Adult Oriental cockroaches are approximately 1” to 1 1/4” in length. They are very dark brown to nearly black and their bodies usually have a somewhat greasy sheen. Females have small, functionless, undeveloped wing pads and broader, heavier bodies. Males have wings that cover only about three-quarters of their abdomen and there is no record or observation of flight to date.
Indoors, Oriental cockroaches prefer dark, moist areas such as under porches, drains, crawl spaces, dark, damp basements, and floor drains. They can be found outdoors in yards, beneath leaves, in bark mulch around shrubs, flowers, or foundations, in dumps or stone walls, and in garbage. Both nymphs and adults are sluggish and are usually situated at or below ground level indoors. They are seldom found on walls, in high cupboards, or in the upper floors of buildings. Oriental cockroaches are generally found outdoors during warm weather, but in periods of drought or when weather changes from summer to fall, there may be considerable migration indoors. At times, large numbers can occur around leaks in the basement or crawl space areas of homes. The most important aspect of cockroach damage derives from their habit of feeding and harboring in damp and unsanitary places such as sewers, garbage disposals, kitchens, bathrooms, and indoor storage areas. Filth from these sources is spread by cockroaches to food supplies, food preparation surfaces, dishes, utensils, and other surfaces. Cockroaches contaminate far more food than they are able to eat. Different forms of gastroenteritis (food poisoning, dysentery, diarrhea, etc.) appear to be the principal diseases transmitted by Oriental cockroaches. The insects carry these disease-causing organisms on their legs and bodies and deposit the organisms on food and utensils as they forage. Cockroach excrement and cast skins also contain several allergens, to which many people exhibit allergic responses such as skin rashes, watery eyes, congestion of nasal passages, asthma, and sneezing.
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