Oriental Cockroaches (2022)

Blatta orientalis L.

Cockroaches are among the most common of insects. Fossil evidence indicates that cockroaches have been on earth for over 300 million years. They are considered one of the most successful groups of animals. Because cockroaches are so adaptable, they have successfully adjusted to living with humans. About 3,500 species of cockroaches exist worldwide, with 55 species found in the United States. Only four species are common pests in Pennsylvania structures. These are the German, brown-banded, Oriental, and American cockroaches. A fifth species, the Pennsylvania wood cockroach is an occasional nuisance pest in some locations.


Oriental cockroaches are often called water bugs because of their preference for dark, damp, and cool areas such as those under sinks and washing machines, and in damp basements. This species, which is less wary and more sluggish than the others, of concern because it often travels through sewer pipes and lives on filth.

Adult Oriental cockroaches are about one inch in length (Fig. 1). Both male and female adults are very dark brown, nearly black; their bodies usually have a somewhat greasy sheen. Females have small, functionless, rudimentary wing pads and broader, heavier bodies. Males have wings that cover only about three-quarters of their abdomen. Males are apparently unable to fly.

(Video) How to Get Rid of Oriental Cockroaches (Water Bug/Blackbeetle)

Nymphs and adults have similar habits and are found with decaying organic matter indoors and out. Indoors, Oriental cockroaches prefer dark, moist areas such as under porches, sewers, drains, crawl spaces, dark, damp basements, and floor drains. They can be found outdoors in abandoned cisterns and water valve pits; in yards; beneath leaves; in bark mulch around shrubs, flowers, and foundations; in dumps, stone walls, and crawl spaces; and in garbage and trash dumps and trash chutes. Both nymphs and adults are sluggish and are usually situated at or below ground level indoors. They are seldom found on walls, in high cupboards, or in the upper floors of buildings. At times large numbers occur in one great mass around leaks in the basement or crawl space areas of homes. Oriental cockroaches are generally found outdoors during warm weather, but in periods of drought there may be considerable movement into structures, apparently in search of higher humidity. They may enter the home in food packages and laundry, or merely come in under the door or through air ducts, garbage chutes, or ventilators.

Figure 1. Image of Oriental cockroach adults, nymphs, and eggs.

Life History

The Oriental cockroach has three developmental stages: egg, nymph, and adult. Eggs are laid in capsules, which the female carries for about 30 hours and then drops onto a protected surface near a food supply. The female does not glue the egg capsule to the surface.

Females produce an average of eight capsules, each containing 16 eggs that hatch in about 60 days under room temperature conditions. Nymphs molt from seven to ten times; nymphal stages usually take 24 to 130 weeks to complete. The life span of an adult female is 5 to 26 weeks with approximately 200 offspring. Unlike the other house-infesting species, the Oriental cockroach generally has a seasonal developmental cycle. The peak number of adults usually appears in late spring or early summer. By late summer and early fall, this number has become quite low, owing to natural mortality and the hatching of nymphs.

(Video) Oriental Cockroach


Oriental cockroaches feed on all kinds of filth, rubbish, and other decaying organic matter. They seem especially fond of garbage and the contents of discarded tin cans. If water is available, they can live for a month without food; without water they die within two weeks. The most important aspect of cockroach damage derives from their habit of feeding and harboring in damp and unsanitary places such as sewers, garbage disposals, kitchens, bathrooms, and indoor storage areas. Filth from these sources is spread by cockroaches to food supplies, food preparation surfaces, dishes, utensils, and other surfaces. Cockroaches contaminate far more food than they are able to eat.

Cockroaches in general produce odorous secretions from various points in their bodies. Such secretions can affect the flavors of various foods. When cockroach populations are high, these secretions may result in a characteristic odor in the general region of the infestation. Disease-producing organisms such as bacteria, protozoa, and viruses have been found in their bodies.

Different forms of gastroenteritis (food poisoning, dysentery, diarrhea, etc.) appear to be the principal diseases transmitted by Oriental cockroaches. The insects carry these disease-causing organisms on their legs and bodies and deposit the organisms on food and utensils as they forage. Cockroach excrement and cast skins also contain a number of allergens, to which many people exhibit allergic responses such as skin rashes, watery eyes, congestion of nasal passages, asthma, and sneezing.



To control Oriental cockroaches, it is important to do a thorough inspection. A cockroach survey (trapping) is sometimes necessary to determine the extent of an infestation, because even a thorough inspection will not reveal all cockroach harborages or areas where they forage most actively at night. Surveys are particularly useful in houses and buildings where there is a moderate to heavy level of infestation.

