Several cockroach species are common household pests throughout Louisiana, including American, German, Oriental, Australian, Turkestan, Surinam, smokybrown, and brown-banded cockroaches. Many experts state that the Oriental cockroach is more capable of thriving indoors in the southern states than any other cockroach species found in the region. This may be due to the Oriental cockroaches’ ability to thrive in dry and cool indoor areas as well as moist and hot indoor areas. Historically, Oriental cockroach infestations were largely limited to basements, crawl spaces, cellars, and high-moisture areas on the ground floor of homes. However, this roach has been changing its habits in recent years, as they are now being found throughout homes, including the uppermost floors and attics. The Oriental cockroach is also the roach pest that is most frequently associated with “cockroach odors,” which are usually musty smelling and unpleasant.
Oriental cockroaches are dark brown to black and relatively large, as male and female adults are between 1 and 1 ¼ inches in length. Males and females cannot fly, and males have short wings that cover ¾ of their body, while female wings are nearly non-existent. Oriental cockroaches can typically be readily identified by their slow and sluggish movements, and they are abundant on residential lawns, making it common for one or a few specimens to wander indoors in search of food. Because of this, finding a small number of Oriental cockroaches indoors does not mean that an infestation has been established. Unlike domestic cockroach species that dwell primarily indoors, Oriental cockroaches generally prefer outdoor habitats, but they often invade homes through crawl space openings and along pipelines when outdoor conditions become unfavorable.
Pest control professionals sometimes apply an insecticide barrier around the perimeter of homes to prevent Oriental cockroach invasions. In many infestation cases, insecticide is usually applied to exterior foundation walls, especially around pillars, pipes, porches, and supports where the most common entry points are located. Several low-toxic control methods are also useful for controlling Oriental cockroaches, such as gel baits and bait stations containing boric acid and fipronil. Insecticide dusts like diatomaceous earth (DE) and silica aerogel are often used to kill Oriental cockroaches within wall voids, and DE is virtually non-toxic. Keeping outdoor vegetation well groomed, and keeping all plants and mulch a foot or more away from exterior foundation walls will make properties less attractive to Oriental cockroaches. Of course, sealing cracks, crevices and other potential entry points on exterior walls will prevent pests of all sorts from accessing interior living spaces.
Have you ever smelled a cockroach odor?