German cockroach belongs to a small group of cockroaches and has successfully infested almost every place except Antarctica. Moreover, this cockroach has also suspiciously recognized itself as a dangerous roach because of its ability to spread diseases and trigger allergies.
The German cockroach is 0.43 to 0.63 inch tan to dark brown small flat oval roach. It has two dark parallel stripes on the back of the head running to the base of the wings. The female German cockroach and nymphs are darker than the adult male. The German cockroach has tiny wings but can’t fly.
Apart from other bad attributes associated with german cockroaches, it is among the most hated cockroach of all because of its filthy untidy looks and awful, musty urine line smell. Furthermore, german cockroach infestation should never be taken lightly because of its ability to multiply fast and spread quickly.
German cockroach resembles other roaches very closely, such as Asian and Brown-Banded cockroach (cockroaches that rarely infest indoors), which is why a correct identification is necessary. Therefore, I have written this blog to help the reader quickly identify German roaches, get rid of them, and Prevent future infestation.
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Appearance and Identification Points
Do you know why professional exterminators first try identifying the type of roach? This is important because every cockroach species has a different habitat, mode of infestation, and prevention techniques.
Therefore, Proper identification of German cockroaches is beneficial at extermination.
The German cockroach has a smooth and flat shiny tan to a dark brown oval-shaped body. It has two dark parallel stripes on the pronotum that run all the way to the base of the wings.
German roaches have two long antennas longer than the body, three sets of tiny spiky legs, a paired, very prominent cerci, and a stylus. The female roach does not have a stylus.
The adult German cockroach measures between 0.43 to 0.63 inches long (1.1 to 1.6 cm). The female cockroach is a little bit smaller but broader than the male.
The body of German roaches is covered with two sets of very tiny wings (visible and hidden) that do not extend beyond the body.
German cockroaches can’t fly; however, they can glide for a very short distance under extreme threat, typically in a burst.
Although German cockroaches stay away from human interaction, they are known to bite humans, especially during a heavy infestation. German cockroaches bite the skin around fingernails, eyelashes, and the dead skin on human hands or feet.
Moreover, sleeping humans, especially babies and paralyzed older adults, are bitten by German roaches.
German roach closely resemble Asian cockroaches and can often be confused with them; however, both can be differentiated on the following points,
- German roaches have tiny wings than Asian roaches.
- German cockroach can’t fly whereas Asian cockroach is an excellent flyer
- Asian cockroach has an abdominal grove and dark stripes on pronotum
German cockroach nymphs
German cockroach nymphs are identical to adults, except they are dark brown to black and have the same distinct dark parallel streaks running the length of the pronotum. When molting, nymphs of the German cockroach may appear white like an albino cockroach.
Nymphs also lack wings until puberty but have usual long antennas.
Distribution and Habitat
German roaches originated in southeast Asia and then have carried on to infest every place humans inhabit. They are found through Europe and the US and have successfully established themselves up to Patagonia.
Interestingly, German roaches are very sensitive to cold and can’t survive below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, they need humans for food and warmth. Therefore they are closely related to humans and can’t survive without them, especially outdoors.
German cockroaches are mostly seen infesting buildings, hostels, guest houses, restaurants, food processing plants, and hotels. Unfortunately, hospitals and nursing homes are also not safe from the wrath of German roaches.
German Cockroach: Diet and Life Cycle
German cockroaches are omnivorous and scavenge on everything from plant matter to meat. Under extreme food shortages, they can even turn cannibalistic, eating their peers or eating household items such as pieces of old clothes, soaps, and paper.
However, under normal conditions, German roaches love to eat meaty, starchy, and sweet items like donuts, pieces of bread, and biscuits.
German roaches are the fastest reproducers among small roaches and quickly reach adulthood. Here are the stages of the life cycle of German roaches,
Stage 1: Egg
Once the female and male reach adulthood, they start to mate. However, German female usually mates only once in their life cycle.
After the female German roach mates, she develops an ootheca capsule inside her abdomen. Ootheca contains between 30 to 40 individual eggs. The female keeps eggs inside her abdomen until it is time to hatch. This period consists of 15 to 25 days.
24 to 48 hours before egg hatching, the female german roach starts to lay ootheca containing 30 to 40 individual eggs. Soon the eggs start to hatch, giving rise to German cockroach nymphs.
