- the German cockroach--one of our smaller cockroaches, bane of restaurants and homes
- the American cockroach (a fast and intimidating insect that looks twice as big as it really is when running across a floor or flying)
- the black, rather nasty Oriental cockroach--pest of sewers and the grounds around buildings
- the smoky brown cockroach, an outdoor cockroach unafraid to venture into homes.
Because the Turkestan cockroach looks similar to other species, you may already have seen it and not realized it was something new. Female Turkestans look like Oriental cockroaches. Male Turkestans look like small American cockroaches or perhaps an innocuous field roach.
SpreadThe Turkestan cockroach has becoming a significant new pest since it was first reported in Shelford, California in 1978 and El Paso, Texas in 1979. It has since spread through Arizona and New Mexico, across Texas and even to Georgia. This week I got my first north Texas specimen, and tentatively identified an emailed photo from Tennessee as a Turkestan cockroach.
"red runners." They provide food for reptile, amphibian and small mammals. Pet owners like the fact that Turkestan cockroaches breed quickly, do well in captivity and don't climb glass (so are easy to keep in aquaria).
My first North Texas specimen of a Turkestan cockroach came this week courtesy of Emory Matts, with Rentokil Steritech. Guests at a local hotel recently started complaining of roaches on several floors. Whether this was an invasion from outdoors (males can fly and are attracted to lights at night), or represented an indoor infestation could not be determined. Though it's often referred to as an "outdoor" insect, the Turkestan is capable of establishing itself indoors, similar to Oriental and American cockroaches.
|Figure 3. Turkestan (A) and Oriental cockroach nymphs. |
Notice the reddish-brown thorax and dark abdomen of
the Turkestan nymph compared to the uniform brown color
of the Oriental. Photo from Kim and Rust (2013).
Distinguishing Turkestan cockroachesThe immature Turkestan roach resembles both Oriental and American nymphs in general appearance (Fig. 3). The Oriental cockroach, however, is uniformly dark-brown and the American cockroach is uniformly reddish brown. The Turkestan, in contrast, is reddish-brown on the head and thorax (pro- and meso-thorax) and dark-brown only on the rear of the body.
|Figure 4. American (top) and Australian cockroaches. |
Note the bold markings on pronotum and the
forewings of the Australian cockroach, in contrast
with the American, which lacks forewing markings.
Photos, M. Merchant.