(Video) 🪳 Types Of Cockroaches | 20 Cockroaches In English #cockroaches #BalyanakTV

Cockroach surveys involve placing sticky traps at strategic locations within the building. Whenever possible place survey traps either against a wall or in a corner of the floor. Most commercially available traps come complete with bait to encourage cockroaches to enter. One week of trapping at a sufficient number of trapping sites usually provides enough information for more complete and effective control.

Sanitation, Structural Modifications, and Repairs - Modifying the interior environment--removing food, moisture, and harborages for cockroaches--is the first step in treatment. Eliminating cockroach harborages involves caulking in closets and cabinets, caulking under the sink, etc., or making similar structural repairs in the kitchen, bathroom, and other areas of the house.

Oriental cockroaches may move into dwellings from the outside. Recent research has been conducted on the movement of Oriental cockroaches under, around, and into homes from harborages in crawl spaces and cinder block foundations. The research has shown that these cockroaches frequently move into the home along plumbing (e.g., up through the floor from underneath the crawl space) and under door or window jams. The use of screening, caulking and similar items may be useful in tightening the exterior to deter entry by the cockroaches.

Chemical Control

Dusts such as boric acid, silica aerogel, and diatomaceous earth can be applied to voids and other harborages such as cracks and crevices. Do not apply dusts to wet or damp areas. Dusts should be applied lightly because heavy deposits may repel cockroaches. Do not place dusts where children or pets could come into contact with them. Take care to keep children away from areas treated with boric acid. Take precautions to assure that the dusts do not contaminate food.

(Video) Oriental Cockroaches

Perimeter insecticide sprays may aid in the reduction of Oriental cockroaches entering homes from the exterior. Sprays should be applied as to create a continuous barrier around the structure. Use only those materials labeled for this type of application.

The use of residual sprays or aerosol foggers within a structure is of little value in controlling Oriental cockroaches. In fact, these applications may disperse the cockroaches making control difficult and lengthy.

Baiting can be an effective method to control or eliminate cockroaches from a structure. Baits containing hydramethylnon, fipronil, sulfluramid, boric acid, or abamectin should provide a high level of control when applied to those areas where cockroaches harbor. Care should be taken to closely follow the label instructions for use.


Pesticides are poisonous. Read and follow directions and safety precautions on labels. Handle carefully and store in original labeled containers out of the reach of children, pets, and livestock. Dispose of empty containers right away, in a safe manner and place. Do not contaminate forage, streams, or ponds.

(Video) Oriental Roaches

Authored by: Steve Jacobs, Sr. Extension Associate

Revised: January 2013


Should I worry about Oriental cockroaches? ›

Oriental cockroaches typically transfer bacteria and viruses from their legs to food, dishes, utensils and countertops and are known to spread dysentery, e. coli, salmonella and food poisoning. These pests can contaminate your food and kitchen surfaces, which may make you or your family sick.

What is the fastest way to get rid of Oriental roaches? ›

An effective way to get rid of Oriental cockroaches is to put out Ortho® Home Defense Roach Bait every 6 feet wherever they're found. Each bait station contains a carefully formulated blend of two things they love—food and water—plus an insecticide.

How hard is it to get rid of Oriental cockroaches? ›

The Oriental Cockroach does have wings, but cannot fly. Getting rid of this pest requires patience, persistance, and a combination of both chemical and non-chemical methods. Like most pests, Oriental roaches require 3 things to thrive-food, water, and harborage.

Are Oriental cockroaches a problem? ›

Oriental cockroaches can cause additional problems. They transmit bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella, taint food with pathogens, and excrete odors that are problematic for people with allergies and asthma. If an infestation is suspected, take quick action to get rid of and keep the pests out.

What attracts Oriental cockroach? ›

Oriental cockroaches are attracted to properties that offer them areas of damp, dark, decaying vegetation to live and hide in.

Why am I seeing Oriental cockroaches? ›

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.

Do Oriental cockroaches multiply? ›

Another problem with oriental cockroaches is how quickly they multiply. Female oriental cockroaches can lay egg capsules containing up to 15 eggs. Each female cockroach can lay up to 8 egg cases in their lifetime. Cockroaches also like to gather in large groups near water.

