoky brown roaches in my home?


Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t know they are there until they make a midnight snack run and flip on the light to find…skittering, creepy roach giants underfoot. Shiver!

But there are other ways to discover their presence. When looking for signs of roaches, homeowners should look for a blackish, tar-like residue. This residue is excreted by the roaches and is the best sign of an infestation.


What to do, what to do?


So by now, you probably want the answer to one of two important questions. How do I avoid an infestation of this roach in my house, or how do I get rid of it if I already have a smoky brown roach problem?

First of all, let’s talk about prevention. Remember this roach needs moisture to survive, a warm place to hang out, and decaying food matter to munch on, so don’t make your home a welcoming environment for the wandering roach family! Check out these tips on avoiding a roach problem.


Discard old boxes and debris

  • Repair any leaking drains, faucets, and other sources of moisture
  • Remove any rotting leaf piles near gutters and windows
  • Seal any exterior cracks or holes
  • Repair any caulking damage
  • Place mesh screens on vents and drains
  • Maintain ventilation in attics and crawl spaces
  • Get rid of roach food sources such as dead insects, food scraps, and plant matter
  • Turn off outdoor lights near your entryways

As far as removal is concerned, many homeowners decide to try DIY-type products. The problem is that some of the roaches are removed with this approach, but without knowing the source of the infestation, the roaches will return. Non-professional grade products simply do not have the strength to keep the roaches out long-term. A professional technician is able to apply sufficient and longer-lasting chemicals to eliminate the infestation and keep the roaches out.

So give us a call today and let us help you live pest-free!

Canton Termite and Pest Control










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