Cockroaches are all over the world, one of the more common species in the U.S. is the oriental cockroach. Known as the dirtiest species of all of the cockroaches, the oriental cockroach is pretty gross. Not only is it disgusting to look at it, it even smells bad. Ranging from an inch to an inch-and-a-quarter long the oval-shaped oriental cockroach hides out in homes and backyards searching for food. In the case of food for the oriental cockroach – anything goes. The oriental cockroach’s diet consists of things like garbage, plant material, animal material, decaying matter, and sewage. As mentioned, anything goes when it comes to the oriental cockroach. The oriental cockroach can survive up to a month without food. On the other hand, the oriental cockroach can not go more than two weeks without water.
Some cockroaches fly and some do not. The oriental cockroach has wings, but it does not fly. The female’s wings are short and the male’s wings cover its body. But even with these wings they can not take flight. The oriental cockroach can be a reddish to dark brown to a black tone, usually the older ones are darker in color; they also are shiny or glossy looking.
This picture shows both sexes of the oriental cockroach. The male is on the far left, then the female, and then some oriental cockroaches in the nymph stage.
Based on their appearance they have have also been given other names, the black beetle and the water bug. The oriental cockroach gets the water bug name from where it is often found, near water. The oriental cockroach likes to live in damp and dark places. Aside from the fact that the oriental cockroach has two other names this gross creature has actually been around way before people. It is said that the cockroaches are one of the most successful animals since they have been around for nearly 300 million years.
Here is what the egg sac or oothecae looks like, on the left. On the right is a young oriental cockroach nymph.
One factor of how the oriental cockroach is such a high populated species today is that they re-populate often. A female oriental cockroach will get pregnant anywhere from once to eight times with in her life. Each time this occurs she lays up to 16 eggs which are deposited into a sac, also called an oothecae. The female will carry her oothecae around with her for up to 24 to 36 hours, after this time she will find a spot to leave the oothecae. The oothecae is usually left near a food supply, so when the nymphs come out of the sac they are near some food. Also the mother will want to leave her oothecae somewhere where it will be safe, so she looks for cracks or crevices to leave the sac. The eggs will stay in the oothecae for up to two months, depending on the environment. Once they have developed enough they will leave the sac, and are now nymphs. The nymphs are left to survive on their own, because the mother really does just leave her oothecae full of eggs and never comes back. Unlike many other insects the oriental cockroach nymphs looks a lot like an adult oriental cockroach, and is usually more of a reddish tone than a black tone. During the nymph stage the oriental cockroach will shed its skin seven to ten times before the nymph becomes an adult. As an adult the oriental cockroach will live up to six months to a year and a half. Then the cycle will just repeat itself.
Unfortunately, oriental cockroaches are slow movers, and it can take some time for them to get from one location to another. This also is a problem if a person finds an oriental cockroach and wants to kill it. Many times people will think that the oriental cockroach is going to take flight and fly away because they have wings on their bodies, but remember they do not actually fly. Therefore, the best thing an oriental cockroach can do is to hide. Also unlike other pests the oriental cockroach does not have sticky pads on their feet. This makes it challenging for the oriental cockroach to go certain places because they can not climb up smooth surfaces.
Here is an oriental cockroach outside crawling through some leaves on the ground.
People often find oriental cockroaches near any type of decaying organic matter (trash, compost), sewers, drains, damp basements, porches, under sinks, under washing machines, crawlspaces, and or floor drains. A common thread of all of these locations is that there is water near all of these spots. Also the oriental cockroach can find many places to live that are often in backyards or frontyards of homes. Oriental cockroaches like to live in bushes, under leaf ground cover, under mulch, anywhere damp, under porches, around shrubs, around flowers, near garbage cans or chutes, and under or in firewood piles. Knowing these are popular places for oriental cockroaches to live make sure to pay extra attention when you are near these spots. Some of the other locations mentioned can be found inside a home, and no one wants oriental cockroaches inside their home. A problem that can happen even if the oriental cockroach is living outside of your home is that the oriental cockroach can get easily brought in on accident. Oriental cockroaches get into homes by crawling on or into food packages, laundry (if your laundry room is outside of the main house), doors, air ducts, garbage chutes, plumbing, window jams, openings in foundation, and or ventilators. The oriental cockroach will try to get inside homes during droughts in search of water and when the weather cools down in search of warmth and food. Once inside your home the oriental cockroach can cause major problems.
The scary part about the problems oriental cockroaches can cause is that the actually harm people and not things. There is rarely any real physical damage left behind from oriental cockroaches. One thing that might actually be left behind is feces, which is a huge problem. The feces of an oriental cockroach have allergens in it, and this can make people have allergy problems or worse yet asthma. Also the skin cast from molting has allergens in it, so finding either one of these can be harmful for people, especially children. The allergens are more of an airborne problem, while the oriental cockroach is still able to get people sick just by crawling around a home.
This oriental cockroach looks to be crawling on some tile inside of a home. If you do find an oriental cockroach inside your home call your local pest control.
The oriental cockroach is constantly secreting bacteria, viruses, and diseases from their bodies. As the oriental cockroach roams around they are constantly contaminating everything they touch. From the counter tops where food is prepared to the bowl of fruit to the dishes and utensils in the kitchen, these are all things that can be contaminated by oriental cockroaches and make people really sick. As the oriental cockroach moves the secretions fall off its body and onto whatever may be below, and if the item gets into the hands of a person with the contaminates still on it the person can become very ill. Washing all exposed fruits and vegetables is very important, also keep counter tops and tables thoroughly clean. The hard thing for people is that you can not see that the food or counters have actually been contaminated, so you may never know if things have been contaminated or not. This happens because oriental cockroaches are nocturnal so they come out at night, and the homeowners will not know if there were oriental cockroaches on their table or in their kitchen. It is best to assume they could be there every night and to clean everything in the morning before breakfast. Or better yet if traces of feces are found or even an oriental cockroach call your local pest control company to eliminate the problem. Although there are many things people can do to keep oriental cockroaches from even getting inside their home so they don’t have to worry about the harm oriental cockroaches can cause. Read more for tips on preventing oriental cockroaches, on our blog.
Pictures courtesy of www.creativecommons.org