The domestic cockroaches we know in North America were actually imported from the Old World. Over the past four centuries, they have hitched rides on ships crossing the Atlantic.
Cockroaches might be called living fossils: they first appeared 350 million years ago. They are the oldest and most primitive winged insects that have survived to the present day. The 3,500 existing species are basically identical to the very first forms of cockroaches that flourished in the Carboniferous Period.
Cockroaches are generally recognizable by their flattened, oval bodies, their heads concealed by a structure called the pronotum, and their very long, hairlike antennae.