The German Cockroach

The German cockroach is the most common species of cockroach in houses, apartments, restaurants, hotels, and other institutions, throughout the United States and in most parts of the civilized world.

What does this mean to me?

This means if you have seen a cockroach in your home it is likely a German cockroach.

What do these roaches look like?

Adults German cockroaches are 1/2-5/8″ long, color light brown to tan with two dark almost parallel stripes on its back just behind its head.

About German Cockroaches – Did you know?

What most people think is the head, actually is not. It is actually a body segment called a Pronotol shield. The head is actually smaller, located in front almost underneath this segment, but most won´t get close enough to see it for them selves.

Adults have wings but rarely fly. Wings are mostly for protection.

Juveniles are dark brown to black and similar in appearance to adults but they are smaller and lack wings.

The oothecae (egg capsules) are yellowish brown about 1/4-3/8″ long and length is more then twice the width and slightly bowed.

Similar cockroaches include the Asian Cockroach; having almost the same color pattern but breed mostly outside and readily fly, and the Field Cockroach; similar in appearance with the dark stripes on its back just behind its head but has a dark broad band on its face between its eyes and also live outside.

The German Cockroach Lifecycle

1. Females produce an average of 5 oothecae per year
2. Each egg sack contains about 30-40 eggs
3. The female carries the egg with her until a day or two before they hatch
4. Once eggs hatch it takes an average of 50-60 days to develop into adulthood, making population very growth rapid.
5. Adults live anywhere from 1-300 days, and on average live 100-200 days.
6. They can usually produce 3-4 generations per year meaning all life stages are usually present in the same place at the same time

Just one fertile German cockroach can make up to 40 more? That´s a problem!

German cockroach infestation

You can see many different stages of life are present.

Photo by Daniel R. Suiter, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

German Cockroach Behavior

Where do they hide?
1. Cardboard boxes.
2. Paper grocery bags.
3. Drink cartons.
4. Clothing piles.
5. Refrigerator and other appliances.
6. Wall voids or very tight spaces like behind wood paneling.

Why?
1. They like warm humid places. (like most insects)
2. They don´t like open spaces because it leaves them vulnerable to attack by predators.

How did the roaches get there?

Contrary to popular belief cockroaches don´t usually just wonder into our homes. Without knowing it we bring them in with our grocery bags and boxes, or used appliances. They are able to move from building to building but rarely do so.

This doesn´t mean your home is filthy.

Cockroaches are built to survive. The German cockroach is a master of survival! They have been around for over 300 million years. Our homes make the perfect place for them to live. All they need is a warm, relatively moist place with some tight cracks and some food otherwise known as our kitchens and bathrooms. Cockroaches are very well adapted at living in close proximity to people.

German Cockroach Prevention and Control

What can I do?
1. Check your bags and boxes before bringing them into your home.
2. Eliminate areas of excess moisture.
3. Remove sources of food ie. Crumbs in the under the stove or refrigerator, garbage, or open food in pantries.
4. Seal off or remove hiding places listed above.

How Hearts Pest Management Can Help You Eliminate German Roaches

1. Thorough inspection in the key to effective control. It may be necessary to perform a survey to determine the extent of an infestation. This is done by placing monitoring devises throughout the structure and recording the number of cockroaches trapped over a week long period.
2. Once an infestation is identified we can address steps 2-4 listed above.
3. Chemical control when needed includes baiting with bait stations, as well as flowable granular, or gel baits. Applying pesticide dusts and the use of Insect Growth Regulators or (IGR´s) may also be necessary for a long term control solution.
4. Hearts Pest Management also provides an EcoWise certified solution to cockroaches using non-chemical techniques alongside “reduced risk” pesticides to eliminate the infestation for the eco or health conscious.
5. In general 95% of the population needs to be eliminated on the initial service or the typical maintenance program will usually fail.

Get Help Now – Consider Physical and Health Impacts of this Roach

o The Physical effects: They can produce odorous secretions resulting in a distinctive odor if populations are high. Also leave behind fecal matter and egg casings.

o The Health effects: German Cockroaches carry a variety of bacteria and viruses on their legs and bodies surfaces that are transmitted to when they come in contact with food and utensils. These particles left behind can cause food Poisoning, dysentery, diarrhea, and other illnesses. Cockroach skin castings and excrement contain allergens that cause reactions such as rashes, sneezing, runny nose, congestion, and asthma.

More Info on the German Cockroach

Find out more about the German cockroach at: University of Florida Entomology – Roaches site.

Fact References:
Penn State University College of Agricultural Sciences University Park, PA -German Cockroaches-Steve Jacobs, Sr. Extension Associate

NPCA Field Guide to Structural Pests
Eric H. Smith and Richard C. Whitman