- Latin Name: Periplaneta australasiae
- Size: Most measure about 1.25″ long
- Color: The Australian cockroach is reddish brown with a yellow stripe on the outer edge of the front wing and a dark spot on the head
- Shape: They have a flat, low-lying body in the shape of an oval with six legs, segmented antennae and wings.
- Found in: Warm climates – particularly in southern states such as Mississippi, South Carolina, and Georgia.
- Overview: Since the Australian cockroach looks similar to the American cockroach they’re often mistaken for each other.
About Australian Cockroaches
Oddly enough, the Australian Cockroach actually originated in Africa. It prefers hot, humid climates and will not survive in very cold environments. While Australian cockroaches will eat anything, they prefer plants. They will also eat decaying organic matter if plants are unavailable. This species also has an excellent sense of sight and hearing. They’re incredibly fast runners and have the ability to fly.
Australian cockroaches prefer to live outside in compost piles, hollow trees or mulch piles. They usually enter a home in search of food, water, or shelter from extreme temperatures and they have a wax covering over their body that makes it easier for them to squeeze into small cracks near a window or door. Once inside, they are scavengers and will first head towards the sweets before going after leather shoes and book bindings.
Facts About the Australian Cockroach
There are three life stages for Australian cockroaches: eggs, nymphs and adults. The female mates and reproduces 12 to 30 times during her adult life. She is able to lay eggs every ten days. Usually about sixteen nymphs will hatch in about a month; the others will not survive. The nymphs will molt 10 times before becoming adults six to twelve months later. An adult Australian cockroach lives up to eight months.
Though they’re not aggressive to humans, they can spread illnesses such as food poisoning by contaminating counter tops and food. They also give off a particularly bad odor. People with asthma and allergies may have a more severe reaction to cockroaches and their feces than others.
Signs of an Infestation
If an Australian cockroach finds his way indoors, he will look for a dark moist hiding place. Typically, they hide under the sink, in the bathroom cabinet or in the attic. Cockroaches are nocturnal, so use a flashlight to search late at night near potential food and water sources. You may find the nymph’s molted skin or feces before you find the insects themselves. They are very good at disappearing when humans are around so if you turn on a light and see something scatter, you may have a cockroach problem.
Because it is difficult to track down Australian cockroaches, consulting a pest control professional is the most efficient way to determine the best treatment for your home. Depending on your specific situation, insecticides or bait may be used to terminate the cockroaches. Even a pest professional may need to make multiple visits to your home to confirm all of the cockroaches have been eliminated.