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Oriental Cockroach a.k.a Waterbug (PESTs or NOT?)

The Oriental cockroach is also commonly referred to as a waterbug due to its presence near water bodies.

An image of oriental cockroach
Alternate NameWaterbug, Palmetto Bug, Black Beetle Cockroach
Legs6 Legs
AntennaeYes – Long
SizeAdult Roaches are around 1 Inch Long
LifeUp-to 1 Year
Scientific NameBlatta orientalis
Habitat– Indoor: Prefer a moist, humid, and dark environment, particularly around pipes and drains.
– Outdoor: Near water bodies, moist, humid environment areas such as tree holes and under mulch or similar landscape materials
Suitable Temperature– Active in Summer, favor 70-80 Fahrenheit
 Die below 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
FlyingNot capable of flying. Males have wings.
AppearanceColor: Shiny Black
Identity Mark: Shape is quite similar to black ground beetles.
Mode of entryDrain pipes, laundry vents, foundation cracks glide through from trees & branches.
ReproductionFemales produce 12-18 oothecae, containing 16-20 eggs each.
GeographyNorthern Regions of United States
OriginOrigin: Africa and South Russian
Oriental Cockroach Summary

Tired of cockroaches? Invest in only these products and follow the guide to eliminate roaches!

Use these products, and you will be roach free in less than a week.

1. Advion Cockroach Gel Bait (Review)
2. Gentrol IGR Point Source (Review)

Other Products to try:

1. Combat Roach Traps (Easy than gel baits)
2. Hot Shot Foggers (To kill in masses – 95%)
3. Pet Safe Killers (Uses Essential Oils)
4. Ortho Defence Outdoor Roach Killer (Prevent Roaches)

Origin of Oriental Cockroach

The exact origin of the oriental cockroaches is unknown; however, many scientists and entomologists believe that they originated from Africa. Oriental cockroaches are among the larger species of cockroaches after German and American Cockroaches.

Alternate Name

Oriental cockroaches are sometimes referred to as “Waterbugs” as they are typically found near wet, damp areas with a lot of moisture. So its sometimes also referred to as waterbug roach.

They are also referred to as ‘Black Bettle Cockroaches’ due to their dark color and smooth surface.

Entry Points in Homes

Oriental Cockroaches can get into your home the same way an American Cockroach will enter.

They can enter via gaps under your door or drain and sewer pipes. They can also enter through gaps in sealing via gaps in the attic.


Oriental cockroaches are an outdoor species and are sometimes referred to as a palmetto bug. You will mainly find them inside or near sewer systems.

They are also found under debris, dry leaves, stones, woodpiles, etc. Oriental cockroaches are also known to live in tight gaps and openings under purchase. Even though the natural habitat of oriental cockroaches is outdoors, they can infest homes, especially in warmer temperatures.

Inside your home, oriental cockroaches can hide in damp and cool locations, like under sinks, near leaky pipes, service decks, or behind electrical appliances.

What do Oriental Cockroaches Eat?

Just like many other species of roaches, oriental cockroaches will eat anything, including decaying organic matter, garbage, or starchy food. Fundamentally they are decomposers of nature.

Oriental cockroaches are highly dependent on water and cannot survive more than a week without drinking. However, they can survive for a month without eating. Oriental cockroaches are also cannibalistic, meaning they will eat another dead roach.

Oriental Cockroach Bite

Oriental cockroaches are an outdoor species of roaches commonly not known to bite. However, cockroaches can bite in extreme conditions when the infestation is very high, and they may bite while crawling on you while you sleep.

An oriental cockroach will bite for the sake of consumption of whatever it is biting. Biting is not defense mercantilism or instinct found in oriental cockroaches. Learn more about Do Cockroaches Bite here.

What Do Oriental Cockroaches Look Like? 

The color of Oriental cockroaches varies from dark reddish-brown to shinny black as they age into adulthood.

An adult male oriental cockroach is quite different than a female adult roach.

The males are slightly small in size and develop wings three-quarter-body-length. As a result, some part of their bodies is exposed. Below are pictures of waterbugs for easy identification.

An image showing 4 Oriental Male Cockroaches

The Female oriental cockroaches can grow a little longer than males and have no wings. However, they have large wing pods covering a small segment of their bodies. Both males and females can’t fly.

An image showing four oriental female cockroaches

Baby Oriental Cockroach

Baby oriental cockroaches look like adult roaches, except they are pretty small in size. The color of baby oriental roaches is why when they are nearly born and turn into dark reddish black as they grow.

Oriental Cockroach Egg, Baby, Male and Female

Oriental roach nymphs will molt around 6 to 8 times before reaching adulthood. Every time the cockroach will molt, it will be in white, also known as albino roach or white cockroach.

