Male Oriental cockroaches are 1 inch long and females are 1-1/4 inches long when mature, and red brown to black. In males, the wings cover 75% of the abdomen; in females, they are reduced to small wing pads.
The early nymphs are light brown but become increasingly darker with each molt. The purse shaped egg capsule (i.e., oothca) is dark red-brown but becomes black with age, 3/8 inch long, and typically has eight eggs per side.
During her lifetime, the female Oriental cockroach produces an average of eight egg capsules each of which contains 16 eggs. The capsules are dropped or, using secretions from her mouth, glued in protected locations such as cracks and crevices near food sources. The nymphs molt about 10 times before becoming adults. Depending on temperature, this requires 206 to 800 days. Adult females live from 34 to 181 days and males from 112 to 160 days.
Oriental cockroaches are not common pests in most homes. They can be abundant, however, in sewers and commercial facilities, e.g., groceries, prisons, restaurants, hospitals, office and apartment buildings. Indoors they can become very abundant in damp, secluded places such as crawl spaces, basements, water meter boxes, and drains.
They often are found in bathtubs and sinks because they lack the small pads on their tarsi (i.e., last segments of the legs) commonly found on other cockroaches, which allow them to crawl up smooth surfaces. Outdoors, even in cold weather, they are found in planters, ground covers, stones, leaf litter, and other debris. Oriental cockroaches prefer to feed on starchy foods but eat various other items including decaying organic matter. Oriental cockroaches produce a very characteristic pungent “cockroach” odor.