What a pretty cockroach! Although many people will say that no cockroach can be described as pretty, the pale bordered field roach would be a strong contender for the title of “prettiest roach in the state.” These striking little roaches are only about 1/2 to 5/8 inches long and are occasionally seen outdoors in gardens and landscapes through much of the state (not sure if they are in far north Mississippi yet). These little roaches are not pests; they only live outdoors where they feed as scavengers and on plant exudates. They do not damage plants and, when they are found indoors, it is only because one happened to wander in from the outside; they do not establish indoor infestations.
Pale bordered field roaches are not native to Mississippi. They are native to Mexico and have been recorded in south Texas for at least a hundred years, but it seems only recently that they have moved eastward. The first official records of their occurrence in Mississippi are from the early 90s, and states like Alabama, Florida, and Arkansas have reported them more recently. The female in the photo was recently captured in Starkville. Notice that she is carrying an egg case or ootheca, which is a purse-like shell that contains a few dozen eggs.
This is a rare example of a new invasive insect that has moved into the state that is not a serious pest. In terms of their impact on man, pale bordered field roaches are best classified as miniature wildlife rather than as pests or beneficial insects.
Blake Layton, Extension Entomology Specialist, Mississippi State University Extension Service. The information given here is for educational purposes only. Always read and follow current label directions. Specific commercial products are mentioned as examples only and reference to specific products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended to other products that may also be suitable and appropriately labeled.