Periplaneta australasiae, better known as the Australian cockroach, is a globally distributed cockroach species that commonly invades homes where they can successfully reproduce, spread disease-causing microorganisms, infest pantries, contaminate stored foods, trigger allergic reactions, and damage wood, cardboard, paper and other materials. While Australian cockroaches are not as well known among the American public as more widespread cockroach pests, such as American and German cockroaches, the Australian cockroach is abundant in the southeastern states, particularly near the Gulf Coast. According to a recent nationwide survey of pest control professionals, the Australian cockroach was the sixth most commonly managed indoor roach species in the country during 2016, which made these roach pests more common than Asian, Turkestan and Florida woods cockroaches within homes.
Australian cockroaches are relatively large when compared to most roach pest species in the US, and they resemble American cockroaches in both appearance and infestation behaviors. Adult Australian cockroaches are between 1 and 1.5 inches in length, and they are mostly dark brown in color with the exception of light yellow bands on the upper edges of their forewings. These roaches are frequently found outdoors beneath tree bark, wood piles, bundles of plant matter and near moist conditions. Australian cockroaches are notable for being year round pests in the southeastern states where they often inflict serious damage to cultivated plants after invading greenhouses in large numbers. However, these roach pests commonly infest homes throughout the year as well, and indoor populations are often found clustered near pipes, toilets, in cupboards below sinks, in showers, and other warm and moist areas.
Adult females are known for gluing their egg cases (ootheca) to walls or flooring located in well-hidden indoor areas, and these eggs develop into mature adults within a period of 40 days. Like many cockroach pests, Australian cockroaches gravitate to filthy areas, particularly where human or animal feces can be found, and they often infest pantries where they are likely to contaminate stored food products with their excrement. Also like other common roach pests, indoor Australian cockroaches contribute to the development and triggering of allergic conditions.
Have you ever encountered cockroaches within your kitchen?