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The Flying Asian Cockroach

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by The Bug Doctor

Asian Cockroach is another member of the roach family which is fast becoming a major pest throughout the southern United States. This roach thrives in tropical and subtropical climates and was first discovered in Tampa Florida in 1986. Early control methods and general knowledge of this pest was slow in coming due in large part to the under estimation of this insect. Florida residents were inundated with this flying roach which seemed to break all conventional wisdom of then understood roach habits and professional exterminators had little answers. Since its discovery in Central Florida this roach has spread across the southeast to Texas and as far north as South Carolina. The asian roach is truly omnivorous eating plant material as well as meats. At least one known benefit of the roach is that it readily feeds on certain crop pest eggs and is a common predator of the bollworm.

Asian roaches are most prominent during the summer months and survive the colder temperatures mostly by burrowing into deep leaf litter. Even in warmer times it’s not uncommon to find thousands of asian roaches in all stages of life in just a moderate sized pile of leaves. It takes approximately 67 days for nymphs to reach adulthood and females can produce egg capsules that can carry up to 44 babies soon after they’ve matured.

How They Travel

Unlike the german roach, the asian is a very skilled flyer and actually is attracted to lights. The asian roach prefers to live outdoors but will survive inside for a time if the humidity is right or there is a source of moisture. Able to fly in open doors or crawl through small cracks or unfit screens this roach often invades at night attracted by porch lights or lights from inside. Nymphs do not fly but prefer to stay in organic litter feeding presumably on the decaying matter. The asian roach is not known to travel in freight or articles being moved across the country such as landscaping materials but this could be possible.

How Best To Identify Asian Roaches

The asian roach dilemma is that it looks almost exactly like the

german cockroach but shares very little of the same attributes. The asian roach is light brown to tan in color and has two darker brown longitudinal stripes on its pronotum. (the back of its head area) As stated asian roaches are adept flyers while their german counter part can at best flutter if launching from a high perch. The asian roach however does possess longer wings which extend past its abdomen whereas the german roach wings are either even or only slightly longer. (the longer wing is believed to be why the asian can fly so well while the german cannot) Observing a gravid female one can easily distinguish the asian roach from german. The asian roach wing will cover 1/2 or more of the extended ootheca (egg case) while the german roaches will be almost completely visible. The surest way however is to examine the roach by turning it upside down and noting the length of the wings. Past the tip of the abdomen is asian, even or just passed is german.

Treatment And Elimination

Inside conventional indoor treatments work well for the asian roach with an emphasis around windows and doors where this pest will most likely first enter. The asian roach does not thrive inside so a full scale treatment with dusts, baits and sprays as you would need for german roaches is not always as necessary. Simple liquid residuals in cracks and crevices will do for interior infestations. Exterior treatments and or modifications are far more likely to produce the best results for asian roach reduction and if possible, elimination. Liquid insecticide barriers around lights, windows, doors and other entry points such as hose spigots, base of siding, cracks or other voids work well but are often short lived. Concentrates such as Demand CS or Suspend SC and Tempo are excellent choices for these areas but please read the labels for any limitations and safety recommendations.

Dusts are a longer term answer for voids where this pest may enter such as listed above. DE (diamataceous earth), boric acid, Delta dust or Drione are all long term options for voids but Delta is specifically formulated to withstand the most moisture and may be the best choice. Proper equipment is needed such as a bulb, billow or puff duster to avoid off target application and complete treatments of voids.

Picture 9 300x222 The Flying Asian Cockroach

Asian Left, German Right-Look At Wing Length

Insecticidal granules and baits work very well and can be applied as a broad barrier around the home or areas away from the structure where this pest is known to be. Talstar PL is a sand based contact granule which can be lightly applied and give great results. Baits often work better since this insect is a frequent flier and ground contact isn’t assured and the granule does not always penetrate heavy leaf or organic litter. The best places to place the baits is on leaf piles where this pest is heavily concentrated. Niban baits are an excellent choice for asian roach control.

Probably the quickest route to eliminating the asian roach is to eliminate the organic material they most inhabit. Removal of leaf piles or burning provides very fast results. Changing outdoor lighting to yellow bulbs is also helpful to deter them but not quite as effective for the asian roach as it is for other insects.


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  • http://twitter.com/ProBestPest KBirkemeyer

    I ran into these little bugs about 12 years ago right in Florida, I was surprised because I found them outside and right away I knew they weren’t German roaches. They had taken up residence under a big tree and were getting into cars and sometimes inside but there were literally 1000’s. It really looked like the dirt was moving!

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    They are amazing that way. Almost ANY leaf pile in Florida has em but you can’t see them right away. If you stare long it’s like one of those psychedelic posters that begin to move if you stare long enough.

  • Marciakennedy

    Will boric acid in concentrated areas, or Durasban (sp?) or Bagon work to eliminate them outside?

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    Since only 1 out of the 3 you mentioned is available for sale or use I’ll just speak on it. Boric acid in a dust or powdered form might be Ok short term outside but moisture tends to glob up the powder or wash it away– Boric acid used in a bait form will work quite nicely. Similar to the ‘baygon’ you mentioned- Niban Bait is a corn based bait with boric acid as the insecticide. Concentrating your baiting efforts on or near leaf piles or other organic debris or even in areas where lights shine at night will give you the best results.

