German Roaches vs American Roaches: What's the Difference?

German Roaches vs American Roaches: What's the Difference?

Roaches can vary significantly in size and color (some even fly!), so it can be difficult to know what kind of cockroach you’re dealing with. Identification is the first step in roach control since the type of roach will determine the best treatment methods. Here are the 2 most common cockroaches you’ll see in your home and tips for getting rid of and preventing them:

German Cockroaches

German roaches are one of the most common pest nuisances in residential structures, especially common in multi-unit apartment homes. They thrive in filth but even the cleanest homes can be at risk.
A german cockroach on a white background

What do they look like?

  • Brown with 2 longitudinal stripes running down the thorax
  • 1/2 to 5/8 inches long

Where do they live?

  • German cockroaches will live anywhere humans build heated structures
  • Usually found in kitchens in secluded areas (behind and under appliances, in cracks and crevices behind backslashes, at counter edges, behind and under cabinets, in void areas around plumbing, backs of drawer wells)
  • Will infest warm areas around appliance motors such as refrigerators and dishwashers

What are the risks?

  • German cockroaches will invade your home and leave fecal matter and other debris in and around food and food preparation areas
  • Can enter homes when boxes or products are shipped moved from one location to another
  • Reproduces at a high rate, completing a life cycle in 30 to 45 days
  • Produces 30-48 eggs at a time
  • Difficult to get rid of once infested

How do you get rid of them?

  • German roaches are most commonly treated inside a home with baits, sprays, or an aerosol product (baits preferred)
  • Roaches disperse the bait back into their refuge sites when they ingest it
  • Most have a secondary and even a tertiary killing effect, meaning roaches that die in the harborage site from a bait are cannibalized by their fellows, causing additional mortality
  • Sprays are applied to surfaces that roaches crawl across or into harborage areas
  • Often mixed with insect growth regulators (IGR) will reduce or eliminate egg production and cause mortality in immature forms of the German cockroach
  • Aerosols are referred to as crach and crevice treatments; forces roaches out of their harborage sites with a product that excite their nervous system (flushing agent)
  • Then sprayed directly with a contact product
  • Residual aerosols may be applied into harborage areas and onto surfaces where roaches crawl in the same manner as sprays (commonly sold as over the counter remedies for homeowners, but typically has a short life span)
  • Professional pest control is recommended

American Cockroaches (Palmetto Bugs)

American roaches, also known as palmetto bugs or waterbugs, are large, sometimes fly, and usually only come indoors in search of warmth, food or water.
An American Cockroach with a gray background

What do they look like?

  • Reddish brown in color and have a yellowish margin on their body
  • 1.5 to 2 inches in length
  • Largest cockroach in the U.S.

Where do they live?

  • American cockroaches usually lives in dark, damp areas such as sewers, storm drains, steam tunnels, and outdoors in landscaping and tree holes
  • Prefer warm, dark, humid environments in homes such as wall voids, crawl spaces, basements, utility rooms, or attics
  • Typically feed on decaying organic matter and a variety of other foods

What are the risks?

  • Not commonly seen in homes
  • May move indoors during colder months seeking warmer temperatures and food through openings in the foundation

How do you get rid of them?

  • Granular baits in attics and crawl spaces
  • Dust in attic and crawl spaces
  • Perimeter spray treatments
  • Perimeter granular bait treatments
Where Are All of These Roaches Coming From?

Where Are All of These Roaches Coming From?

Roaches are often a source of confusion for a lot of homeowners. Where are they coming from? Why do I have them? Does it mean my house isn’t clean? How do I get rid of them and how do I prevent them? The answers to these questions largely depend on what kind of roaches you’re seeing. If you’re seeing large roaches, infrequently and at this time of the year, it’s most likely in the American Cockroach family. A more severe infestation is usually characterized by smaller roaches, seen frequently, usually in kitchens but often throughout the house in more severe cases. These roaches, German Cockroaches, are much harder to get rid of and often require a professional, monthly treatment by an exterminator. Find out more on German cockroach infestations here. For more on American roach prevention, keep reading.

It’s likely that you’re seeing these large roaches due to the changing of seasons, the abundance of rain, or from providing a food source to roaches, attracting them to your home. The good news: American cockroaches are easy to get rid of and prevent if the right pest control approach is taken.

Here are 5 things you can do at home to get rid of roaches and prevent them from coming back:

1. Keep floors clean – sweep, vacuum and mop often.

2. Don’t leave food out. Keep counter tops, floors, stovetops, & microwaves clean of debris and seal any leftover food in containers, including pet food.

3. Take out the trash. Leaving garbage in and around your home will definitely attract all kinds of roaches. Take it out often and keep it away from your home’s exterior.

4. Seal gaps, holes, cracks and crevices. If you’re not sure how to find these, contact your local pest control company. A professional will inspect your home and identify & correct potential entry points.

5. Treat. In order to get rid of existing roach infestations, an eco-friendly pest control treatment is recommended, consisting of interior and exterior applications – targeted for American roach elimination – and an ongoing prevention program which usually involves quarterly exterior treatments.


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The Threat of German Cockroaches

German CockroachThe German cockroach is the most common cockroach found in structures.  They can invade your home at anytime of the year and once they do, they can increase in population very quickly.  A cockroach can produce 30-48 eggs at a time and those eggs can go on to reproduce in 30-45 days.

At first, German cockroaches will find food, water, and warmth in the home which is usually found in the kitchen and bathroom.  But once an infestation occurs they can be found anywhere in the structure and can be difficult to get under control.

Cockroaches can bring about many health and safety concerns.  When they invade your home they leave fecal matter and other debris on food and food preparation surfaces.  Roaches are also known to cause allergies in children.  The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences reports “one-in-five children in the United States have severe sensitivities to cockroach allergens, which increase the severity of asthma symptoms.”

If you have a roach infestation call a professional pest control company immediately.  The quicker you can get the infestation under control, the better for the health of your home and your peace of mind.  Call Northwest Exterminating to get rid of roaches in your home or business.

Palmetto Bugs

American CockroachAmerican Cockroaches, or the Palmetto Bug, have been making appearances in homes all over the South recently.  Reddish brown in color with a yellow marking, palmetto bugs can grow to be 1.5 to even 2 inches in length.  These roaches have wings but are not good flyers.

Cockroaches are found in residences and commercial buildings…anywhere that has food and water sources.  Homes, restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, food processing plants, and even hospitals are common places that cockroaches can be found.  Kitchens, food storage areas, and basements are the usual areas roaches are found in because of food and water.  They can be found in dark, moist places like basements, drains, tubs, and sewers looking for water.

Keep roaches from invading your structure by:

  • Sealing off entry points.
  • Caulking around pipes and drains.
  • Keep kitchen and food preparation areas clean, especially at night.
  • Use a disinfectant on counter tops.
  • Wash, dry, and put away dishes.
  • Tightly seal food.
  • Tightly seal and remove garbage.

Roaches can be difficult to control once they have infested your home. Call the professionals for a quick and efficient way to get roaches out of your home.

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