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.


  • Tend to be found on the lower floors of homes and buildings
  • Has a strong odor and is considered one of the “dirtiest” cockroaches
  • Moves much slower than other roaches

Oriental Cockroaches in the North and East Bay of California

The oriental cockroach is often referred to as the “black beetle” or “water bug” and is a major household pest throughout the states. Here in the North Bay and East Bay area, residents commonly see these roaches both inside and outside their properties. 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. They have shiny, black bodies and move quite a bit slower than other types of roaches. They are also more seasonal roaches, meaning adults are typically seen in the months of May through July.

Oriental Cockroach Habitat

Oriental cockroaches are common outdoors and live in warm, damp shady areas near the ground. When they are outdoors, these cockroaches will gather near or under trash cans. When temperatures drop, they may seek shelter indoors, but they can also 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.

Oriental Cockroach Behavior, Threats or Dangers

Oriental cockroaches are not likely to bite people and will typically scatter when seen. They also are not a structural pest in that they do not damage homes. The main danger is that 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.

Because oriental cockroaches can pose a health risk, it’s important to always contact a professional cockroach exterminator.