What You Should Know About German Cockroaches

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 to have a bad general impression about cockroaches.

The insect has wings, but they are not meant for flying. Despite this, the insect can glide when it feels 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 the behavior of the German cockroach and how does it feed?

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, tooth paste and glue. They can even become cannibalistic, eating each other’s legs and wings when they starve.

What is the habitat like of the insect?

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 an infestation?

One of the common signs that your household is infested with German cockroaches is the presence of what is called droppings: pepper-like material that you find 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 reproduction cycle like?

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 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 for 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 production speed.

What are some of the ways to prevent and control cockroaches?

Infestations of the German cockroach can be prevented and controlled only through sanitation and exclusion. Places in which the cockroach is known to be hidden must be sealed and the owner of the building must perform a cleaning. 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 of the ways to get rid of German cockroaches?

Insecticides used for controlling the cockroach populations and helping people to get rid of these insects are these: carbamate, organophosphorus, insect growth regulator, pyrethroid, amidinohydrazone, etc. 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. 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 wide-spread 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 cockroaches is impossible when your house is infested. Quite often they appear out of nowhere and ruin your mood. You can even lose your appetite for food, because they appear in the kitchen mostly. Even if you don’t have such creatures 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.


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I enjoy learning about new pest control strategies and attempt to share everything I learn at NeverPest.com to create a reliable resource for people dealing with all sorts of pest issues.

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