One of the lesser known species of cockroaches, the oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis), also known as the black beetle cockroach and the waterbug, is actually one of the largest next to its cousin, the American cockroach. These pests are great at hiding and fitting into tight locations and have adapted to thrive both indoors and outdoors. Let’s take a look at how to identify Oriental cockroaches, as well as some cockroach prevention tips.
The Oriental cockroach is dark brown to nearly black in color with a smooth shiny exoskeleton. Although not quite as big as American cockroaches, these bugs do get up to 1 inch in length. Males are slightly shorter than females with stubbed wings and females are longer and skinnier without wings.
These roaches are found throughout the United States and prefer warm, moist, dark locations. They thrive outdoors, often residing under piles of leaves, mulch, stone, wood, flower beds, and debris. They will travel through sewers and can come into your home through pipes and drains. Indoors, they can be found in rarely used sink drains, garbage disposals, under cabinets with plumbing, and in bathroom voids.
Oriental roaches are omnivores, eating nearly any type of food source but preferring decaying plants and rotting garbage. They will also make do with crumbs, pet food, and leftover human food, too. They are very dependent on water which is why they are usually found in areas with high moisture. They can survive up to 1 month with no food but only 2 weeks without water.
These cockroaches are slower than most of their counterparts. They prefer to be active outdoors and are nocturnal. Males have wings but don’t fly. They have a lifespan of 1 to 6 months and their reproduction is seasonal – they produce more eggs in the spring and summer than they do the rest of the year.
Oriental cockroaches are dangerous to humans as they are known to transmit bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. Because they eat decaying food and other material, they can contaminate food and other surfaces with the pathogens picked up from their food sources. They also excrete odors which can trigger allergies and asthma in those affected.
There are 3 main signs of Oriental cockroaches in your home:
- Seeing actual live bugs.
- Finding egg cases around your home.
- A wet, musty smell that gets stronger with larger cockroach infestations.
- Keep your home clean and sanitized, especially areas with water (around drains, pipes, bathrooms, and basements)
- Seal doorways with weatherstripping
- Seal holes and cracks in foundations
- Vacuum often
- Use a dehumidifier to prevent moisture buildup
- Keep gutters clear or install gutter guards
- Divert water away from foundations with properly functioning downspouts, gutters, and splash blocks
If you have a problem with cockroaches of any kind, contact a professional pest control company for proper identification, potential points of entry, and the most up to date treatment options available.