- Common Name(s): Oriental Cockroach, Water Bug, Sewer Roach, Black Beetle
- Order: Blattodea
- Family: Blattidae
- Common Species: Blatta orientalis
- Commonly Confused With: Smoky Brown Roaches, Australian Roaches, American Roaches
How to Identify?
Oriental Roaches are dark brown to black with a very shiny, solid colored area directly behind their head (pronotum). They range from 1-1.25 inches in length. They do not have wings until they reach their adult stage and cannot reproduce until reaching adulthood. Males have wings that will cover about 75 percent of their body, while females have very short primitive wings. Both sexes’ wings will be leathery in appearance. Neither the male or female of this roach is capable of flight.
Where do they live?
Oriental roaches are most commonly found in decaying organic matter. Outdoors, they tend to live in locations that are damp, dark, and warm, such as in sewers, leaf piles, dumps, under porches, sidewalks, and pretty much all other forms of debris. Inside structures, they prefer cooler damper locations such as crawl spaces, basements, trash chutes, and floor drains.
What do they eat?
Oriental roaches can be found feeding on garbage, sewage, decaying organic matter, and many other food sources. While a diet high in starch is usually preferred, it is not needed for this roach to sustain itself. In the home, these roaches are attracted to empty food cans, garbage cans, and other filth around the home. Outside the home, these roaches will eat just about anything they come across. Water is vital to their survival, and larger quantities of roach populations can indicate some sort of leak or moisture problem.
What do they do?
The biggest problem with oriental roaches is their affinity for dark, damp, and often unsanitary locations. Viruses and other pathogens are more readily spread by oriental roaches than by many of the other roach species. When these roaches come indoors looking for food or water they end up contaminating way more food than they are able to ingest, and if a person happens to eat that contaminated food it can make them sick. Going from living in the sewers to living in your home is the biggest issue oriental roaches will cause.
Much like German roaches, oriental roaches have a very particular odor. It is typically described as a very powerful musty odor. This smell is actually a mixture of their different pheromones (communication scents). This is one of the biggest complaints about oriental roaches topped only by all of the different pathogens (germs, viruses, bacteria) that they can spread from living in your home!
Author: G. Wyatt West– B.S.E.S University of Georgia 2017; Board Certified Entomologist
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