What keeps roaches away permanently? ›

Peppermint oil, cedarwood oil, and cypress oil are essential oils that effectively keep cockroaches at bay. Additionally, these insects hate the smell of crushed bay leaves and steer clear of coffee grounds. If you want to try a natural way to kill them, combine powdered sugar and boric acid.

What kills all roaches instantly? ›

Bleach When you think about What Kills Cockroaches Instantly, then bleach is definitely the answer.

What is the hardest roach to get rid of? ›

The German cockroach is considered to be the worst species of cockroach for many reasons. Their long, dark antenna and light brown to tan coloration make them difficult to spot scuttling around in dark, cluttered areas of a home.

Does one Oriental cockroach mean infestation? ›

Most people equate cockroaches with dirty homes but this isn't always the case. What attracts cockroaches to a clean house is food, water, and warmth. While the presence of one cockroach in your home can be enough to send you into a panic, one roach doesn't necessarily mean you have a full blown infestation.

Do roaches ever fully go away? ›

It is possible to completely get rid of roaches in your home with the right type of treatment but they will not stay away forever. Once you eradicate the current infestation you need to stay proactive about keeping them away.

Do Oriental roaches go upstairs? ›

They get to the second floor the same way they get everywhere else. In fact, different types of cockroaches gravitate to different floors. Oriental cockroaches like the cool dampness of basements and other poorly ventilated areas.

Can Oriental cockroaches jump? ›

No. Oriental cockroaches do not jump, and don't even move very fast. Their legs are made for crawling.

How long do Oriental roaches live? ›

Females produce an average of eight capsules, each containing 16 eggs that hatch in about 60 days under room temperature conditions. Nymphs molt from seven to ten times; nymphal stages usually take 24 to 130 weeks to complete. The life span of an adult female is 5 to 26 weeks with approximately 200 offspring.

Do Oriental cockroaches live inside? ›

Oriental cockroaches often decide to move indoors looking for moisture when the weather outside becomes too hot and dry. They also move indoors while looking for food. It only takes a few of these roaches to find their way into your home for a large infestation to develop.

How do I get rid of Oriental cockroaches in my apartment? ›

Baits are a great solution to pest control as they kill not only the cockroaches that you can see but also the ones that are hiding. Place the baits in basements, attics, and inside cabinets. We recommend using BASF Alpine Cockroach Gel Bait for oriental cockroaches.

Are roaches worse in summer or winter? ›

Rid of Cockroaches in Your Home

Infestations are often worse in the winter months as they seek shelter and warmth in our homes and businesses.

How can I make my house cockroach free? ›

  1. WATCH OUT FOR CRACKS AND CREVICES: Cockroaches thrive in dark corners. ...
  2. DON'T LEAVE FOOD OUT, UNCOVERED: This seems obvious, and we often follow this practice with our own dishes. ...

How do you get roaches to proof your house? ›

These include:
  1. Sealing all cracks, gaps, and holes around the outside of your home.
  2. Keeping outdoor garbage bins tightly covered.
  3. Removing indoor garbage frequently.
  4. Keeping all food stored in airtight containers or in the refrigerator or freezer.
  5. Cleaning your counters and dishes as soon as they're dirty.
23 Apr 2019

Does killing cockroach attract more? ›

Do dead cockroaches attract more cockroaches? Yes, they absolutely do! A dead cockroach releases oleic acid when they die. This has a pungent smell which intern attracts other cockroaches.

How do you tell if roaches are dying? ›

When cockroaches die, they release a chemical known as oleic acid. This chemical has a moldy smell that other living cockroaches are attracted to. The live roaches can smell this odor from a long distance. And when they detect the smell, they come looking for their dead counterpart.

What animal kills cockroaches? ›

Cockroach predators include mammals, avians, amphibians and other reptiles. For example, hedgehogs will eat roaches. Joining the roach à la mode dinner party are geckos, skinks and other species of lizards, frogs, turtles, some types of birds and even rats and mice.

What's the number 1 roach killer? ›

Our pick: Terro T500 Multi-Surface Roach Baits.

Is there a Queen roach? ›

Is there a queen roach? Cockroaches are not truly social insects (like honey bees or termites). As such, they do not have a queen. However, they are considered 'gregarious' and tend to congregate during rest times (generally the daytime).

What are cockroaches most afraid of? ›

Citrus. You may love the smell of fresh citrus, but cockroaches hate the scent. That means you can use citrus scented cleaners in your kitchen and bathroom to chase any lingering roaches away. You can also keep a few citrus peels around your home in strategic places.

