Flying Asian Cockroach Overview and Control

Flying Asian Cockroach Overview and Control

Joseph Connors / Getty Images

Cockroaches are one of the most common of all insects and have been for more than 300 million years, as evidenced by fossil remains. All cockroaches are nocturnal, making it easy for populations to build to huge numbers before their presence is realized.

Of the approximately 50 cockroach species that occur in the U.S., the German and American cockroaches are two of the most common species that infest homes, restaurants, hotels, and other establishments. Other common cockroaches include the Brown Banded and Oriental, and the recently introduced Asian cockroach.

First found in the U.S. in 1986 in the Lakeland, Florida, area, the Asian cockroach has become a significant pest in the areas it infests, primarily the southeastern states. Similar in looks and size to the German cockroach, the Asian cockroaches’ greatest difference and greatest problem for people are that, unlike most other cockroaches, the Asian cockroach can fly.

Its appearance is so similar to the German cockroach that some experts believe it is a strain of that species that developed outdoors in Asia. One of the main differences is that the Asian cockroach’s wings are longer and narrower—a physical aspect that most likely enables its flight.


  • Scientific Name: Blattella asahinai
  • Length: about 5/8 inch long
  • Color: Light brown—generally a bit lighter than the German cockroach.
  • Unique characteristics: Asian cockroaches prefer to be outdoors and have the ability to fly.
  • Feeds on: honeydew, flowers and other plant matter, seeds.
  • Found in: single-family, suburban houses and yards, primarily in the grass, mulch, and shaded areas of fallen leaves or other ground covers. They will sometimes infest litter boxes. It is abundant outdoors.
  • Habits and Behavior: Although this cockroach lives primarily outdoors because it is such a strong flier, it also readily enters homes through open doors, windows, and other entry points. They are most active at dusk but will be seen flying during the day.
  • Breeding: an egg capsule carries about 40 eggs, and nymphs mature to adult in less than two months.
  • Fun Facts: Populations as high as 30,000 to 250,000 Asian cockroaches per acre have been found in some areas!


In general, cockroaches can be controlled through a combination of sanitation, traps, baits, and chemicals. However, because every cockroach species varies, so too will its control.

Control of the Asian cockroach can be particularly difficult because of its ability to fly. However because it tends to be drawn to light and active during the day, particularly at dusk—often resting or walking on lit TVs, its presence in the home is much more evident than other cockroaches that harbor in walls and crevices during the day and come out only at night.

A fact sheet from the University of Florida notes that «traditional treatments using residual sprays inside and around the perimeter of a structure are ineffective due to numerous infestations in mulched and wooded areas. Plus, adults enter homes through windows and doorways, avoiding areas typically treated for control of German cockroaches.

«Sodium vapor lamps for security lighting and yellow incandescent bulbs for porch lighting are both less attractive to adults and would thereby reduce the attraction of adult insects to lighting near buildings. Although Asian cockroaches are susceptible to all pesticides, toxic pelletized baits scattered outdoors have provided the most reliable control.»

All About Cockroaches

Cockroaches win the prize for most repulsive household pest. In some areas of the US, like in Texas and Florida, cockroaches (also known as roaches) are a way of life, frequently making their un-bashful way into homes. There are many ways to prevent cockroaches, although in cockroach-prone climates (such as in damper climates), preventing roaches does not always work to keep them out all of the time.

Here is a little roach information for you to help understand just who exactly these disgusting creatures are. I refer to cockroaches as disgusting because they carry disease and could potentially make us sick. Roaches can contaminate food and transmit many diseases such as staph, strep, salmonella and more. Since they eat pet and human feces, it’s no wonder they are carriers of such bad germs.

Interesting Cockroach Facts

  • A roach can live a week without its head! It will only die once it has no mouth because it can no longer drink.
  • Roaches can run up to 3 miles per hour. No wonder they are so hard to catch!
  • Young cockroaches need only a crack as thin as a dime (about .5 mm wide) to crawl into. Adult males can squeeze into a space of 1.6 mm., or the thickness of a quarter.
  • There are 4,000 species of roaches
  • Cockroaches are nocturnal and will usually run away when exposed to light. This translates into: Wear your slippers when getting out of bed at night!
  • American cockroaches have been known to live up to 3 months without food or water.
  • Cockroaches can survive in freezing temperatures.
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The Four Types of Common Roaches

1. The German Roach — One of the smallest and most common roaches around the world.

2. American Cockroaches — The largest sized household roach. They are light brown with yellowish wings and can glide, but not fly.

