Oriental Cockroach


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.

Fast Facts

Color While some may be dark, reddish-brown in color, most Oriental cockroaches are black with a glossy sheen.
Size Adult males are roughly 1″ long, while females measure about 1.25″ in length.
Appearance While the wings of males extend to cover about 3/4 of the abdomen, females only have basic wing pads that look like small triangular lobes. Both sexes lack the ability to fly or climb smooth surfaces.


The Oriental cockroach diet largely consists of decaying organic matter like the remnants of starchy foods. Trash receptacles and discarded tin cans serve as ideal places for the pests to find a suitable meal. Without food, Oriental cockroaches can survive for a month as long as they have access to water. In the absence of water, the insects typically cannot live longer than two weeks.


Oriental cockroaches thrive in cool, damp areas such as basements, drains, and openings beneath porches, often traveling through sewer pipes and living on filth. Known for their preference for feeding on garbage and decay, these insects are commonly found in sinks, garbage disposals, landfills, and leaf litters. Unlike many other cockroach species, the Oriental cockroach can withstand freezing temperatures and is often encountered in homes year-round as a result.

Life Cycle

The life cycle from egg to adult is about 1.5 years.

Egg Production
Females carry the eggs in a protective case for about 24 to 30 hours before depositing the specialized capsule close to a food source. At room temperature, Oriental cockroach eggs take about 2 months to hatch. During the adult lifespan, females each produce an average of eight egg capsules, which contain 16 eggs each.

The newborn insects emerge as nymphs and molt between seven and ten times before fully maturing.

Adult Life Span
Upon reaching adulthood, Oriental cockroaches typically live for up to six months.

Signs of Infestation

  • May notice a foul odor given off by large infestations. In fact, experienced pest control professionals can frequently smell an infestation before seeing any physical evidence of one.
  • Look for excrement, skin casts and empty egg capsules in crevices close to the ground.
  • Examine basements, crawlspaces, sinks, and bathtubs for leaky pipes and fecal smears.
  • Check electrical areas, boiler rooms, and kitchens for live cockroaches, skin casts and feces.
  • Dark spaces with plenty of moisture and warmth.


Contaminate Food

The odorous secretions given off by the insects contaminate any food supply from which the insect feeds.

Carry Bacteria

Due to the unsanitary environments that the insects typically live in or pass through, the secondhand germs and bacteria can cause medical issues like food poisoning or diarrhea in humans. They can be the source of food-borne pathogens, including E-coli and Salmonella.

Contain Allergens

The insect’s excrement and skin casings contain allergens which may cause affected individuals to contract skin rashes, experience congestion and become watery-eyed and sneezy. Children remain most susceptible to the asthmatic effects of cockroach allergens.


Cockroaches contribute to the development and irritation of asthma.

Property Damage

Lastly, as many species of cockroaches prefer warm and dry or moist environments, the insects may cause damage to machines or piping.


Furthermore, the pests emit secretions that produce an unpleasant, lingering odor and can compromise the taste of food.

Prevention & Control

Oriental Cockroach Prevention

To prevent an Oriental cockroach infestation, home and business owners must eliminate sources of food and moisture. Simply practicing good sanitation habits can reduce or eliminate some of the most common food sources for cockroaches such as:

  • Cleaning up spills
  • Sweeping up crumbs
  • Washing dirty dishes
  • Vacuum often
  • Emptying the trash daily

Other prevention tips involve:

  • Elimination of potential access points by caulking cracks and crevices
  • Sealing the openings around pipes
  • Keeping crawlspaces properly ventilated helps remove the moisture the insects need to survive
  • Remove rotting leaves from window wells
Oriental Cockroach Control

While sprays and foggers are readily available at many retailers, they may actually make the infestation worse by causing the insects to scatter rather than die. Implementing baits often requires specialized equipment along with knowledge of cockroach behavior and tendencies. Licensed pest control professionals have access to the quickest and most effective methods of cockroach removal.

If an Oriental cockroach infestation occurs, count on a professional pest management service to take care of the problem knowledgeably and successfully.