The oriental cockroach is sometimes call the black beetle or waterbug (US).
Despite being called the oriental cockroach, it is not native to the ‘Orient’. It is thought to have originated in Africa or southern Russia.
Found worldwide in tropical and temperate regions (quite tolerant of cooler climates).
Prefers cool, moist, dark habitats, from which it gets its “waterbug” name. They are found in leaf litter and around garbage bins outside and in buildings are found in basements and sib-floors, sewers, drains and other damp areas. They quite often use plumbing pipework to move into and within buildings. They tend to move indoors during the cooler seasons.
Oriental cockroaches live in aggregations – cockroaches of all ages (young nymphs to adults). Whereas the cockroaches don’t activity co-operate as a community, the young cockroach nymphs, which tend not to leave the harbourage, benefit from this arrangement as they feed on the droppings and vomit of older cockroaches.
Colour: Dark brown / black.
Size: Up to 27 mm
Males: Non-functional wings, ¾ the length of the body
Females: Only wing buds
Colour: Tend to be lighter than the adults – more reddish brown / brown
Size: From 4-25 mm
Eggs: 16 eggs per ootheca (egg case). Ootheca deposited in a warm, sheltered position, near a food source well before egg hatch.
Number of nymphal stages/moults to adult: 7
Length of life-cycle (Egg to adult): 365 days
Life span of adult: Up to 6 months
Like other cockroaches, the oriental cockroach will eat almost anything but it eats where it lives and is often found feeding on garbage, sewage, or decaying organic matter.
Cockroaches are viewed as “dirty” insects, mainly due to their association with sewers and human waste. Indeed, they have been shown to carry a wide range of different diseases, in particular gastro bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli, as well as a number of parasitic worms. When they move across food preparation surfaces and feed on any exposed food, there is always the potential to transfer these diseases to humans. This is particularly the case for oriental cockroaches which tend to live in sewers, drains and garbage bins.
Good hygiene is key to preventing a cockroach infestation: