Oriental Cockroaches

Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name

Blatta orientalis

Appearance

What do they look like?

Female Adult Oriental Cockroach
Female Adult Oriental Cockroach

Male Adult Oriental Cockroach
Male Adult Oriental Cockroach

The adults of the oriental cockroach are very different in appearance.

Male

  • Size: 25 mm long max
  • Wings: three-quarter-length wings, leaving the last few abdominal segments exposed
  • Color: Shiny black to a dark reddish-brown color

Female

  • Size: 32 mm long max
  • Wings: None, only large wing pads that cover the first couple of segments of the body
  • Color: Shiny black to a dark reddish-brown color

How Did I Get Oriental Cockroaches?

These cockroaches prefer homes with plenty of damp, dark, and sheltered areas to breed and develop. Oriental cockroaches often travel through sewers and may come inside through pipes and drains. Abundant outdoor plants may also provide places for these cockroach populations to flourish and get inside houses in search of food. Also, leaking pipes and other plumbing leaks are very attractive to Oriental cockroaches.

How Serious Are Oriental Cockroaches?

Oriental cockroaches will eat almost anything, including decaying organic matter and trash. They often live in rarely used sink drains, garbage disposals, under cabinets that contain plumbing or in bathroom voids. As they forage for food in homes, the pests may transfer disease-causing bacteria to pantry goods and countertops.

Diseases
Oriental cockroaches can be a source for many food-borne pathogens, including E.coli, Salmonella spp., and other pathogens. Due to their dietary preference for garbage and decaying organic matter, oriental cockroaches can carry these pathogens on their legs and bodies from contaminated areas and then transmit them onto clean surfaces.

In addition, oriental cockroaches secrete odors from their bodies. These odors are very noticeable if the population is large and can taint food by changing its smell or flavor.

How Do You Get Rid of Cockroaches?

What Orkin Does
The Orkin Man™ is trained to help manage cockroaches. Since every home is different, the Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Keeping roaches out of your home or building is an ongoing process, not a one-time treatment. Orkin’s exclusive A.I.M. solution is a continuing cycle of three critical steps—Assess, Implement and Monitor.

The Orkin Man™ can provide the right solution to keep roaches in their place…out of your home or business.

For more information or to schedule an inspection, please contact your local Orkin branch office.

Signs of an Oriental Cockroach Infestation

Sightings
During the warmer months, it is not uncommon to find oriental roaches outside around landscaping beds, congregating beneath moist gutters, or even scurrying out from storm drains and sewer grates at night. Mostly active at night, they can be found during the day in areas and rooms that are kept primarily moist, dark and undisturbed.

Egg Capsules
Egg cases, or oothecas, of the oriental cockroach may appear dark brown or reddish in color and almost 8 to 10 mm in length. Each egg case, which can hold approximately 16 eggs, is dropped by the female into protected areas, almost 30 hours after it is produced.

Odor
In areas where large populations of oriental cockroaches are present, a musty odor can be detected. This odor is a result of chemicals that are secreted by the insects that are used to communicate within the population.

Read about cockroach infestation signs

Image of an Oriental cockroach

Behavior, Diet & Habits

How do they get in the home?
Oriental cockroaches are a pest invader that most frequently gains entry beneath the thresholds of doors, through open doors or gaps beneath siding, even following utility lines, pipes, open drains or sewers into a structure or home.

Where do they live?
Primarily an outdoors species, oriental cockroaches are well adapted for surviving in the natural environment. Most outdoor populations can be found living beneath the mulch in landscape beds, in leaf litter, beneath stones or debris outdoors. If access is available, the insects can thrive in the voids or openings beneath porches, in wall voids and crawlspaces. In more metropolitan areas, oriental roaches can be found in large numbers living in storm drains and sewers. Oriental roaches prefer cool, damp locations, so they can also be found in basements and cellars. Oriental cockroaches crawl around service ducts, toilets, bathtubs, sinks, radiators and pipes.

Oriental Cockroaches Outdoors

Oriental Cockroaches Outdoors

Gathered Near Water
Although their natural habitat is outdoors, they may infest homes in summer. Inside, they tend to remain on lower floors. Like other cockroach species, Oriental cockroaches are omnivorous and thrive by scavenging for food crumbs and decaying plants and animals. Oriental cockroaches tend to gather in large numbers near water sources.

What Do Oriental Cockroaches Eat?
Oriental cockroaches are known for their preference of feeding on garbage, filth or material that has begun to decay. These cockroaches are very dependent upon water. While studies have shown that they can survive for up to a month without food, these insects can not survive for more than two weeks without water.

Can they fly?
Neither the male nor female is capable of flight.

Distribution
Oriental cockroaches thrive in port cities throughout the world. They can be found throughout the United States, as well as in England, Europe, Israel, Australia and South America.

Reproduction & Life Cycle

On average an adult male oriental cockroach will live 110 to 160 days, whereas the adult female can live anywhere from 35 to 180 days. During that time, a single female oriental roach can produce approximately eight egg cases, or ootheca, with approximately 16 eggs per case. Approximately 30 hours after she has produced the egg case, she will drop it in a protected area where it will stay until the young hatch.

The development time for the oriental cockroach is greatly affected by the season. In the warmer months, the time needed to develop from an egg to an adult may take as few as 200 days. However, when the weather becomes colder, or during the late fall and winter months, it can take as many as 800 days for the cockroaches to go from egg to adult.

More Information

Oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis) is also known as the waterbug, shade roach or black beetle.

Oriental Cockroach Nymphs

Waterbug Cockroaches