German cockroaches are small residential cockroaches that have a length of about half an inch and that have colors like tan and almost black, with two dark streaks that are almost parallel. This species is the one that has made people have a generally bad impression of cockroaches.
The insect has wings, but they are not meant for flying. Despite this, the insect can glide when it feels in danger. Being closely related to another species called the Asian cockroach, the German cockroach has a very similar appearance to the Asian one, and people may not be able to differentiate them. Only a practiced eye can see the differences.
What is German Cockroach Behavior and What Do German Roaches Eat?
This species of cockroach can be seen traveling along the edges of the walls in your home, especially at night. The insects try to be close to the smallest cracks that they can find in the walls, so they can flee when you turn on the lights.
In terms of diet, German cockroaches are omnivores and scavengers. Most of their food source consists of starches, meat, fatty foods, and sugars. When they don’t find real food, these cockroaches can eat soap, toothpaste, and glue. They can even become cannibalistic, eating each other’s legs and wings when they starve.
What is the German Cockroach Habitat Like?
The insect’s habitat is the human building, where it can find food sources in kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas. While there are many insects of this type in households, they can be found in great numbers in restaurants, hotels, food processing facilities, nursing homes, and other similar buildings.
They try to keep themselves as close as possible to human dwellings because they cannot resist outside when the weather is very cold. The most common time of the day when you will see the German cockroach is the evening. You usually see it during the day only when the population is scattered.
What are the Signs of German Cockroach Infestations?
One of the common signs that your household is infested with German cockroaches is finding roach droppings: pepper-like material often found in drawers and countertops. There are also stains from the fecal matter of the insect. You may find these dark spots and smears in room corners, around wall openings and small cracks, and along the door tops.
A very ugly thing that you may notice is the presence of egg capsules. These capsules are carried by the female for a while and then the capsules remain empty in certain areas of your home. Because the German cockroach secretes various substances that smell, a musty smell will be felt in a home in which the cockroach populations are large.
What is the German Cockroach Reproduction Cycle?
The German cockroach has a faster reproductive cycle than any other species of residential cockroach, as warm weather accelerates the egg-laying process. From the egg stage to the adult phase, fifty to sixty days can pass.
An ootheca can develop inside the female’s abdomen. This ootheca is translucent in the beginning and it becomes white and then pink. In the end, the colors become dark red-brown.
A female German roach can produce thirty thousand cockroaches during a period of one year. The cockroach population usually doesn’t grow as fast as it may seem, especially because of insufficient food and cannibalism.
Are German Cockroaches Harmful to Humans?
Yes, they are, because they can transmit many types of bacteria, parasitic worms and other human pathogens. In fact, there is only one species of cockroach that is as dangerous for humans as the German cockroach and this is the American cockroach. They can spread airborne allergens because of the offspring’s production speed.
What are Some Ways to Prevent and Control German Cockroaches?
You can only prevented and control German cockroach infestations through sanitation and exclusion. You need to identify places where German roaches entered your building. Seal these areas and then perform deep cleaning of you building or vehicle (yes, German roaches can infest vehicles too).
Utility entrances, stoves, cupboards and even outdoor vegetation need cleaning. Any water leak should be dealt with, while food must be closed in plastic or metal recipients. A pest of this type is often associated with poor sanitation. An interesting fact is that the cockroach has adapted to a certain way of control. Sugar baits with poison were used in the past, but the insect now refuses to eat sweetened baits.
What are Some Ways to Get Rid of German Cockroaches?
Some insecticides used for controlling the cockroach populations and helping people to get rid of these insects are:
- insect growth regulator
The main problem with these cockroaches is that they are extremely resilient. Some insecticides can help you eliminate the insects for good, but this can be hard for a block of apartments. The reason is that all apartments in the block have to be purged of roaches. If you use insecticide only in one apartment, the insects from non-purged apartments can come and repopulate the purged apartment after the insecticide effects are gone.
What are some things to keep in mind about the German cockroach?
The German cockroach is the most widespread species of cockroach in the United States, but it can also be found all over the world. It is not just a disgusting creature, but also one that carries germs. The diseases that it can spread are Salmonella, Typhus, E.coli, and others. Wherever there are food leftovers, you see these nasty bugs when you turn on the light, fleeing from your presence.
Avoiding german cockroaches is nearly impossible if your house is infested with them. They will often appear out of nowhere and ruin your mood, even destroying your appetite for food, because they mostly appear in the kitchen.
Even if you don’t have such roaches in your apartment, you can surprisingly bring them in a bag or a box when you come home from the country. It is enough for one bug to give birth, an infestation can begin in your home and you will have to deal with it.
Further German Cockroach Resources
- If you found a baby German roach in your Home, read this.
- German Cockroach: Biology, Identification, Control (Blattella Germanica) – NC State Extension
- Think you have cockroach bites? Here’s how to know for sure.