Why Are Turkestan Cockroach Infestations Becoming More Common In Texas Homes, And How Can These Roaches Be Identified?

Why Are Turkestan Cockroach Infestations Becoming More Common In Texas Homes, And How Can These Roaches Be Identified?

Pest control professionals in Texas generally agree that cockroaches are the most commonly encountered insect pests within homes in the state. The German, American, Oriental, smokybrown and brown-banded species are the four most common roach pests in Texas, and they are all found throughout the state. However, another non-native roach species, the Turkestan cockroach, is rapidly becoming the dominant roach pest in many urban and suburban environments throughout Texas.

The most common cockroach pests found within Texas homes vary depending on geographic location. For example, American cockroaches thrive in moist habitats, which makes them particularly abundant along the Gulf Coast, especially in Houston. The Oriental cockroach species generally reigns supreme in homes located in southwest Texas, but this species is rapidly being displaced by Turkestan cockroaches in urban and suburban environments in the region.

The Turkestan cockroach is native to northern Africa and central Asia, and they were first discovered in the US back in 1978 when specimens were recovered from southern California. One year later, Turkstan cockroaches were found in El Paso, and today, these roaches are abundant in many Texas counties and throughout the southwest. Due to the Turkestan cockroach species’ ability to produce unusually high numbers of eggs more rapidly than Oriental cockroaches in human-populated areas, the former species is quickly ousting the latter to become the most commonly encountered cockroach pest species within homes located in western and central Texas.

Male and female adults of the Turkestan cockroach species appear markedly different from one another. For example, while both male and female Turkestan cockroaches are between .55 and 1.1 inches in length, the male is light brownish-yellow in color, while the female is dark brown to black in color. Turkestan cockroaches become abundant in excessively moist indoor areas, making basements, crawl spaces, household water meters, and floor and wall voids that contain leaking pipes common infestation sites. The Turkestan cockroach is also known for inhabiting sewers where they sometimes travel into homes via pipes.

Have you ever encountered Oriental cockroaches within your home?