Cockroaches. Just the word is enough to incite fear in some, and disgust in many. Many people probably recognize cockroaches when they see them, but they might not realize that there are several different common species. One of those is the Oriental cockroach, read on to learn how to tell the Oriental cockroach apart from others—and what to do if you come across them in your home.


How do I know if it’s an Oriental cockroach?

The three common species of cockroaches that you may find inside are the Oriental cockroach, American cockroach, and the German cockroach.. When it comes to telling them apart, they each have distinct physical characteristics.
  • Oriental cockroach: The Oriental cockroach has an extremely distinct physical appearance. It is much darker than both the American cockroach and German cockroach, usually a dark brownish-black, sometimes with a hint of red, and shiny. The adults are sexually dimorphic meaning you can tell the two genders apart by physical characteristics - The female Oriental cockroach does not have wings rather has short wing pads and will be much larger than the male. Males have short wings that do not extend over the abdomen. Oriental cockroaches are not as common as German or American cockroaches inside structures and are found throughout the United States. They are normally about an inch long.
  • American cockroach: These cockroaches can be found all across the United States, and adults are usually reddish-brown, have complete wings, and a light tan splotch on the pronotum which is a shield-like structure that covers the head from above. American cockroaches can grow quite large, up to 2 inches in length.
  • German cockroach: This cockroach is the roach most commonly found inside structures in humid places, like bathrooms, or places where people eat, like kitchens. German cockroaches are lighter and smaller than American and Oriental cockroaches, usually a light brown or tan color, with two darker stripes on their pronotum and complete wings.

What attracts Oriental cockroaches?

Oriental cockroaches are sometimes mistakenly referred to as water bugs, because of their preference for damp, dark places, like sewers. While Oriental cockroaches are quite different from giant water bugs, (for one thing, they don’t usually bite like giant water bags can) it’s important to note that areas of water attract them. That is one of the reasons why you might find Oriental cockroaches near drains or in the basement, as well as near water pumps or anywhere damp. They could also be found in walls near air ducts. Because of this, one important tip for prevention is to eliminate moisture wherever possible—especially in areas not frequently used or traveled in.

Additionally, similar to other cockroaches, Oriental cockroaches can feed on many different kinds of trash and decaying matter—and even sewage.

How do I get rid of Oriental cockroaches?

Now that you know what Oriental cockroaches look like and what attracts them, you’re probably wondering how to help get rid of them. Eliminating moisture is a tip for prevention, as well as one that could help dissuade Oriental cockroaches from making a home in your home. Make sure to repair plumbing leaks promptly, and keep your basement as dry as possible. Because Oriental cockroaches like moisture, they are known to sometimes come up and out of drains – where adding a drain screen is one way to help combat this.

Additionally, if you have places outside that a re attractive to the cockroaches, they may be more likely to enter your home. That’s why to help get rid of Oriental cockroaches, you should also eliminate places where they might harbor such as heavy vegetation, tree holes that collect water, mulch beds and other similar areas. Also be sure to remove any decaying matter, such as leaves, from windowsills and around your house. As with avoiding other pests, you should seal any gaps or cracks that could be a place for cockroaches or other pests to enter your home. When it comes to preventing many different kinds of pests, whether cockroaches or house mice, excluding them from entry is an important consideration.

While Oriental cockroaches are usually less likely to infest kitchens, it’s still good practice to follow the proper steps to keep your kitchen clean and your food safe. Such steps include:
  • Cleaning up crumbs and foodstuff immediately
  • Keeping food in airtight, sealed containers
  • Keeping garbage can lids tightly closed, and taking out the garbage often

Like with many DIY methods, especially with as hardy pests as cockroaches, there is no guarantee that they will eliminate all cockroaches or keep them out forever. Sometimes, it’s necessary to call in a professional. If you’re dealing with a cockroach problem, don’t wait to contact Terminix. They’ll be able to help you take the proper steps to manage a cockroach infestation—whether you’re dealing with American cockroaches, German cockroaches, or Oriental cockroaches.

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