Cockroach Species

There are over 3,000 different species of cockroaches - some are considered pests while others are beneficial in their natural environment.

The three main types of cockroaches commonly found in homes in Australia include the German cockroach, Oriental cockroach and American cockroach.

See below for facts and information on types of cockroaches common in Australia:

Where Cockroach Infestations can be found

Where a cockroach infestation can be found depends greatly on the species of cockroach that has invaded your property. As mentioned above, some cockroach types prefer warm and humid areas, whilst others can tolerate cooler conditions.

  • Check bathrooms - right at the back of bathroom cabinets (especially if they are full of soaps and toiletry products that have been stored for a while) or medicine cabinets. Check plumbing behind sinks, baths and toilets, anywhere they can hide in sheltered dark spaces with access to water even if it's simply condensation. Cockroaches will happily eat soap residue, toilet paper and tissues - even shed skin cells and hair.

  • Check kitchens - look in cupboards and cabinets, pay particular attention to hidden areas with pipework such as under sinks and behind dishwashers. Sometimes cockroaches can be found in the upper inside corner of cupboards, hanging upside down out of sight. Nooks and crannies of appliances with motors, offering warmth and hidden crevices like backs of cookers, fridges and freezers are another area to check carefully. Even smaller kitchen appliances like microwaves, coffee makers, toasters and blenders could harbour cockroaches.

  • Check laundry rooms - cupboards under sinks, where plumbing enters through walls or floors leading to washing machines and tumble dryers. Also check warm areas near the motors at the back of washers and dryers.

  • Check basements - search along the base and corner joints of walls in cellars for any gaps cockroaches could squeeze through. Cracks in wood baseboards or floor cavities are opportune areas for them to hide. Cockroaches will hide in and eat cardboard and newspapers, so check boxes and piles of paper stored for long periods of time.

  • Check drains - some species like Oriental cockroaches can survive in drier, cooler areas. Look around down pipes for cracks and crevices they might hide in, as well as damaged drain covers they could scuttle through. Other areas to check are pipe ducts and any opening beneath porches or decking. Undisturbed areas of garages and outbuildings may also offer shelter to Oriental cockroaches. They are also known to survive in rubbish tips.

Need to remove a cockroach infestation?

If you suspect a cockroach infestation in your property, you should arrange for professional treatments to get rid of cockroaches quickly. Call us today on 1300 307 810 or contact us online.

German Cockroach

(Blatella germanica)
German Cockroach

Appearance

Notorious for their world-wide distribution, German cockroaches are easily identifiable by 2 dark longitudinal stripes on their pronotum. Adults grow to approximately 12 – 15mm in length.

Lifecycle

  • Females carry 35 – 40 eggs in an ootheca (egg case) until they are ready to hatch.
  • Hatch in 1 month.
  • Nymphs take between 6 weeks to 6 months to develop into adults.
  • Generally 3-4 generations per year.

Habits

  • Most commonly found indoors.
  • Prefers wet, humid conditions and are typically found in kitchens and bathrooms in homes and commercial properties.

Oriental Cockroach

(Blatta orientalis)

Oriental cockroach

Appearance

  • Dark brown or black in colour.
  • 20 -25mm long.
  • The wings undeveloped in female and cover ¾ length of the abdomen in the male.

Lifecycle

  • Females deposit 16 eggs in an ootheca (egg case).
  • Hatch in 2 months.
  • Nymphs take 6-18 months to develop into adults.

Habits

  • Highly adapted for surviving in the natural environment, Oriental cockroaches thrive in cool, damp areas such as basements, drains and openings beneath porches.
  • Known for their preference for feeding on garbage and decay, these insects can most commonly be found in rubbish tips and leaf litters.
  • Runs rather than flies.

American Cockroach

(Periplaneta americana)

The American cockroach is one of the largest pest cockroaches to invade homes and commercial properties.

American cockroach

Appearance

  • 35 - 40mm long.
  • Shining red–brown in color.
  • Wings longer than the body in male; only just overlap abdomen in female.
  • Runs (may fly at very high temperatures).

Lifecycle

  • The ootheca (egg case) containing up to 16 eggs is carried by the female for several days before being deposited. Sometimes cemented down and tend to be grouped.
  • Hatch in 1 – 2 months.
  • Nymphs usually develop in 6 -12 months, but it can take up to 15 months.

Habits

Also known as the ‘Palmetto bug’ because they live on trees, the American cockroach prefers dark, humid and undisturbed areas and can be found in subfloors, basements, kitchens, roof voids and bathrooms of homes.

Brown Banded Cockroach

(Supella longipalpa)

Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org

Appearance

One of the smallest pest cockroaches, brown banded adult cockroaches are approximately 10 – 15mm in length and characterised by yellow-brown stripes across their abdomen.

Habits

Brown banded cockroaches mostly stay on ground, but may fly in very warm climates. Their preference for warm, humid environments leads them to harbourages within heated buildings - ceilings, attics, inside and around appliance motors. Primarily active at night, these opportunistic feeders particularly enjoy materials with high starch contents.

Australian Cockroach

(Periplaneta australasiae)

Lifecycle

  • Females deposit the ootheca (egg case) containing 24 eggs a day after production.
  • After hatching nymphs take 6-12 months to develop into adults.

Habits

  • Enter buildings at night from gardens/debris.
  • Generally prevalent in areas where winters are relatively mild.
  • Despite its name, it isn’t a native species.

Smoky Brown Cockroach

(Periplaneta fuliginosa)

Appearance

  • 3-35 mm mm long.
  • Shining dark brown in colour.
  • Wings longer than the body in male; only just overlap abdomen in female.
  • Runs (may fly at very high temperatures).

Lifecycle

  • Females deposit the ootheca (egg case) containing 22-26 eggs a day after production.
  • Nymphs take between 6-12 months to develop into adults.
  • The noticeable difference between nymphs and adults, apart from size, is the lack of wings in the young.

Habits

  • Lives in tree hollows, under bark, under floors, and enters buildings at night.
  • Nocturnal (hides during the day in cracks and crevices or any other dark warm places).
  • Has a habit of entering houses and contaminating food with excrement, regurgitated salivary fluid and potentially harmful bacteria.