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YES! Finally found some!


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I'm just excited, I've finally found some local (backyard) Parcoblatta pennsylvanica cockroaches. These guys are supposed to live on/in old bits of wood and under bark etc...guess where I found them? Under scrap steel siding from my barn! I was out for about 2 hours digging open stumps and logs in the woods because it's about 54ºF today. I figured, what the heck, I'll give it a shot...although I've never had any luck before. I was about to give up and passed by the siding pile and thought, eh, maybe I'll find some spiders or something. I lift up the first sheet...nothing, second sheet...small spiders and a few ants, third sheet...almost two dozen roaches scurrying away! I was completely taken off guard and clamored for my tube. I picked it up again and grabbed as many as I could before they vanished in the grass. I'm very pleased about this, I've been looking for these guys for a pretty long time. Okay so I'm not 100% certain these are P.pennsylvanica yet but they are certainly a good candidate considering I live near the woods and have never seen a German or American cockroach in any home in my neighborhood.

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Woooo! Congrats! :)

Only recently have I started finding Parcoblattas around here; I've been finding another small species (Ectobius pallidus) for a while now but the cultures just won't take.

You might have a mix of Parcoblattas there; you'll have to wait til they mature to find out. :)

P. pennsylvanica are really fun... I have one female who produced maybe 70 babies even though her mate died a few days after she molted to adulthood! :P

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As I understand it there are Blattella germanica, Supella longipalpa, Parcoblatta pennsylvanica, Parcoblatta virginica, Parcoblatta fulvescens, Parcoblatta divisa, Parcoblatta lata, Periplaneta fuliginosa, Periplaneta americana, and rarely Periplaneta brunnea around here in PA. I'm hoping to find more this spring/summer but it will be a good thing to see if the ranges listed are actually true and all of these are native to PA. Basically PA wood, Southern wood, German, and American are a good certainty anyway.

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Wow you got a lot of them. My colony started from just two individuals. They are very fun roaches. Keep us updated on their progress

Yeah I found 14 total so I'm really pleased about that. I've been looking for these guys for such a long time; they are my first WC roaches. :) I can't wait for them to mature though, I've been wanting to expand the general knowledge of these guys for a while since I'm a native Pennsylvanian, lol. Honestly though I think they are really understudied and not much seems to be available on them so hopefully I can make some useful observations. At anyrate...they are pretty neat so I'm just happy to have them.

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I found them all together and I'm fairly certain they are all the same kind of roach. There is no certainty until they molt into adulthood though. There is a small possibility that they are Blatta orientalis but that species is pretty rare around here and wouldn't likely be active at this time of year.

What part of PA are you in btw? I'm in south central York county about 20 minutes north of Maryland. The Susquehanna valley region I'm in gets pretty cold but we still get a huge range of fauna around here. I've seen things that should only exist in the south and things that should only exist in canada come through here. It's a good place to be for most eastern species of well...almost anything lol.

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I am about 25 min SE of Harrisburg. Probably only an hour or two away from you

If they were all found together, it is highly likely they are all the same sp. You wouldn't see orientalis outside like that. Those are certainly Parcoblatta. I often find the orange nymphs overwintering in groups like that. I am going to throw in any that I find this winter with my pennsylvanica colony

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I love Parcoblatta. You've got a couple subadults in there, but as I've said they grow so slowly so ID'ing might not be imminent. Absolutely worth the search and patience!

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Vulgaris, youre likely less than a half hour away if you're south east of Harrisburg. Unless you mean really east like in Lancaster lol. Do you find them often btw? These are honestly the first wild roaches I've ever seen around here.

Ralph, I really hope these are P. pennsylvanica lol. I don't mind if they are the southern ones either though. Time will tell. :D They are very active little guys though, very similar to my Blatta lateralis. I'm quite enjoying having them.

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yeah you're probably pretty close. Lancaster is south of me.

I never used to see these roaches very often, but in the last few years I have been finding a lot. I collected a hornet nest recently, and 5 Parcoblatta nymphs came out of it. I have also been seeing them in logs and such. I cant wait to get my colony into a new enclosure next week

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yeah you're probably pretty close. Lancaster is south of me.

I never used to see these roaches very often, but in the last few years I have been finding a lot. I collected a hornet nest recently, and 5 Parcoblatta nymphs came out of it. I have also been seeing them in logs and such. I cant wait to get my colony into a new enclosure next week

When I went to Millersville the only thing I ever saw there were the occasional German cockroaches. I have crap luck when it comes to finding interesting species; it's why I'm so excited I had found these. I would love to find like 50 more though lol...maybe in the spring I'll get lucky. At least I know I can get all the pest species I want from York city...plenty of them running about...no Parcoblatta though.

