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.


  • Tend to stick close to the ground or lower levels of buildings
  • Usually travel through sewer pipes and drains
  • Can emit a strong odor at times

Oriental Cockroaches in Santa Fe and Albuquerque NM

The oriental cockroach is a larger black, shiny roach that is known for being primarily outdoors. They are commonly referred to as “water bugs” because of their desire to be near damp, dark areas. This species is attracted to wet and shady perimeter areas and prefers the dark and dampness of basements, cellars, and crawl spaces. Oriental cockroaches are known to climb water pipes and garbage chutes to access upper floors of apartment buildings. They feed on all kinds of filth, debris, and other decaying organic matter and seem especially fond of garbage and the contents of discarded tin cans.

Oriental Cockroach Environment

Oriental cockroaches are seasonal roaches that are most commonly seen in the months of May to July. They are very common outdoors and live in warm, 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 they 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 homes in New Mexico, they tend to remain on lower floors and move more slowly than other species. They can also be seen in toilets, tubs, sinks, radiators, and pipes.

Oriental Cockroach Behavior & Threats

Oriental cockroaches rarely bite humans and will actually scatter away to avoid contact. However, that does not make them any less dangerous. 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. Shed roach skin and feces can trigger allergic reactions for certain individuals. Because of the threat of oriental roaches, it’s important to always contact a local cockroach exterminator for help.