Facts, Identification & Control
What Do They Look Like?
- Color: Adults are easily recognized by their light brown or tan coloration with two black horizontal stripes located on the pronotum immediately behind the head, The young, or nymphs, are darker, almost black in color, also with the black stripes behind the head.
- Size: Adults grow to a length of 13-16 mm.
- Wings: While adult German cockroaches have wings, they rarely fly, preferring to run.
How Did I Get German Cockroaches?
German cockroaches are well-known indoor cockroaches with a distribution that is world-wide. Smaller than other types of cockroaches, the pests can hide in small spaces and hitch rides in bags, boxes, and many other infested items that are brought inside the home. In multi-unit apartment buildings, they can easily move between units, using the shared plumbing and pipes as a highway.
What Attracts Them?
One of the most common sources of problems with German cockroaches are used items like furniture and luggage. Pre-owned electronics are also hiding places for the pests, which gravitate towards these warm devices. Additionally, areas where food debris is left around will fulfill the needs that the cockroaches have for food, water, and protection, such as near:
- Garbage containers
- Kitchen cabinets
- Under sinks
How Serious Are German Cockroaches?
German cockroaches spread filth in homes, contaminating food and utensils. Pathogens range from bacteria that causes food poisoning and dysentery to allergens that result in rashes and asthma attacks. Recent studies have also indicated that in larger metropolitan areas, the development of asthma in children can be directly linked to the presence of the pest.
These cockroaches lay 40 eggs at a time, which mature in about two months. Because they reproduce rapidly, infestations quickly become severe. German cockroaches are hardy and fast and have few natural predators inside human habitats. For these reasons, their populations tend to grow rapidly and can be hard to get rid of, often requiring professional treatment.
Signs of Infestation
German cockroach droppings may appear as small, dark, “pepper-like” material left on countertops or in drawers. Fecal staining may appear as dark spots or smears:
- Along the tops of doors.
- Around small cracks and openings into walls.
- In the corners of a room.
Since German cockroach females carries their egg case until 1 to 2 days before depositing it, empty egg cases may be found in areas that the females frequent.
German cockroaches are also known to secrete a number of odorous compounds. When populations are present in large numbers, it may be possible to detect a mild, or what some have reported as a “musty” odor.
How Do I Get Rid of German Cockroaches
What Orkin Does
Your local Orkin technician is trained to help manage German cockroaches and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.
Orkin can provide the right solution to keep German cockroaches in their place…out of your home, or business.
For more information or to schedule an inspection, please contact your local Orkin branch office
Behavior, Diet & Habits
Where Do They Live?
Although capable of living outdoors in tropical environments, German cockroaches are most commonly found indoors, with a preference for the warmer and more humid areas of a structure. In homes, these cockroaches will typically be found in kitchens and bathrooms, but can move to other areas of a home if food and moisture are available.
What Do They Eat?
German cockroaches are scavengers, capable of feeding on most any food source available. The pests will eat:
- Bindings of books
- Crumbs missed during cleaning or on dirty dishes.
Each egg case, or ootheca, contains approximately 30 to 40 eggs. This egg case is then carried by the female until 1 to 2 days before hatching. Depending upon the conditions, the average time for development, from egg to adult can range from 54 to 215 days, with an average of approximately 100 days.
German cockroaches are known for their ability to reproduce quickly. Females only need to mate once for the production of young. After mating, and under normal conditions, they will produce, on average, 4 to 6 egg cases during the course of their lives.
As adults, German cockroaches can survive anywhere from 100 to 200 days.
Read more about the life cycle of the German cockroach.
German Cockroaches vs. Asian Cockroaches
Asian cockroaches, a pest of the southeastern United States, are often mistaken for the German cockroach. Similar in appearance, the main differences between the two cockroaches are evident in their behavior.
While German cockroaches are known as a pest of structures, found frequently in areas of high humidity and temperature, Asian cockroaches are most frequently found outdoors, and only occasionally make their way into structures. In addition, Asian cockroaches are known for their ability to fly, whereas German cockroaches rarely use their wings for flight and prefer to run from danger.