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Raise these 14 nymphs to adulthood, and you WILL have 50 or more. lol

I went out last night, it was 28 F and lo and behold I found 4 more nymphs lol. I think that may be the end of the aggregation under the metal but it brings me to 18 total. Now that I know they are around though...come spring I'm going to use light traps and flashlight night hunting.

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Raise these 14 nymphs to adulthood, and you WILL have 50 or more. lol

I have a female Parcoblatta sp. (Probably virginica but maybe lata) who's about 5 months old now. I have no idea how many ooths she's laid but there are easily 50 nymphs in the container. It's impressive how many babies one of these roaches can make. lol

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Here are some pics of the original two females I had:

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Potential P. virginica. She's still going after 5 months.

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Potential P. uhleriana. She died after a month in my care. Fortunately she laid many, many ooths and I now have 40 or so babies from her.

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So I went and dug open another log deep in the woods yesterday and I found an amazing plethora of critters. I found so many click beetles and metallic sweat bees that I really lost count, one bald faced hornet queen (which I accidentally cut in half when I split the chunk she was in), and a bunch of Camponotus spp of carpenter ants...and this is the odd part, only inside the ant tunnels did I find 40-50 young nymphs of Parcoblatta pennsylvanica wood roaches. I figured I would find them underneath the log or even in old tunnels no longer used but they cockroaches were living in the tunnels, literally on top of the ants. I found this pretty odd, anyone else every notice a cohabitation like that?

Here is the container of P.penn and some click beetles. Many many roaches are hidden in this image, there are loads more.

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Wow! Great find! :)

I've found native Parcoblattas living in close contact with ants as well... The species that does it is larger than the species that I find under log by themselves, too. Maybe this is a characteristic by which one can distinguish the different species. :o

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Wow! Great find! :)

I've found native Parcoblattas living in close contact with ants as well... The species that does it is larger than the species that I find under log by themselves, too. Maybe this is a characteristic by which one can distinguish the different species. :o

Once these bad boys (and girls lol) grow up I'll certainly be able to tell if they are different species. But they REALLY look alike right now, so who knows?

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Once these bad boys (and girls lol) grow up I'll certainly be able to tell if they are different species. But they REALLY look alike right now, so who knows?

They all look extremely similar if not identical until MAYBE the last instar.

I have P. pennsylvanica, poss. P. virgininca, poss. P. uhleriana/P. lata, Parcoblatta sp. "Tennessee", and I had Parcoblatta americana. Looking at one nymph of each randomly and even someone whose studied them his or her entire life couldn't tell them apart. :P

Oddly Pseudomops also are almost indistinguishable from Parcoblatta nymphs.

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Really interesting, fun and exciting post, guys! I'm still waiting for my 2 Parcoblatta (probably americana) to mature. I was lucky to find them this fall. It's a 2 hour drive and I can't wait to make it again in the spring!

My wife and I recently purchased this home and I'm still exploring all our properties nooks and crannies. We have just under two acres that include brush, field, forest, lawn, and fern beds. I have no doubt this spring will bring many welcome experiences. I just happen to be really lucky and have such a diverse property to explore!

Like I said before, these are the first cockroaches I've ever encountered outside of the city schools I work in. I never find live ones but man, dead ones certainly are common there. I'm going to see if the local city highschool will let me run some experiments and take samples this spring... :D

Hopefully I can acquire some new species in the process...except those little Germans...no thanks lol.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well it was 34ºF when I got home from work today and I thought, eh, what the heck, time for a trek into the woods. I grabbed my little shovel and a vial and in I went. Long story short I spent an hour without seeing a single living organism until I happened across an old uprooted tree. The bark had started peeling and I pulled some away...nothing. I spent the next ten minutes pulling frozen bits of bark away from the side until I got underneath of the trunk and tugged off a hunk. With this I found a sub-adult Parcoblatta pennsylvanica (at least I am guessing, I can't ID differentiate between the Parcoblatta species before adulthood). I checked further but only found one. So far this is the coldest temperature I've ever found a roach in and I would imagine he was frozen nearly solid when I found him. It took five minutes at room temperature for the little guy to rouse and move about the vial. I added him to my little colony.

Now I also had a question for those of you that keep Parcoblatta species, especially pennsylvanica. Have you had yours over a year and if yes, did you allow them to chill during the winter months and warm them back up in the spring? I have been talking with professor Joseph Kunkel of UMASS and he stated "Parcoblatta go through some sort of diapause during the winter that needs to be broken in some way by an environmental cue that spring has come." I would imagine he knows his stuff but I am curious if anyone has noted this as a need for their development or if they still molt at a regular cycle without the winter chill?

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