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.


  • Present in both commercial facilities and some residential homes
  • They prefer to feed on starchy foods and decaying organic matter
  • Travel through sewer pipes and drains

Oriental Cockroaches in Eastern Tennessee

The oriental cockroach is often referred to as a water bug or confused for a black beetle. They are a major household pest in areas of the United States, including here in Tennessee. Although they can venture indoors, they prefer to stay outside. They can be seen in wet, shady areas. Indoors, they are attracted to dark and damp basements, cellars, or crawl spaces. The oriental cockroach is known to climb water pipes and garbage chutes to access upper floors in buildings. They will feed on a variety of filth and debris. Oriental roaches favor decaying organic matter and are most attracted to garbage found in bins.

Oriental Cockroach Habitat

These roaches prefer 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, 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 from May through July.

Oriental Cockroach Behavior & Dangers

Oriental cockroaches do not pose a huge threat compared to some pests. They rarely bite and do not cause structural damage. That said, 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, it’s always important to contact a local cockroach control company for assistance controlling infestations.