  • Lori

    I have been trying to identify this bug for almost a year!  We just removed a ton of small rocks to landscape the front of our house and they were flying everywhere.  Since we removed the rocks and landscaped is it safe to assume we have removed a home for them?  Would that be one of the reasons we kept finding them in our home?

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    Hey Lori,
    You may have which is great. They can infest mulch and/or any organic material so you may have dislodged them for now but they could return. Yes, sometimes when they are ‘closer’ to a structure they’ll tend to be a few more invading inside but remember; they are great fliers and actually are ATTRACTED to light. So if your porch light or light from a window catches their eyes, they could be coming from a fairly good distance.

  • Joy

    I’ve recently moved, and am finding in my new dream home what appear to be asian roaches. over the past week have seen & eleminated 4 in my kitchen and 2 in a bathroom. I have had the house sprayed/treated, and have a few traps with pheromones- (which have not caught any bugs). What else can I do? How often should I call the pest control man back? – I feel my kitchen is dirty and everything has to be rewashed before use–I am storing kitchen utensils,  sponges & towels in ziplock bags! I hate roaches !! Thanks for your advice.

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    Hi Joy,
    I’m not sure pheromones work on asian roaches like they do the german. The problem is more than likely outside in near by leaf letter. If you can reduce or get rid of the source-you will be way ahead of the game. Also, don’t forget to check out your lighting both on the outside & the light that escapes from the house at night since they are greatly attracted to it. I’d do these couple of things before asking your guy/gal back. You might also consider a maintenance service with your pest control company to keep things in check.

  • Jjbreon

    We have an infestation of these in our home. Terminix has sprayed, baitee etc. But they still keep living and hatching although all my food is in bags and there is not water source. Treatment has been going on for 3 weeks. When will treatment kill them all off? And why are they still thriving inside our home?

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    Asian roaches come in from the outside and do not live for long once indoors. So it’s either the roaches either have a constant way in–the tech isn’t getting to the heart of the source (or can’t because you are in the woods or source is not on your property) or you have the wrong ID. Failure to address (if you can) any one of these will result in poor results.

  • Jjbreon

    We have been seeing alot outside and in our sealed trash cans outside as well. They just seem to keep coming in. I have caulked every entry point crack and crevice. I am also seeing them in all life stages. So without a food or water source they won’t live long right? About how long? Guess I’ll have to go back through and see if I can find where they are coming from.Thank you for responding.

  • Fraser

    I moved to China about 3 months ago, and didn’t see a single cockroach until the day before yesterday. I found one in my dining room, killed it and didn’t think much of it. Then yesterday I found lots of them on two of my kitchen windows.

    In China windows don’t seal properly, they kind of slide, one in front of the other, so there’s a gap. If they’re just outside, and getting something to seal the windows will stop me seeing more then I won’t be too worried. But I’m scared they are infesting my home.

    There is a compost heap nearby, but the problem is I live in a kind of “village”, and removing it is not an option. I also live on the 6th floor, but I have no neighbour directly below.

    My house is fairly clean, I always wash my dishes after I cook, and wipe the surfaces down properly. I clean my floor once a week, and don’t leave food lying around. Is it just the light that’s attracting them, and should I be worried about seeing them in my home? I only found them on two windows in particular, I checked the rest of the windows in my house and didn’t see any.

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    If it is the asian roach then yes, sealing up the windows will help and yes, they are attracted to light. If you can change the lighting to yellow and or ‘shield’ it where it doesn’t broadcast outward as much that would help. The best thing however is to remove any and all heavy leaf litter around the home as this is where they thrive….

  • Janet

    We bought chicks from NM, and live in the far FAR north of New York- a little shy of Canada. I’ve been in realestate, remodels, and rentals and have NEVER encountered a cockroach outside NYC. Back to the shipment of chicks. I just found a female asian cockroach mostly dead on my living room floor. I’ve been told not to worry- it came with the chicks, and it can’t really survive up here. My house is only 65 degrees all winter and colder at night. I’m being told correctly right? Lord almighty. My house is clean! ick ick ick. We just did a WHOLE renovation, floors out, redid walls, ran new wires, tore out all kitchen and baths, redid plumbing and found NO evidence of even carpenter ants, let alone roaches….

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    I think you’re safe. As you said (or were told) they aren’t known to survive or thrive in your area. I’d be more interested in hearing how the pest company knew about them & could ID them since they’re not prevalent in that area–I’d say they were pretty sharp.

  • D

    I found a large flying roach on my bedroom wall, it was extremely fast and took some flight before I managed to kill it, the lights were on so I’m assuming it was an Asian cockroach. I sprayed it with bleach and it slowed down a bit and fell to the floor, I kept chasing it and spraying it until I was able to smash it to death. My concern is are there more in the house? Are they just hiding or would it have come out by now? Is there a possibility of eggs left somewhere inside the house?

  • D

    Also, where would it have entered from?

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    D
    It’s most likely not an Asian roach if as you say “it’s large”…. Roaches, especially flying ones can get in most homes in so many ways with ease.
    I’d be willing to assume that since this isn’t a chronic issue, “seeing them night after night” or several time weekly. You might be able to consider this an occasional intrusion at this point.

  • bugguy

    The coloration of an adult Asian roach can vary greatly from the light brown to dark brown. This is from my personal experience in dealing with
    them in my pest control business.

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    I’ll be on the look out…Thx.

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