3. Oriental Cockroach — These are dark, reddish brown and shiny and typically live in sewers or other places where there is a large amount of decaying matter. They are sometimes called «water bugs» because they come out of drains, and «black beetle cockroaches» because of their smooth, dark bodies. Males are about 1 inch long, with wings that cover only about 3/4 of their abdomen; females are about 1 1/4 inch long, and have only short stubs of wing pads. (Source: National Pest Management Association)

4. Brown-banded Roaches — Brown-banded cockroaches get their name from the two lighter bands they have across their dark brown bodies. Male brown-banded roaches have wings.

Remember: Killing the roaches you see will not get rid of a cockroach infestation. For that you will need to hire a professional exterminator.

In your yard: cockroaches

An old quote of unknown origin that dates back to the mid-1990s goes: “After a nuclear war, the only living things left will be cockroaches and Cher.” Well, we can’t say what the famous singer’s fate will be, but that may not be much of a stretch regarding cockroaches—they can withstand doses of radiation that would be lethal to humans. And, fossil evidence shows they’ve already been around for 320 million years, since the Carboniferous Period.

There’s more: Cockroaches can hold their breath for up to 45 minutes, deliberately slow their heart rate, go without food for a month, and live without their head for a week. They run at close to three miles-per-hour (5 km/h) and have such fast reflexes they can turn completely around in 1/25th (0.04) of a second.

And, get this: Scientists discovered that some species have surprisingly human traits: They’re very social. They recognize members of their own family, and many generations live together. They have egalitarian social structures based on rules and can make group decisions. Also, like some humans, their health fails if they have to live alone.

Beneficial? Indeed!

Okay, so it’s established that cockroaches are survivors, and probably smarter than a grub, but what does that matter, what good are they? Well, like all other creatures on earth, they’re important in their own way: They’re a food source for birds, frogs, lizards, snakes, and mammals (including humans in some locales). And, they’re essential recyclers of decomposing plants and animals—what goes in their mouths comes out as enrichment for the soil. Those that invade human structures are pests, to be sure, but others—which includes all but four species—are beneficial.

Still, cockroaches are viewed as filthy, especially if they find their way into a kitchen. To be sure, no one wants them there, but lovers of cockroaches (yes, they do exist!) beg to differ regarding their hygiene. They claim that cockroaches’ bad rap is unfair, that, in reality, they routinely groom themselves to stay clean. The problem, it seems, is they aren’t picky about their food and will nibble on everything they come across, from tiny bits of spoiled meat to moldy crumbs. Consequently, when contaminated food goes in, contaminated feces come out. Some experts insist that only an unsanitary kitchen produces an unsanitary cockroach.

9© gan chaonan / Shutterstock)

Their appearance in a house often has nothing to do with its cleanliness; they’ve just inadvertently hitched a ride in boxes, firewood, furniture, and sometimes grocery bags. Or, they wandered in through loose-fitting doors and windows during weather extremes.

Once in, loathe to leave

Once they’re in, they find myriad reasons to stay: Furniture or appliances to hide under, or even sliver-sized spaces in baseboards, cabinets, and floors are enough to provide safety. Humidity, which most species like, is to be found in or under sinks. Food is readily available—a tiny breadcrumb on the floor can be an entire meal for a cockroach.

Some background

Cockroaches belong to the order Blattodea (blah-TOAD-ee-uh), along with termites. “Cockroach” is taken from the Spanish word, Cucaracha (koo-kuh-RAH-chuh), meaning chafer beetle.

Cockroaches are found everywhere in the world, except the Polar Regions, although they’re mainly tropical. There are around 4,000 species, and only four make pests of themselves. Nocturnal insects, they spend the daylight hours hiding in cracks and crevices or under yard debris. When they appear at night, we usually get just a glimpse as they scurry away with the flip of a light switch. They don’t need a light to alert them, though—research in Finland has shown they can see in near-total darkness.

About 57 species, ranging in size from about 0.5 to 2.0 inches (1.2–5.1 cm), inhabit North America. The most common are the German (Blattella germanica) , American (Periplaneta americana) , Brown-banded ( Supella longipalpa) , and Oriental (Blatta orientalis) .