Can Oriental roaches climb walls? ›

Unlike other cockroaches, Oriental cockroaches cannot climb smooth surfaces because they lack specialized pads on their feet. This means that, unlike other species, the Oriental cockroach much prefers the floor and will avoid climbing walls and ceilings.

How fast do roaches multiply? ›

At their peak, females can produce two egg cases a week, each containing up to 16 eggs, but after that, their reproductive capacity declines to about one case a month. The eggs incubate for six to eight weeks. In her lifetime, one female produces an average of 150 young.

How many roaches is an infestation? ›

If your home has 5 or fewer cockroaches, it can be identified as a light infestation. If it is between 10 to 25 roaches, it can be a moderate one. But if it exceeds 25, it can now be classified as a heavy infestation.

Will roaches leave a cold house? ›

It's because of this habit they're also known as water bugs in certain states. Therefore, roaches will not leave a cold house during the winter. They'll go dormant and restart their activities when the normal temperatures are back.

Does one Oriental cockroach mean infestation? ›

Most people equate cockroaches with dirty homes but this isn't always the case. What attracts cockroaches to a clean house is food, water, and warmth. While the presence of one cockroach in your home can be enough to send you into a panic, one roach doesn't necessarily mean you have a full blown infestation.

Do Oriental cockroaches infest homes? ›

Yes, Oriental cockroaches do often infest homes. Many people call Oriental cockroaches "water bugs" because they like very damp areas. One of the most likely indoor areas you'll find Oriental cockroaches is in the basement, especially around sump pumps and water collection systems.

Are Oriental cockroaches common? ›

One of four cockroaches common in Pennsylvania structures, Oriental cockroaches are often called water bugs due to their preference for dark, damp, and cool areas. Blatta orientalis L. Cockroaches are among the most common of insects.

Should I be worried about cockroaches in my house? ›

If you think you have cockroaches, do not panic. Finding roaches is not a sign that your house is dirty. Even if you clean regularly and maintain a tidy home, cockroaches can usually find food and water without much trouble. This allows them to thrive in many environments.

Do Oriental cockroaches multiply? ›

Another problem with oriental cockroaches is how quickly they multiply. Female oriental cockroaches can lay egg capsules containing up to 15 eggs. Each female cockroach can lay up to 8 egg cases in their lifetime. Cockroaches also like to gather in large groups near water.

Does killing a cockroach attract more? ›

Yes, killing roaches and not safely disposing of the dead roaches attract more roaches. Dead roaches discharge secretions, known as oleic acid, which tell other roaches that it's food.

Can exterminators get rid of Oriental cockroaches? ›

How to get rid of oriental cockroaches? Calling a professional exterminator is always the best course of action but since oriental cockroaches are mostly found outside you can also try to resolve this problem on your own. Apply liquid pesticides around the house perimeters. especially around doors and windows.

How long do Oriental roaches live? ›

An adult Blatta orientalis can live from 34 to 180 days, and pairing takes place at any season. Figure 3. Egg case (ootheca) and early instar nymph of the oriental cockroach, Blatta orientalis Linnaeus.

How do I get rid of Oriental cockroaches in my house? ›

How to Get Rid of Oriental Cockroaches (Water Bug ...

Do Oriental cockroaches move fast? ›

They are sluggish and move slower than other species of cockroach which tend to scurry quickly from place to place. Oriental cockroaches are also unable to fly.

Do Oriental cockroaches bite? ›

First of all, Oriental cockroaches can bite. But that isn't what makes them dangerous. A bite from one of these insects is only going to produce a red welt. If the wound is cleaned and disinfected, there is no risk of it worsening into something more threatening.

What if I saw one roach? ›

If you see a cockroach during the day, get ready to panic. Roaches will usually only brave the daylight if they have to, thanks to overcrowding or food shortages. So, spotting a daytime cockroach – even just one – can be a sign of serious, long-term infestation.

Can you have 1 cockroach? ›

Some cockroach females don't actually need a mate to reproduce. On top of that, it's unlikely that the lone cockroach you've seen is the only one in your home. Cockroaches are excellent at hiding and the one you've seen may be a sign that there are others nearby. I found one cockroach in my apartment.

What does it mean when a cockroach crawls on you? ›

A cockroach can represent resilience, transformation, and sociability. It also represents negative things like feelings of disgust and worries about bad people nearby. What is this? A cockroach crawling on you is usually a sign that the cockroach really wants you to hear its message.


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