The Asian cockroach, Blattela asahinai is similar to the German cockroach and often the two species coexist in the same environment. The are often difficult to distinguish morphologically. Sometimes they can hybridize and produce viable offspring. This species can be found in many places around the world. In the United States, this species was first found in Florida in 1986. Like other cockroach species, they can carry germs through their body parts that can contaminate foods or food preparation areas.
Morphology of the Asian Cockroach
The Asian cockroach is very similar to the German cockroach in shape and often difficult to distinguish. They are both light-brown colored and have two dark stripes on the pronotum (behind the head). They are often difficult to distinguish. The most important distinguishing characteristic is that the Asian species is capable of sustained flight while the German species rarely fly. In the laboratory they are often distinguished through gas chromatography analysis. It is possible to distinguish the adult stages. In fact the wings of the Asian cockroach are narrower than those of the German counterpart. The size of adults is about 13 mm, less than that of the German cockroach. The male tergal gland can also be used as distinctive criteria between the two species.
Behavior and Diet of the Asian Cockroach
The Asian cockroach primarily lives outdoor in shaded mulch, in compost and in gardens. It is often share the same habitat with the American cockroach. The males are winged and are capable of flying, mostly at sunset as opposed to German cockroach. They are capable of sustained flight and can actually fly for a distance of 150 feet. They are attracted to light and often heavily infest homes and commercial buildings. They are mostly active at dusk and readily fly when disturbed. In Florida, it is found that this species feed on succulent budding of citrus plants, strawberries and other plants. In general they can feed on any organic matter. This species also infest apartments and warehouses but to a lesser extent as compared to other cockroach species. The Asian cockroach can be considered both as feral and peridomestic species.
Life Cycle of the Blattella asahinai
Like other cockroaches, the Asian cockroach undergoes 3 developmental stages including eggs, nymphs and adults. A female can produce up to 6 oothecae during her lifetime and each ootheca can contain about 38 to 44 embryos. Females start laying eggs 13 days after they reach the adult stage. Similar to the German cockroach, the females of the Asian cockroach carry their oothecae during the embryonic development until shortly before hatching. The nymphs take about 67 days before reaching the adult stage. The lifespan of females is a little over 100 days, while males only live for 50 days in average.
Distribution and Habitat of Blattela asahinai
The Asian cockroach is so called because it is primarily found in Southeast Asia. Today, it can be found in many places across the globe. The earliest description of the Asian cockroach was 1981 in Okinawa. Today this species can be in many parts of the world. In the United States this species is mainly found in the southern states including Florida Alabama and Georgia where large populations can be found. The nymphs usually occur in large number and build a large population. They usually occur in leaf litter and in lawns.
Control of the Asian Cockroach
The control of Asian cockroach is often difficult due to their high mobility. Two approaches can generally be used to control this pest including chemical and non chemical approaches. Cockroach bait is generally the best way to lure and kill them. Residual spray of insecticide can also be used to combat the Asian cockroach in homes and buildings. Dusting crack and crevices is very effective. The non chemical approach is to avoid exposing food source outdoor. For instance pet food should not be stored outside. Since this cockroach is peridomestic, any food source in the vicinity of the house will help in the establishment of colonies. You should not also underestimate the effect of sanitation around the house. Do not expose firewood for extended period of time. It also recommended to regularly dispose you trash bin to prevent the establishment of Asia cockroach in your ground.