- Common Name(s): German Cockroach
- Order: Blattodea
- Family: Ectobiidae
- Common Species: Blattella germanica
- Commonly Confused With: Field, Brown-Banded, and Asian Cockroaches
How to Identify?
German roaches are tan to medium brown in coloration with two parallel black bands on the area directly behind their head (pronotum). They range from 1.3-1.5 centimeters in length and both the males and females are mostly incapable of flight. They tend to run and rely on speed rather than flight to escape from danger. Juvenile roaches have a slightly darker color than the adults with dark brown or black stripes running down most of the length of their body. These roaches will not have wings and cannot reproduce until they reach their adult stage.
Where do they live?
These roaches are most commonly found inside the home. They are one of the hardest roaches to combat and require a trained professional to eradicate. Once in the home they usually frequent kitchens and bathrooms due to the water and food availability in these areas. Within both the kitchen and bathroom these roaches frequent appliance motors, cabinets, light fixtures, closets, pantries, and wall, electrical, and plumbing voids.
What do they eat?
These roaches are very versatile in that they can eat almost ANYTHING. Sanitation is a big key to helping cut back on german roach problems, but sanitation alone is not going to solve your issue. They will eat crumbs, glue from books, scum left on dishes/stoves/in sinks, toothpaste, soap, and more. They have very few natural enemies and can flourish in almost every area of the home.
What do they do?
These roaches reproduce in vast numbers very quickly. All it takes is one fertilized female and you can have a massive infestation in a matter of weeks or months. They cause a serious problem because they have almost no natural predators and can survive on minimal sustenance. They travel throughout the home often infesting appliances and cabinets. Many times they are brought in with appliances or furniture bought at pawn shops or yard sales. They can also come in shipping boxes, fruit from farmers’ markets, visiting family or friends, and more. In apartments, it is easier for the roaches to spread quickly because units are attached by the voids between them. When these roaches fall they can open and flap their wings to stabilize themselves in mid-air, but they cannot really fly outside of this gliding behavior. These roaches are nocturnal and can be seen moving around infested areas at night. If you walk into a room, cut on the light, and see roaches scatter then you most likely have a german roach infestation and need to call Active right away for an inspection!
These insects have a very particular odor. It has been described by some as “musty” or “oily.” This smell is actually a mixture of their different pheromones (communication scents). In addition to the pheromones, german roach frass (poop) can also start to build up in cabinets and other areas. The combination of frass, pheromones, and molted exoskeletons (shed skin) has actually been shown to be a contributing factor of asthma in young children. This is in addition to all of the different pathogens (germs, viruses, bacteria) that they can spread from living in your cabinets!
Author: G. Wyatt West–A University of Georgia Graduate of Entomology
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