Below are a few images of baby oriental cockroaches for better understanding and identification while you hunt for them.

Signs of an Oriental Cockroach Infestation 

Any cockroach infestation can be confirmed with a few clear signs. I have written a complete article on the top 9 Signs of a Cockroach Infestation. I will summarize them with respect to Oriental Cockroaches.

1. Encountering the roaches

A real sign of a cockroach infestation is simply sighting them. Oriental cockroaches are generally seen around gutters and drains, near garden landscapes, and coming in and out of hiding spots at night time. However, they will keep hiding during the day most of the time.

However, you should not be worried if you find one oriental cockroach in your house. It may have entered your house mistakenly via your door or window or may be brought in with firewood.

2. Finding Oriental Cocokroach Eggs

Spotting cockroach eggs is another definite sign of cockroach infestation. An oriental cockroach egg case is around 8-10 mm in size. The color of the waterbug egg capsule is dark down or reddish. Each egg case contains around 16 individual cockroach baby nymphs.

An oriental cockroach egg case is usually attached to a substrate.

3. Unique Musty Smell

Like all other cockroaches, oriental cockroaches also secrete special pheromones with a misty oily smell. The smell is quite notorious for alerting a homeowner. So look for any smell change around your house or kitchen.

4. Orinetal Cockroch Droppings

Another sign of oriental cockroach infestation is finding cockroach droppings, feces, shredded wings, and body parts. Oriental cockroaches molt multiple times when they grow from baby roaches to adult roaches. In this period, Oriental cockroaches will shed their skin multiple times.

Besides body parts, oriental cockroaches’ feces are identical to grounded pepper and relatively small in size. Learn more about roach dropping here.

Oriental Cockroach Prevention

Preventing oriental cockroaches will require a few basic steps, and these steps equally apply to all cockroach species. Follow these steps to prevent oriental cockroaches in your home or around it.

1. Cleaning

The best advice on controlling oriental cockroaches is good sanitation and cleaning. Frequently vacuum your home and keep your kitchen tidy end clean. Make sure to not leave any leftover food on the tables, kitchen top, or around pets. Regularly empty your trash cans.

2. Sealing All Entry Points

All cockroaches, including oriental ones, will always come inside your home from somewhere else. These roaches do not infest homes from nowhere. Either you bring them in or they enter into your home via small gaps, windows, door, utility lines, crack in walls, or near ceilings.

So it is essential to close all these gaps using a foam sealant. I highly recommend this Loctite Foam Sealant from amazon.

3. Remove Water Source

An Oriental roach is also known as a Waterbug for a reason. These cockroaches cannot survive without water for long and are highly dependent on the water source to thrive and grow into an infestation.

Therefore make sure to fix all sources of standing water like broken pipes, leaky taps, etc. Make sure no water is diverted to the foundation of your home. All gutters, splash blocks, and downspouts are properly maintained.

Cockroach vs Waterbug

Generally speaking, the oriental cockroach is often referred to as a waterbug as explained above. In that case, there is no difference between a roach vs. waterbug.

However, a water bug with space between water and bug is a different insect quite different from cockroaches. This insect is also known as the giant water or fish killer. Here is a complete article on 15 Differences: Water Bug vs Cockroach.

How to Get Rid of Oriental Cockroaches

Getting rid of oriental cockroaches is almost the same as getting rid of any type of roaches. So let’s discuss all these steps in detail.

Follow these three simple steps to get rid of oriental cockroaches from your home.

Step 1: Use a bait

The first step is to use bait to get rid of water bugs inside your home. Baits are better than sprays as baits will kill the entire colony.

You can get your hand on many baits, but these are my favorite ones. Use each of them according to instructions on the pack. These are the best roach and waterbug killers.

Bengal Roach Killer is a dry spray bait, very easy to apply and use. (How to use guide)
– Advion Cockroach Gel Bait is the most effective gel you can buy.
– Hot Shot Liquid Cockroach Trapper and Killer is the best trap you can get for cockroaches.
– Combat Max 12 Month Roach Killing Bait is the best bait out on the market.

Step 2: Close all openings

The next step is closing all openings into your home; else, it will be impossible to stop an infestation. Use Loctite Foam Sealent (Amazon Link) to close gaps and openings like a pro.

Step 3: Use an IGR

Using an IGR is the last step to ensure the roach nymphs don’t grow into adults. An IGR alters the internal hormones of roaches to molt. This way, the roaches can not become adults and reproduce. Gentrol Growth Regulator (Amazon Link) is the only and the best IGR device for roaches.

It’s very easy to use. Just purge one of them and place it in a hidden place inside your bathroom.