The Asian cockroach hasn't been around too long in the US, having arrived in the mid-1980s. When they first arrived, nobody paid attention, because they were identified as the more commonly known German roach. The reason for that is that Asian roaches and German roaches look so alike, that it took specialized testing for researchers to realize that they were not German roaches. Now, Asian roaches look a lot like German roaches, but they surely don't act like them.
OK so, how are they alike? Both are small, and brown. Both have wings and dark bands running down from their heads along their backs. But they're not exactly alike. Although both species have wings, German roaches' wings are shorter than their bodies. Asian roaches have thinner, longer wings, which is one reason why they can actually fly, sometimes as far as 150 feet. The border of an Asian cockroach's abdomen is white, instead of the brown abdomen on a German roach. I don't know how many of you will want to be examining a roach's abdomen that close, but it's very important for us professionals to know the difference, because the treatment for Asian cockroaches is different than for German roaches.
Let's back up a bit. The first Asian cockroach in the US was found in Lakeland, Florida in 1986, having hitched a ride from Japan. Of course, by the time it was identified as being something other than a German roach, they had already spread across Florida. Since then, they have expanded to other states, and their populations are enormous, as many as 250,000 per acre.
As to behavioral differences, Asian roaches are an outdoor species, whereas German roaches are indoor insects. The former live in shaded areas, especially in mulch and grass, and compost piles. Although they'll rarely come inside, they are attracted to light, so they will sometimes fly in through open windows and doors. They might land on your ceiling light, or your TV screen. Even though they're not home invaders like German roaches, there's still a very good possibility that once inside, they will continue to multiply. Here is another differences between the two: If you're familiar with German roaches, you know that when you come in to the kitchen for a late night snack and you turn on the light, the German roaches will scatter. They're nocturnal and do not like light. Asian cockroaches, on the other hand, are attracted to light, and will fly towards it. Sometimes they act like your doting pet, following you from one room of the house to the next, but that's only because they're going where the light is.
The life cycle of both is around 100-200 days for a female, a little less for a male. The females of both species produce egg cases containing 30 to 40 eggs each. Both are prolific breeders, and if left alone, they can get totally out of hand.
During the last few months, we have found Asian cockroaches as far north as Calabash, North Carolina.
Early pest control evaluation and and a good extermination plan with a pest control professional is definitely the way to go.