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 FLORIDA ROACHES
A source for information on roaches

Oriental Roach
Blatta orientalis

Appearance:
Oriental roaches are dark brown to black in color, and their bodies often have a somewhat greasy sheen. Both males and females have short, essentially functionless wings.

Size:
Approximately 1 inch in length.

Behavior:
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. Large numbers are sometimes found in one big mass around basement leaks or in crawl space areas in homes. If water is available, they can live for a month without food; without water they die within two weeks.

The life span of an adult female is 5 to 26 weeks with approximately 200 offspring. Unlike the other house-infesting species, the Oriental cockroach generally has a seasonal developmental cycle. The highest number of adults usually appears in late spring or early summer. Oriental roaches are often found feeding on garbage, sewage, or decaying organic matter. They will eat almost anything, but they prefer a high starch diet.

Habitat:
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, in damp basements, crawl spaces, and areas between the soil and foundation. They will often enter buildings through sewer pipes.

Oriental cockroaches are generally found outdoors during warm weather, but in periods of drought they tend to infest structures in search of moisture. This species is less wary and more sluggish than other cockroach species, and are usually found at or below ground level indoors. They may enter the home in food packages and laundry, or simply come in under the door or through air ducts, garbage chutes, or ventilators.

Nymphs and adults have similar habits and are found with decaying organic matter indoors and out. Indoors, Oriental cockroaches prefer dark, moist areas under porches, in sewers, drains, crawl spaces, dark, damp basements, and floor drains. They can be found outdoors in yards beneath leaves, and in bark mulch around shrubs, in dumps, crawl spaces, and in garbage, trash dumps and trash chutes.

Medical/Economic Significance:
The most important aspect of Oriental cockroach damage derives from their habit of feeding and harboring in damp and unsanitary places such as sewers, garbage disposals, kitchens, bathrooms, and indoor storage areas. Pathogens from these sources are then spread to food supplies, food preparation surfaces, dishes, and other surfaces. Disease-producing organisms such as bacteria, protozoa, and viruses have also been found in their bodies.

Different forms of gastroenteritis (food poisoning, dysentery, diarrhea, etc.) appear to be the principal diseases transmitted by Oriental cockroaches. The insects carry these disease-causing organisms on their legs and bodies and deposit the organisms on food and utensils as they forage. Cockroach excrement and cast skins also contain a number of allergens, to which many people exhibit allergic responses such as skin rashes, watery eyes, sneezing, and can also cause asthma.

Reproduction: 
Egg capsules contain 16 eggs. Females will produce an average of eight capsules. Nymphs go through seven molts before becoming adults in about a year. Adults can live up to six months.


Control:
Treatment of your home’s interior-removing food, excess moisture, and possible nesting sites-is the first step in eliminating Oriental roaches. Eliminating harborages involves caulking in closets and cabinets, under the sink, etc., and making similar repairs in the kitchen, bathroom, and storage areas.

Recent research has shown that these cockroaches frequently move into the home along plumbing (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 these cockroaches. Cover any vents, open pipes and other areas with screening as well. Disperse leaf and mulch piles to discourage nesting.

  • Eliminating or minimizing potential harborages outside is the best way to limit infestations of these cockroaches.
  • Sealing cracks in the building's exterior helps prevent these pests from entering.
  • Installing screening in all vents is important.
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