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Cockroaches: Blattodea

Oriental Cockroach (blatta Orientalis): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: This shiny blackish brown species measures 0.7 to 0.94 inches (18 to 23.9 millimeters) in length. The forewings of the male are short, covering only about two-thirds of the abdomen. The female's forewings form small pads that barely cover the rear of the thorax, or midsection. There are no hind wings.

Geographic range: This species is found in port cities around the world. It also is found throughout the United States, England, northern Europe, Israel, southern Australia, and southern South America.

Habitat: In buildings, oriental cockroaches are usually found on the ground floor or in the basement, but small numbers may be found up to the fifth floor. They prefer basements and cellars, service ducts, crawl spaces, and toilets and areas behind baths, sinks, radiators, ovens, and hot-water pipes. Large numbers can be seen around storm drains and other sources of water. In warmer parts of the United The Oriental cockroach is a household pest. It often comes up through drains, only to become trapped in sinks and tubs. (Adrian Davies/Bruce Coleman Inc. Reproduced by permission.) States, they often are seen outdoors around homes. During warm summer nights they commonly walk on sidewalks, in alleys, and along walls. They live in hollow trees and in garbage and trash dumps.

Diet: The oriental cockroach eats almost anything that is plant or animal in origin.

Behavior and reproduction: The life cycle of this species is seasonal. Although adults in some areas are seen throughout the year, they usually appear in May and June. They are very tolerant of cold conditions and are known to breed outdoors in England and southern Russia.

At temperatures between 86 and 97°F (30 and 36°C), mated females produce their first egg capsule twelve days after they reach maturity. Females produce two or three capsules in a lifetime. Each capsule contains, on average, sixteen eggs, which take forty-four days to hatch. The larvae molt eight to ten times before reaching adulthood. Raised in captivity, males require 146 days to reach maturity, while females take 165 days.

Oriental cockroaches and people: This species is considered a household pest. It often comes up through drains, and becomes trapped in sinks and tubs.

Conservation status: This species is not endangered or threatened. ∎

Additional topics

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