Story by Sue Ann Kendall, photos by Carolyn Henderson
Carolyn Henderson, our Chapter President, spotted an unusual insect in her house last week. Being a Master Naturalist, she didn’t squish it. Of course, she photographed it. Neither she nor any of her friends had ever seen one of these little green creatures before.
She looked it up on iNaturalist, and even though none of us had seen one before, sure enough, it’s common around here; it just doesn’t usually visit our houses, a trait we all appreciate. Here’s what she read about the unusual green banana or Cuban cockroach (originally from Wikipedia):
“Panchlora nivea, the Cuban cockroach or green banana cockroach, is a small species of cockroach found in Cuba and the Caribbean, and along the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas, and has been observed as far north as Summerville, South Carolina. It is found in subtropical or tropical climates.
“The females can grow up to 24 mm and the smaller males are 12 to 15 mm long. It is winged and a strong flier, pale green to yellowish green in color, with a yellow line running up the sides. The nymphs are brown or black in color and are burrowers.
“It is usually an outdoor species and is rarely found indoors, so is not considered a pest. The adults can often be found in shrubbery, trees, and plants. The young can be found under logs and other debris. It is often attracted to both indoor and outdoor lights and it is mainly a nocturnal species.
“It is often a popular pet roach due to its relatively pleasant green color, and because it is not an invasive indoor species. It is also used as food for other pets. [emphasis mine]”
That last part is interesting. I guess Carolyn had a new pet! The color is “relatively pleasant.” I think I’ll let them live outside, but it sure is interesting to know they live here! Let us know if you run across any in your nocturnal excursions.