Brown cockroaches are 1-¼ to 1-1/2-inches long when mature, red-brown, and characterized by fully developed wings that completely cover their abdomens. The pronotum (i.e., shield like area behind the head) has as faint dirty-yellow band around its edge. Brown cockroaches look similar to American cockroaches except that the last segment on the two cerci (i.e., the antenna-like projections at the end of the abdomen) is triangular and less than twice as long as it is wide. The last segment on the American cockroach cerci is much longer and narrower.
Nymphs are ¼-inch long when they emerge from the egg capsule and initially are brown-to-dark brown in color. As they develop they become more red-brown and pale markings appear on their thoraxes (i.e., the three-segments behind their heads). The purse shaped egg capsule (i.e., ootheca) is almost black in color, ½ - inch long, and typically has 12 to 14 eggs per side.
During her lifetime, the female brown cockroach produces up to 32 egg capsules each of which contains from 21 to 28 eggs. Using secretions from her mouth, the female glues the capsules near the ceiling usually on plaster or concrete. The capsule is covered with materials from the surrounding area. Nymphs emerge in about 35 days and develop over an average of 182 days before becoming adults, which live about 244 days.
This cockroach has not been able to become successfully established within northern states but is common in southern states as far west as Texas. It is not a common pest in houses but can be abundant in sewers and commercial facilities, e.g., groceries, prisons, restaurants, hospitals, and office and apartment buildings. It prefers to inhabit warm, damp locations, e.g., steam tunnels and boiler rooms. In the summer, large numbers accumulate in outdoor locations, e.g., in leaf litter, ground covers, trees (especially palms), and dumps. In the fall, they migrate into surrounding structures.