Oriental Cockroach


Actual Size: 1 ¼”

Characteristics: Shiny bodies that are reddish brown or black in color.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes, but cannot fly.

Habitat: Though they primarily live outdoors in sewers or other damp spaces, they may also invade basements or crawl spaces.


  • Typically travels through drains or sewer pipes.
  • Most frequently found on lower floors of homes or buildings.
  • Considered one of the “dirtiest” cockroach species.

Oriental Cockroaches in Memphis TN Metro Area

The oriental cockroach, also known as the “black beetle” or “water bug,” is a significant nuisance in certain regions of the northwest, mid-west, and southern United States. It is drawn to damp and shaded spaces around the edges of buildings and favors dark and moist environments like basements, cellars, and crawl spaces. Oriental cockroaches have the ability to climb water pipes and garbage chutes, allowing them to reach the upper floors of apartment buildings. They feed on various types of dirt, waste, and decaying organic material, showing a particular fondness for garbage and the contents of discarded tin cans.

Oriental Cockroach Habitat

Oriental cockroaches can often be found outside in warm, damp, shady areas close to the ground. They tend to gather near or under trash cans when they are outdoors. In colder temperatures, they may try to find shelter indoors, although they can tolerate cooler weather. Oriental cockroaches might enter homes through food packages bought from grocery stores or find their way in through exterior doors, garage doors, air ducts, and ventilators. When inside, they usually stay on lower floors and move at a slower pace compared to other types of cockroaches. Common places to spot oriental cockroaches within homes include toilets, bathtubs, sinks, radiators, and pipes. These cockroaches have a specific season, with adults typically appearing between May and July.

Oriental Cockroach Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

While Oriental cockroaches don’t harm homes directly, they do pose a significant health risk to you and your family. These cockroaches are notorious for spreading diseases and have been found to carry 33 various types of bacteria, such as E. Coli and Salmonella. As they search for food, cockroaches contaminate food items and surfaces in our homes with harmful bacteria. Additionally, they can be particularly hazardous to individuals with allergies or asthma, as their shed skins and feces can trigger severe reactions in these individuals.

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