German roaches are the most common species of cockroach worldwide. They can be found infesting just about anywhere that humans occupy. How do you know if you have German cockroaches? What do they look like? Are these roaches dangerous to humans? Get the answers to these questions and more with our 411 on German cockroaches.
What do they look like?
German roaches are flat and oval-shaped with 6 legs and a pair of antennae. They are smaller than other species of cockroaches, measuring between 1/2″ and 5/8″ in length. They are light brown to tan in color with 2 dark parallel stripes on their backs, just behind their heads. Females are darker than males. This species has wings but rarely fly; they prefer to run instead.
Where do they live?
German cockroaches are an indoor pest, preferring warm, humid environments. They prefer temperatures between 85 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit with 90 to 95% humidity. They make their way indoors by hitchhiking on grocery bags, cardboard boxes, and used appliances. They are often found above refrigerators or other heat producing appliances, under sinks, and around water pipes in kitchens and bathrooms so they can be near food and water sources. They are found throughout the United States.
What do they eat?
German roaches will eat almost anything. This includes soap, glue, toothpaste, food crumbs, and bindings of books.
Are they dangerous to humans?
German cockroaches have been linked to disease transmission in humans. As they crawl across fecal matter and other areas, they pick up germs on the spines of their legs and then transfer them to food and other surfaces. It has been proven that German cockroaches spread 33 different bacteria, 6 parasitic worms, and 7 other human pathogens. Their saliva, droppings, and even their dead bodies have proteins that can trigger allergies and increase asthma symptoms, especially in children.
How fast do they reproduce?
If you spot one German roach in your home, it is highly likely that there are many more hiding in cracks and crevices. Females can lay up to 40 eggs at a time which then mature within about 2 months. The female carries the egg case for up to a month and drops it right before it hatches. They can breed up to 6 generations per year. Adult German roaches can live up to 200 days. This quick reproductive rate combined with their lack of natural predators makes a German cockroach infestation difficult to control.
What are the signs of German cockroaches?
German cockroaches aggregate in groups when they infest your home. You are likely to find their droppings in areas that they frequent. These droppings appear as small, dark, pepper-like material that is often found on counters and in drawers. Their feces can also stain, leaving dark spots and smears in the corners of rooms, along the tops of doors, and around small cracks and openings in walls. When these roaches infest in large numbers, they can also give off a mild, musty odor.
How can you prevent them?
The first step in preventing a german cockroach infestation is practicing good hygiene. Keep your kitchen and bathroom clean, cleaning up crumbs and spills quickly. Sweep, mop, and vacuum often. Don’t leave any dirty dishes in the sink. Don’t leave pet food and water bowls out overnight. Seal all the openings in the exterior of your home, especially around utility pipes. Ventilate or consider enclosing your crawlspace.
If you suspect you have a cockroach infestation of any species, contact a professional pest control company who can provide you with an in-depth inspection and set you up with an appropriate treatment and prevention plan.