The Oriental cockroach is relatively small (typically 1 inch in length) and flightless. It is dark brown to shiny black in color. Females are slightly longer than males. Males have fully developed but short, broad wings extending over the majority of their bodies; females only have short triangular wing pads. The inner wing folds like a fan and is membranous whereas the outer part of the wing is narrow, leathery, and thick. Neither males nor females fly. Unlike other cockroaches, Orientals lack specialized pads on their feet and cannot climb smooth surfaces. This means unlike other species, the Oriental cockroach much prefers the floor and will avoid climbing walls and ceilings.
Similar to most cockroaches, they prefer dark, damp spaces as this species relies heavily on water. Oriental cockroaches can go an entire month without food, but only 2 weeks without water. They prefer to feed on decaying material and trash. In an outside environment they will most likely be found under mulch and rocks, under debris or in sewer systems. These cockroaches tend to be seasonal, with adults likely to appear in spring and summer months.