Oriental Cockroach


Actual Size: 1 ¼”

Characteristics: Shiny; dark reddish-brown to black.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Primarily outdoors in sewers, under porches, and under debris, leaves, and stones. Inside, they inhabit basements and crawl spaces.


  • Often called waterbugs because they are seen in damp, secluded places
  • They prefer to feed on starchy foods and decaying organic matter
  • They are not very abundant outside in our northern climates

Oriental Cockroaches in Virginia

The oriental cockroach is often confused for a black beetle, and is also often called a water bug. They are a major household pest in certain parts of the nation. They are attracted to wet and shady perimeter areas and prefers the dark and dampness of basements, cellars, and crawl spaces.  They feed on all kinds of filth, debris, and other decaying organic matter and seem especially fond of garbage and the contents of discarded tin cans. Both male and female oriental cockroaches can live more than 100 eggs. A single female can produce up to 8 egg cases (ootheca).

Oriental Cockroach Environment

Oriental cockroaches are common outdoors and live in warm, damp shady areas near the ground. Outside homes in Virginia, these cockroaches will gather near or under trash cans. When temperatures drop, they may seek shelter indoors, but can tolerate cooler weather. Oriental cockroaches may enter homes in food packages from grocery stores or gain access under exterior doors, garage doors, through air ducts and ventilators. Inside, they tend to remain on lower floors and move more slowly than other species. The most common areas to find oriental cockroaches in homes are toilets, bathtubs, sinks, radiators and pipes. These cockroaches are seasonal and adults generally appear in the early summer months.

Oriental Cockroach Habits & Dangers

Oriental cockroaches may not cause structural damage, but they do present a serious threat to your health and the health of your family. Cockroaches are known for spreading disease and have been discovered to carry 33 different kinds of bacteria, including E. Coli and Salmonella. Cockroaches contaminate food items and the surfaces in our homes with harmful bacteria as they forage for food. They also pose a major threat to people with allergies or asthma as their shed skins and feces can cause serious reactions in these individuals. For this reason alone, it’s important to always contact a professional cockroach exterminator for help with oriental roaches.