Brown-Banded Cockroach vs. German Cockroach

SIMILARITIES

Both brown-banded and German cockroaches are obligatory domestic cockroaches, which means they generally do not live outside but instead rely on the conditions created inside our homes and buildings for survival.

Both the brown-banded and German cockroaches develop through three distinct stages – egg, larva and adult. They can become a health threat since they can transfer disease organisms to our food and food surfaces, plus create allergens that may lead to allergies and asthma.

Although both species have many things in common, they also have differences and variations when compared to each other.

SCIENTIFIC & COMMON NAME

  • Brown-banded cockroach (also known as the furniture roach, tropical roach, and TV roach): Supella longipalpa
  • German cockroach: Blattella germanica

APPEARANCE

Brown-Banded Cockroaches

  • Size: About ½ inch long.
  • Color: Dark brown with wings that are brownish, but with lighter brown or tan coloration along the wing margin.
  • Key Feature: A light colored band that runs transversely from one side of their body to the other and is located across the base of the wings and near the middle legs. This feature is much more noticeable on nymphs than adults.

German Cockroaches

  • Size: Adults are also about ½ an inch long, but generally are a little larger than brown-banded roaches.
  • Color: Light brown or tan with two, dark parallel stripes on each side of their pronotum (the shield-like structure that covers part of the head and thorax).

DISTRIBUTION

German Cockroaches: The most prevalent domestic cockroaches in the United States.

Brown-Banded Cockroaches: Found less frequently.

The reduction of brown-banded prevalence is thought to result from the advent and use of interior air conditioning, a condition that makes the indoor habitat less conducive to brown-banded than German roaches.

PREFERRED HABITAT

Brown-Banded Cockroaches

  • Can be broadly distributed throughout a home or building.
  • Generally prefer to occupy upper parts of rooms and areas that are warm and dry.
  • Choose to live in areas that are warmer and drier than German cockroaches, but they are not limited only to warm areas.
  • May be found behind pictures, underneath furniture and inside electrical appliances and electronics.
  • Other likely habitats are hot water tank closets, bedrooms, dining rooms and living rooms.

German Cockroaches

  • More likely to be found in kitchens and bathrooms of homes and restaurants.
  • Prefer to hide under or around sinks, appliances, cupboards and baseboards.
  • Usually cluster together in large numbers inside cracks and crevices near warm areas with high humidity.

The two species are rarely found together.

BEHAVIORS

  • Brown-banded cockroaches are usually not as likely to cluster together as are German cockroaches, but when brown-banded populations are large, females tend to deposit their egg cases in bunches.
  • Brown-banded adults may sometimes use their wings to fly away from a perceived danger, although they are not considered strong fliers.
  • German cockroach adults also have wings they sometime spread and “glide” for short distances from a higher to lower location. However, they are not actually flying, but may seem to be doing so.
  • Females of both species carry their egg case at the end of the abdomen. However, the female German cockroach is unique since she carries the egg case for almost the entire incubation period of the eggs.
  • At times the female German cockroach is observed still carrying the egg case even though some of the eggs are in the process of hatching and nymphs are exiting the egg case.
  • On the other hand, the female brown-banded cockroach will drop her egg case earlier than the German cockroach females and will search out a protected location in which to “glue” her egg case in place.
  • In addition, brown-banded roaches are more likely to deposit their egg cases in bunches than German cockroaches.

FOOD PREFERENCES

Both species are omnivorous; however, brown-banded cockroaches are more likely to eat items that have high starch content.

LIFE CYCLE

Factors such as temperature, nutrition quality, cockroach strain differences and a host of other facts may influence the time required to complete a life cycle and the roach’s reproductive potential.

Brown-Banded Cockroach

  • Eggs are enclosed within an egg case that usually contains from 15-20 eggs.
  • Each egg incubates for about a month before the nymphs hatch.
  • During the female’s lifetime of about six months, she will produce about 10 to 15 egg cases.

German Cockroaches

  • Recognized as having the largest reproduction potential of all the common roaches in the United States.
  • Eggs produced by the female hatch into nymphs after about a 30-day incubation period.
  • The time it takes for an egg to reach the adult stage is about 100 days, during which the nymph cockroach will go through about 6 or more nymphal instars (development stages).
  • Adult females live about 6 months, producing 6-8 egg cases that each contains about 30-50 eggs.
  • In ideal conditions, a female might produce a new egg case every few weeks she is alive.