Scientific name: Blatta Orientalis
The Oriental cockroach (also known as the waterbug) is a large species of cockroach. Adult males being 18 to 29 mm and adult females being 20 to 27 mm. It is dark brown to black in colour and has a glossy body. The female has a somewhat different appearance from the male, appearing to be wingless at a casual glance, but has two very short and useless wings just below her head. She has a wider body than the male. The male has long wings, which cover two-thirds of the abdomen and are brown in colour, and has a narrower body. The odd male is capable of very short flights, ranging about 2 to 3 m.
The male has wings that cover the abdomen, while the female has wings that do not cover the abdomen completely. The male appears more slender than the female, the female appears wider.
Oriental cockroaches are omnivorous scavengers. They are attracted particularly to meats, starches, sugars, oily and fatty foods. When there is a shortage of foodstuffs, they may eat household items such as soap, glue, and toothpaste. In famine conditions, they turn cannibalistic, chewing at each other’s wings and legs.
Oriental cockroaches tend to travel somewhat more slowly than other species. They are often called “waterbugs” since they prefer dark, moist places. They can often be found around decaying organic matter, and in sewers, drains, damp basements, porches, and other damp locations. They can be found outside in bushes, under leaf groundcover, under mulch, and around other damp places outdoors sourcing for filth or materials that have begun to decay.
Primarily an outdoors species, Oriental cockroaches are well adapted for surviving in the natural environment. Most outdoor populations can be found living beneath the mulch in landscape beds, in leaf litter, beneath stones or debris outdoors. If access is available, the insects can thrive in the voids or openings beneath porches, in wall voids and crawl spaces. In more metropolitan areas, Oriental cockroaches can be found in large numbers living in storm drains and sewers.
During the warmer months, it is not uncommon to find Oriental cockroaches outside around landscaping beds, congregating beneath moist gutters, or even scurrying out from storm drains, sewer grates or vehicles at night. Mostly active at night, they can be found during the day in areas and rooms that are kept primarily moist, dark and undisturbed.
In areas where large populations of oriental cockroaches are present, a musty odour can be detected. This odour is a result of chemicals that are secreted by the insects that are used to communicate within the population.
Oriental cockroaches have three developmental stages: egg, nymph, and adult.
Egg cases, or ootheca, of the Oriental cockroach, may appear dark brown or reddish in colour and almost 8 to 10 mm in length. Each egg case, which can hold approximately 16 eggs, is dropped by the female into protected areas, almost 30 hours after it is produced.
On average an adult male will live between 110 to 160 days, whereas the adult female can live anywhere from 35 to 180 days. During that time, a single female Oriental cockroach can produce approximately eight egg cases, or ootheca, with approximately 16 eggs per case. Approximately 30 hours after she has produced the egg case, she will drop it in a protected area where it will stay until the young hatch.
The development time for the Oriental cockroach is greatly affected by the season. In the warmer months, the time needed to develop from an egg to an adult may take as few as 200 days. However, when the weather becomes colder, or during the late fall and winter months, it can take as many as 800 days for the cockroaches to go from egg to adult.
Diseases and Risks
Oriental cockroaches can be a source for many food-borne pathogens, including E.coli, Salmonella spp., and other pathogens. Due to their dietary preference for garbage and decaying organic matter, oriental cockroaches can carry these pathogens on their legs and bodies from contaminated areas and then transmit them onto clean surfaces.
Jaya Pest Solutions encourages people to help reduce cockroach populations by removing all leftover food and unnecessary water sources, sealing all cracks and crevices, have a properly covered rubbish bin, regularly cleaning of the drainage and waste disposal areas. To effectively manage a serious cockroach infestation, you must correctly identify the type of cockroach causing the infestation and the ability to diagnose the core problem, which is why it is important to contact a pest control professional.