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. |
Oriental cockroaches prefer dark, moist areas such as under porches, crawl spaces, basements and floor drains. They may be found outdoors in abandoned cisterns, water valve pits, in bark mulch under shrubs around the foundation, in stone walls, and in garbage and trash dumps. Oriental cockroaches are often found in cooler places than is typical for the other large species of cockroaches. For example, they can over-winter in protected landscape areas of cold regions of the United States.
Oriental cockroaches can be controlled with the same types of insecticide sprays and baits as those used for the American cockroach. However, the moist situations in which this cockroach is normally found will typically decrease long-term effectiveness of residual insecticides, cause baits to mold (reducing their effectiveness), and often prevent the successful use of dusts.
Because Oriental cockroaches often move into dwellings in large numbers, a perimeter or barrier treatment is recommended when cockroaches are found living outside. Recent research on the movement of Oriental cockroaches under, around and into homes from harborages in crawl spaces and cinder block foundations has shown that these cockroaches frequently move into the home along plumbing (e.g., up through the floor from the crawl space underneath) and under door or window jams. Thus, carefully treat these areas with insecticides, and/or physically prevent such invasion by caulking or screening.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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