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 Fiji include the German cockroach, American cockroach and the Oriental cockroach.

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

American cockroach

(Periplaneta americana)

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

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).
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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.

Dusky cockroach

(Ectobius lapponicus)

Appearance

  • Adult males 9–11mm. 
  • Adult females 6–8mm. 
  • Body dark grey–brown except for dark male pronotum and female dark brown abdomen.

Lifecycle

  • Egg cases, know as oothecae, are produced and carried by the female for one or two days between June and September. 
  • The oothecae overwinter on the ground and the nymphs hatch in the spring. 
  • The nymphs hibernate during the late stages of development to become adult in July. 
  • The adults die in September to October.

Habits

  • The dusky cockroach is mainly ground–dwelling and favours scrub, grassland and woodland habitats. 
  • Males only fly in warm weather.

German cockroach

(Blatella germanica)

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.

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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.

Lesser cockroach

(Ectobius panzeri)

Appearance

  • Males: 6–8mm; females: 5–7mm. 
  • Pale to dark brown, legs dark brown or black. Tegmina (leathery outer wings) are pale–yellow brown with dark speckles.

Lifecycle

  • Egg cases, known as oothecae, are produced and carried by the female for one or two days between June and September. 
  • They overwinter on the ground and the nymphs hatch in the spring. 
  • The nymphs hibernate during the late stages of development to become adult in May–June. 
  • The adults die in September – October.

Habits

  • Adults are not easy to find. 
  • These cockroaches have a preference for coastal and sandy plains. 
  • Males only fly in warm weather.

Oriental Cockroach

(Blatta orientalis)

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.

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).
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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.

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