Entomology (Study of Bugs)/What is this?


bug in shower
bug in shower  
QUESTION: I found this in my shower (after I had gotten out after showering).  It was struggling to climb up the shower pan.  Eventually it was gone so I don't know if it climbed over or went down the drain.  I also found another similar-looking bug in my kitchen.  What is this?
Thank you.

ANSWER: Janine:

I hate to break it to you, but this is the nymph (juvenile, immature stage) of a cockroach.  Hard to tell what kind without examining the specimen itself.  My guess would be an American Cockroach, Periplaneta americana .  Here is a great web page about urban cockroaches and their control:


Pay special attention to the part that cautions against using chemical sprays.  Baits are far more effective.  They may take longer, but the effects are essentially permanent (unless roaches are once again introduced to a residence).

I once employed bait traps myself, but was shocked to read the label and find it was not recommended for use in households where a pregnant woman is residing.  So, do READ THE LABEL if you attempt to do pest control yourself.  Failure to comply with proper application is not only dangerous, but breaks the law.

I would not panic, but make sure that foodstuffs are properly stored.  This includes pet food.


[an error occurred while processing this directive]---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Thank you, and yuck.  For the first 6 years of our marriage we lived in a multiple-unit dwelling and learned how to properly store foods.  I will re-check all my foods to see how they are stored.  We have the dog food in a large airtight container, but we have a dog that grazes all day long so we must always keep food in her bowl.  I don't see a way around that.

No one is pregnant, nursing, or anything like that, so I should go to a hardware store and search for some bait traps.  We have a crawl space.  Should I put some down there in addition to inside the residence?


I like that you have a sense of humor about this ("Thank you, and yuck."). :-)

I would not bother with the crawlspace.  I'd tuck the baits into cupboard corners and such where curious pets or toddlers can't easily get to them....

Before I even started baiting I would look in dark recesses of the kitchen by day and make sure you really have a population worthy of taking *any* action.  Why spend money and time if it is just an odd specimen showing up now and then?

Take care, good luck.


Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

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One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

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Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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