Oriental Cockroaches


Actual Size: 1 ¼”

Characteristics: Shiny; dark reddish-brown to black.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes, but cannot fly.

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


  • Usually, travels through sewer pipes and drains.
  • Tend to be found on the lower floors of homes and buildings.
  • Has a strong odor and is considered one of the “dirtiest” cockroaches.

Oriental Cockroach Identification

Oriental Cockroaches in North Carolina

The oriental cockroach is often referred to as the “black beetle” or “water bug” and is a major household pest in parts of the northwest, mid-west, and the southern United States. This species is attracted to wet and shady perimeter areas and prefers the dark and dampness of basements, cellars, and crawl spaces. Oriental cockroaches are known to climb water pipes and garbage chutes to access the upper floors of apartment buildings. 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.

Oriental Cockroach Habitat

Oriental cockroaches are common outdoors and live in warm, damp shady areas near the ground. Outside the house, 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, 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 from May through July.

What Causes Oriental Cockroaches in the House?

Oriental cockroaches enter homes primarily in search of food and moisture. They are attracted to damp areas around leaky pipes, areas with standing water or poor drainage and areas where there is accumulated debris e.g. piles of leaves or garbage near properties. 

Oriental Cockroach Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Oriental cockroaches are not a structural pest in that they do not damage homes, but they do present a serious threat to your health and the health of your family.

Are Oriental roaches harmful?

Yes, Oriental cockroaches can pose several health risks as they are disease carriers. Oriental 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. These roaches can also contaminate food and surfaces with their droppings, creating unsanitary conditions.

If you are dealing with an oriental cockroach infestation, it’s important to contact your local cockroach exterminator for help.

What is the difference between an Oriental cockroach and a regular cockroach?

Oriental cockroaches differ from other common cockroach species in several ways:

  • Appearance: They are dark brown to black and have a shiny, smooth exoskeleton, unlike the reddish-brown American cockroach or the tan German cockroach.
  • Size: Oriental cockroaches are typically larger than German cockroaches but smaller than American cockroaches, averaging about 1 inch in length.
  • Habitat Preferences: Oriental cockroaches favor cooler, damp environments, whereas American and German cockroaches often thrive in warmer, drier areas.
  • Climbing Ability: Oriental roaches are less adept climbers due to their smoother legs, limiting their ability to scale walls and ceilings.


How do I get rid of Oriental roaches?

It’s important to eliminate moisture sources by fixing leaky pipes, improving drainage, and reducing humidity in crawl spaces and basements. Seal potential entry points by closing gaps under doors, repair cracks in foundations, and ensure windows are properly sealed. Remove and reduce attractive food sources by keeping your kitchen areas clean, storing food safely away in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.

The most effective way though to get rid of Oriental roaches is by contacting a professional pest control team. Our cockroach experts at Bug Out offer thorough inspections, effective treatment and long term strategies to keep cockroaches away for good.