German Cockroach

German Cockroach Scientific Name: Blattella germanica

German Cockroach Facts

Also known as the “hood” cockroach, this small species is the most commonly found cockroach in apartments, hotels, houses, institutions, and restaurants in the world. Some people refer to the German cockroach as the “croton bug.”

German cockroaches sometimes seem almost impossible to control. This is because it produces a higher number of eggs, develops from hatching to adulthood more rapidly, the eggs are carried inside the female protecting them from environmental hazards that destroy eggs, and finally, the smaller size of German cockroach nymphs enable them to conceal themselves in cracks and crevices more easily than other species causing German cockroach populations to burgeon quickly out of control.

German cockroaches have resistance to many insecticides and it to their offspring. This cockroach cannot sustain flight. The German cockroach is often confused with the Asian cockroach. It is seen during daylight hours more often than other species. It emits a nasty smell when excited or scared.

German Cockroach Identification

These pests are small in size—1/2 to 5/8 inch in length. They are medium yellow-brown, tan, brown, or nearly black in color. A German cockroach can be differentiated from other cockroach species by two dark, parallel stripes on the dorsal part of the thorax. Males have slender bodies with tapered posterior abdomens and no leathery outer wings. Females have stout bodies with rounded abdomens covered by leathery outer wings.

Nymphs are black and or dark brown with dark parallel bands that run down the length of the pronotum. Nymphs lack wings. They usually molt 6 times before reaching adulthood.

German Cockroach Habitat

German cockroaches are mostly found in American kitchens. They prefer damp places with food and water nearby. They like garbage cans, sewers, and other places where disease-causing bacteria thrive. The most successful time for breeding is at the end of the summer.

German cockroaches are omnivores and eat crumbs, grease, pet food, gum, wax, left over food in empty cans, glue, and soap. They also eat each other’s carcasses, vomit, and fecal matter.

German Cockroach Life Cycle

The typical life cycle of the German cockroach is completed in 100 days. The length of time from egg to maturity is determined by temperature, food availability, and strain of the species. This species of cockroach breeds continually with lots of generations overlapping each other at a time. Usually, the population of German cockroach infestation contains 20% adults and 80% nymphs (baby cockroaches).

Chances of survival for the German cockroach are better than other species because the female carries the eggs within the egg case inside her body so they are not susceptible to environmental harm.

German Cockroaches and Humans

German cockroaches are unsightly spoilers of food and spreaders of bacteria. The waxy, oily substance that makes the German cockroach shiny is also the perfect vehicle for disease. Some of the diseases spread by German cockroaches are cholera, e. coli, dysentery, gastroenteritis, hepatitis, leprosy, salmonella, staphylococcus, streptococcus, tuberculosis, and typhoid. German cockroaches are rarely aggressive towards humans during the day, but may bite people as they sleep.

Some humans have allergic reactions to cockroaches because of a protein called tropomyosin, also linked to asthma. German cockroach fecal matter is harmful to asthma sufferers for this reason.

German Cockroach Control

  1. German Cockroach Identification: A professional pest control expert will come to your home and help identify whether or not the insects infesting your home are German cockroaches. Things to look for are ½-inch size bugs that are light brown in color with dark stripes on the pronotum.
  2. Bait and Insecticide: A substance toxic to German cockroaches will be mixed with a food source. German cockroach bait may contain attractants and feeding stimulants to draw roaches away from human food. A professional exterminator might use amidinohydrazone, botanic, carbamate, inorganic, insect growth regulator, microbial, organophosphorous, and pyrethoid insecticides. These insecticides can be used in baits, dusts, powders, or sprays. Ground silica gel or boric acid can be distributed into cabinets, cracks and crevices along baseboards, behind fridges, in electrical outlets, under sinks, under stoves, and in walls. The silica gel sticks the wax and oil on the cockroach and causes the cockroach to dehydrate and die. German cockroaches crawl through sprinkled boric acid dust, the boric acid acts as a stomach poison so that when the cockroach grooms itself it eats the insecticide and dies.
  3. Removal of German Cockroaches: After treating areas of infestation, the exterminator will vacuum up carcasses and sanitize the area.

DIY and Green Solutions for German Cockroach Control

  1. Prevent entry! Seal gaps up around plumbing, switch plates, and wall outlets. This will keep roaches from migrating from one infested dwelling into another. Close windows and doors. If windows are open, make sure they have tightly fitting screens. Run water in seldom used plumbing fixtures because cockroaches like to enter homes through dry drain traps. Cover vent pipes on the roof to keep German cockroaches from coming up sewer connections or getting into attics and windows. Inspect food from the grocery store to make sure German cockroaches haven’t hitched a ride inside.
  2. Dry it! Fix plumbing problems and check outdoor sprinklers and spigots for leaks. German cockroaches drink water left in bathtubs, dishwashers, and sinks. Dry them out after use. Wipe the condensation in the area under the refrigerator dry. Empty pet water bowls at night when animals are indoor and asleep. Don’t leave cups of water or soda cans around for roaches to sip from. Sop up areas outside where water has collected, such as cans, holes in trees, old tires, etc.
  3. De-clutter! Remove all clutter to eliminate places for cockroaches to breed and harbor. Take trash and debris away from the house. Stack firewood away from the house, cockroaches like to harbor in piles of wood. Fill holes in trees with cement. Trim trees, ornamental trees and shrubs. Remove palm debris and dead or loose branches.
  4. Trap them! Use biological controls, desiccating dusts, and traps. Use sticky traps or jar traps baited with bread soaked in beer. On the outside of the char put a paper towel around it to provide a climbing surface for roaches. Coat the inside lip of the jar with Vaseline to prevent them from escaping. Fill jars with hot soapy water to kill trapped insects, dump contents into the trash and repeat the process every few days.