Stage 2: Nymph
The german baby nymphs have to undergo approximately six molting stages. In each molting stage to transform into adults, the cockroach sheds its exoskeleton to accompany the increasing size of the body. This stage takes approximately 60 days, and in the end, the German cockroach has reached adulthood.
Stage 3: Adult
Once the German cockroach has reached its adulthood, it carries on to live for 6 to 8 months. The average life span of German roaches from egg to the death of adult roaches is approximately 16 months.
Are German Cockroaches Harmful?
German cockroaches are dangerous because they visit sewerage, feed on filth, and then come back to live inside the kitchen and play on your utensils.
Every cockroach, including the German cockroach, is harmful if it infests the home. Unfortunately, German cockroach infests homes and indoor spaces with great severity and transmits diseases like typhoid and paratyphoid fever, Dysentry, and Cholera (Reference).
They also threaten susceptible individuals, including patients with known allergies to cockroach droppings, exoskeleton, and saliva. German cockroaches are also known to trigger asthma episodes in an atopic individual.
In most cases, once German roaches move indoors, they quickly establish their colony. Soon the place will turn into a breeding ground with hundreds of roaches moving around.
In such cases, the German cockroach is a threat to the property, significantly affecting the selling price in the market.
Do you know that some people have an extreme fear of roaches called Katsaridaphobia? Read this fascinating article to know more about it.
Preventing and Getting Rid of German Cockroach Infestation
Before controlling the German cockroach infestation, look for the German cockroach infestation signs. It will help exterminate and prevent them easily.
Signs of a German Cockroach Infestation
- German cockroach dropping in cockroach hiding places such as Kitchen and bathroom cabinets, under the sink, wardrobe, behind and inside the refrigirators and ovens.
- Desqumated exoskeleton in multiple places around the house
- German cockroach nest with live and dead roaches, nymphs and egg shells.
- A musty urine like smell is also a major sign for German roach infestation.
German Cockroach Prevention
Preventing German cockroach infestation is sometimes difficult because they move indoors via multiple routes. However, the following tips will help you get the maximum benefit,
- Regularly clean the house and wash the floor or tiles with detergents.
- Do not leave food bites on the floors or leftover food inside the kitchen.
- Cover the garbage bins adequately, sitting inside and outside the house.
- Cover the bathroom drains with anti-cockroach drains.
- Fix any openings in electric boards and circuits.
- Fix any door gaps or leaking pipes with masking tape.
- Inspect groceries, luggage, or any other item before moving them indoors.
- You can also use Natural Roach Repellents to keep German roaches at bay.
- Use IGR spray to prevent German cockroach nymphs from transforming into adults.
Three Easy and Quick Methods to Get Rid of German Cockroach
These are three methods that will help you solve your german roach problem,
Method 1: Using a bait
This method uses bait to get rid of German cockroaches. Baits are better than sprays as baits will kill the entire colony.
All you need to do is, read this guide and apply bait inside your bathroom, cupboards, kitchen cabinets, and basement, all the favorite spots of German cockroaches.
You can get your hand on many baits, but these are my favorite ones. Use each of them according to the instructions on the pack.
– Bengal Roach Killer is a dry spray bait, very easy to apply and use. (How to use guide)
– Advion Cockroach Gel Bait is the most effective gel you can buy.
– Hot Shot Liquid Cockroach Trapper and Killer is the best trap you can get for cockroaches.
– Combat Max 12-Month Roach Killing Bait is the best bait out on the market.
Method 2: Using an IGR
Using an IGR helps ensure the German roach nymphs don’t grow into adults. The German cockroach is a notoriously fast breeder, and all they need is an optimum temperature, a lot of food, and humidity to reproduce throughout the year.
Therefore, using an IGR spray will keep German roaches in check for you.
An IGR alters the internal hormones of roaches to molt. This way, the roaches will not become adults and fail to reproduce. Gentrol Growth Regulator (Amazon Link) is the only and the best IGR device for roaches.
It’s effortless to use. Just purge one of them and place it in a hidden place inside your bathroom.
Method 3: Insecticide Spray or Roach Bombs
Insecticide spray or roach bombs are quick solutions for removing German cockroaches in difficult-to-reach places. However, roach bombs kill German roaches but do not destroy the eggs; we may start to see roaches again after a few weeks.
To get rid of German cockroaches, you must seal all doors and windows, turn off ventilators or air conditioning and spray around all the corners and cockroach hiding places. Then, wait for 30 minutes before you ventilate the room.