Physical characteristics

Cockroaches have three body sections: head, thorax, and abdomen. They have a flattened, long-oval body that looks pretty much like the oldest discovered cockroach fossils. The body is covered by a hard skeleton (exoskeleton), and they’re reddish-brown, sometimes black. They have three pairs of legs with claws, and usually two pairs of wings.

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The head

The head, small, oval, flattened, and downward bent is often hidden from view when the insect is observed from above, which is how most of us see them. A flexible neck allows the head to move in all directions. The cockroach has a brain with 1,000,000 tightly packed brain cells, two large, apostrophe-shaped, compound eyes, chewing mouthparts, and two antennae. A plate behind the head, called the pronotum, has markings that help to distinguish species from one another.

German Cockroach, Blattella germanica, the most common in the United States. (© Protasov AN / Shutterstock)

The compound eyes are composed of 2,000 individual lenses, called ommatidium, each of which sees its own tiny portion of an entire picture, which the brain then interprets. The antennae are long, thready-looking, used for detection of food, and as feelers —when a cockroach walks alongside a wall, for instance, it will keep an antenna in contact with it.

American Cockroach, Periplaneta americana, the largest species in the US. (Insects Unlocked Project, Univ. of Texas / Flickr; PD)

The thorax is the middle section. Attached are the legs and wings (for cockroaches that have them). The legs have spines and are strong, the back ones especially so—they can propel cockroaches up to 50 body lengths per second. Sharp claws on their feet can cling to the tiniest imperfection in a surface and enable them to scale walls and cross ceilings.

Not all cockroaches fly. Those that do so fly fairly well, though only for short distances. Most use their wings for gliding. Usually, males have wings, but most don’t use them or use them only for gliding. Females often lack wings or have only vestigial ones, which are small and undeveloped.


The abdomen is the largest part of the cockroach’s body, and it holds internal organs associated with circulation, digestion, respiration, reproduction, and elimination of body waste.

The heart is long and tube-shaped. Unlike that of a human, the blood is clear because it doesn’t contain iron to give it a red color. Called hemolymph, it doesn’t carry oxygen; its job is to transport nutrients throughout the body.

Cockroaches breathe in and out through ten pairs of slit-like openings, controlled by valves, located along both sides of their body—eight pairs along the abdomen and two pairs in the thorax. They’re called spiracles, and each attaches to a trachea that networks through the body.

They have a simple digestive system that’s modified with a crop and proventriculus to hold and pulverize the tough cellulose and other materials cockroaches include in their diet. Two conspicuous appendages at the end of the abdomen, called cerci, function as sensory organs for detecting air movement; they alert the cockroach to approaching danger.

Life cycle

Cockroaches go through incomplete metamorphosis, called hemimetabolism. They progress from eggs to nymphs (developing young) to fully grown adults.

The breeding season runs from March to September. A female mates only once and will hold enough sperm to produce 15 to 40 ootheca in her lifetime. There are a few exceptions, but here’s what generally follows mating:

An egg case called an ootheca (oath-EE-kuh) forms around fertilized eggs within the female’s body. The ootheca holds 12 to 25 eggs and is made up of proteins that become hardened to protect the contents. This takes about a day. The female carries the ootheca around for several days, with it sticking out at the end of her body. After that, she drops it in a dark crevice or buries it in debris or soil. Some species, like the American Cockroach, carry an ootheca until the eggs are just about ready to hatch. 1

Here’s a curious fact: Some small colonies of American Cockroaches are parthenogenetic: They’re females who give birth only to females that give birth only to females, and so on. No males exist.

Cockroach egg case (ootheca). (Jean and Fred / Flickr; cc by 2.0)

The eggs hatch in six to eight weeks. The young, called nymphs, look like tiny, wingless versions of their parents. They’re paler at first, but darken as they develop. They’ll shed (molt) their exoskeleton, which is not expandable, from 10 to 13 times as they grow, depending on the species. At the time of their final molt, they’re fully developed. It can take up to a year or more, depending on the species, to reach adulthood. A full lifespan is up to three years.

Differences between male and female

Here are some of the more obvious differences between a male and a female.

