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What Homeowners Need To Know About Oriental Cockroaches

No one likes living with cockroaches–well, except maybe other cockroaches. But when people see roaches of any kind skittering up walls, disappearing into cracks or, worse, coming out of unexpected places, they can be extremely distressing. And, if a person already has health issues such as asthma, the presence of cockroaches in the home can make matters worse. Let’s take a look at one type of cockroach that can get into your home or business: the Oriental cockroach.


Oriental cockroaches (Blatta orientalis), also called water bugs or black beetles, prefer to dwell in damp, dark places, and in cool areas such as underneath sinks or washing machines and in cool, damp basements or in crawl spaces. Inside, they are usually only found below ground level. Outside, they prefer to live in dark, wet areas such as underneath porches, in sewers or drains, in abandoned cisterns and water valve pits, beneath leaves, in bark mulch, in dumps and stone walls, or in garbage dumps and trash chutes.

Compared to other types of roaches, Oriental cockroaches are less wary, and more sluggish. But they are just as filthy, since they frequent filthy places such as dumpsters and sewer pipes.

These filthy creatures are a large species of cockroach. Adult males are approximately 18-29 mm in length, whereas adult females are around 20-27 mm. They are dark brown or black in color with a glossy body. Female Oriental cockroaches have tiny, functionless, rudimentary wing pads and broad, heavy bodies compared to the males. Males have wings which cover about 3/4 of their abdomens, yet are unable to fly.

How Do These Roaches Get Into Homes?

When the weather is warm, Oriental cockroaches are typically happy to stay outside. But, when there are periods of drought, there may be considerable numbers of these roaches moving inside, most likely because they are searching for a dwelling with higher humidity. They can squeeze into homes through gaps or cracks in foundations or walls, and are more likely to be close to a home that has shaded, moist areas surrounding the perimeter. They may also enter homes in food packages or laundry, or simply slip in underneath doors, through air ducts or garbage chutes, or through ventilators.

Problems Caused By Oriental Cockroaches

  • Food Contamination. These roaches feed on all kinds of filthy, decaying organic matter but they can go for up to a month without any food at all, if water is available. When they feed in damp, unsanitary places such as sewers and dumpsters, they can transfer filth to food supplies, food preparation areas, dishes, utensils and other areas dealing with food and those foods can become contaminated.
  • Allergies. Cast off skins of cockroaches, as well as their excrement, can contain a number of allergens. This can cause, in some people, reactions including skin rashes, watery eyes, congestion of nasal passages, asthma and/or sneezing.
  • Diseases. Bacteria, protozoa, and viruses have all been found in the bodies of Oriental cockroaches and can cause diseases. Various forms of gastroenteritis such as food poisoning, dysentery, diarrhea, etc, are some of the diseases transmitted by these roaches. The disease-causing organisms are carried on the roaches’ legs and bodies and are deposited on food and surfaces as they roam throughout kitchen and pantry areas.
  • Odors. All cockroaches produce odorous secretions from various areas in their bodies. These secretions can taint the flavor of various foods and, if there are enough roaches infesting an establishment, an overall, bad odor can result

Prevention Is Key

Summer is the time of year when the populations of cockroaches grow the fastest since roaches thrive in hot, humid weather. Here are a few DIY tips that may help to keep cockroaches of any kind out of your home or business.

  • Store all outside trash in containers with tight-fitting lids.
  • If you have compost, keep it well away from your exterior walls.
  • Keep things as dry as possible, both inside and out.
  • Trim all vegetation back away from your foundation, to allow things to dry out.
  • Remove yard clutter.
  • Inspect the outside of your home and seal up any gaps, cracks, or holes.
  • Keep your home free of spills and food crumbs. Deep clean on a regular basis, and don’t forget areas where organic matter tends to build up such as in between the stove and sides of cabinets.

Ultimate Cockroach Prevention Tip

Keeping cockroaches out of your home takes experience and know-how. For best results, consider partnering with a knowledgeable professional like Innovative Pest Control. If you live in East Texas, give us a call to learn more about our home pest control services.


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