  • Male’s body is usually smaller and has a slender abdomen
  • Male’s wings extend beyond the end of his body
  • The end of the male’s abdomen is pointed, and a female’s is blunt
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Dubia Roaches, blaptica dubia. Male at left, female at right. (© Holger Kirk / Shutterstock)


Most cockroaches like it dark, damp, and warm. They’re nocturnal animals and hide in groups during the day under mulch, bark, rotting logs, stones, or in storm drains, basements, and buildings. They especially like kitchens, grocery stores, bakeries, and the like.

Food sources

Cockroaches are omnivorous scavengers. They eat nearly anything, including all kinds of human food, pet food, garbage, grease, paper, wood, leather, and even wallpaper paste.

1 Some cockroaches give birth to live young, the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, for example.

All About Cockroaches

All About German Cockroaches – Proven Control

24 October, 2015

Among all the insect pests, German Cockroaches are perhaps the very best at survival. In order to prevent and control them, you need some knowledge on your side, and a dedicated control method that requires frequent attention. As a start, it’s wise to learn all about German cockroaches and what they need in order to survive in your home or business.

Why German Cockroaches Don’t Die Young

  1. Eggs are carried by the female until the day before they hatch allowing the mother to protect them.
  2. Egg capsules (called Ootheca) contain 30-48 eggs.
  3. Cockroaches can eat practically anything including each other.
  4. They hide in cracks and crevices usually coming out at night when the threats posed by predators is diminished.
  5. Infant roaches don’t usually come out of their hiding places but instead feed on the feces of adult roaches. GROSS! And you thought your diet was bad.

What Is Their Weakness?

All life depends on food, water and warmth. The Achilles heel of German Cockroaches is a lack of water. Without water in good supply they begin dying quite quickly. An example illustrates this point: A home we inspected was vacant with the water cut off and the German Cockroaches still didn’t seem to want to go away. We discovered that the windows had slight condensation forming due to the cold weather outside, so we had the heater turned off and within only a few days the roaches were dead.

All About German Cockroaches – Control Tips

Most people are looking for a magic bug spray that will kill all roaches. While some roach killers really are better than others, insecticides alone don’t provide the fastest relief. For the fastest roach elimination within a home, first stress the roach colony.

Start by caulking cracks and crevices everywhere (especially in the kitchen and bathrooms). Caulking eliminates roach hideouts.

Next, clamp down on the roach food supply. This means deep cleaning to eliminate grease and crumbs. Don’t forget the sides and under range ovens, cabinets, trash cans, floors, counters and inside drawers. This step might not be a lot of fun, but cleaning can make eliminating roaches much faster.

Now, go through your home with a vacuum and crevice tool and suck up every single roach you can find. German Cockroaches don’t all come out at once, so make several passes through your home to suck them up as they venture out. This step might take an hour or so but can eliminate half or more of the population without even using any pesticides. When you are done vacuuming, don’t forget to empty the vacuum outside where the roaches won’t get back indoors.

These steps to eliminate hiding places, clamp down on the food supply and physically remove roaches will stress surviving roaches. A stressed roach is not a healthy roach, and these steps can cause sickness and cannibalism within the remaining roaches as they compete for survival.

With roaches stressed and struggling for survival we have now arrived at the most effective moment to apply roach killing products.

Where To Apply Roach Killer

The rate of success in any roach treatment is based upon careful completion of the steps above to stress the roach poplulation, carefully locating roach hiding places and applying the correct insecticides. Favorite hiding places for roaches include:

  1. Under kitchen and bathroom sinks
  2. Under and inside kitchen cabinets
  3. In cabinet and door hinges
  4. Inside electric outlets and light switches (don’t spray liquids in here)
  5. Inside electrical devices including coffee pots, microwaves, bread machines, ovens and around refrigerator compressors. (don’t spray liquids in here either)

For safety, carefully read all the fine print on any insecticide labels before using them inside your home. Lastly don’t expect German Cockroaches to go away overnight. These guys are survivors and they are extremely resourceful. If you want help we offer a no pressure FREE Roach Inspection with one of our experienced roach clean out technicians. During this inspection, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and learn all about German cockroaches, and how the can be treated efficiently and successfully.

FREE Roach Inspection

Protect your home and family from roaches. Contact us here or call 541-636-0146 to get your roach problem resolved now…

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