German Cockroach

What do German cockroaches look like? 

  • Color: light brown to tan; two dark parallel bars on the pronotum (i.e., shield-like segment behind the head).
  • Size: 1/2 to 5/8 inches.
  • German cockroaches have fully developed wings which cover their abdomen.
  • Egg capsule (ootheca) is light brown, 1/4 to 3/8 inches long, and typically contains 15 to 20 eggs.  
  • German cockroaches go through gradual metamorphosis—meaning that the early stage nymphs appear like smaller versions of adults.

What are the habits of German cockroaches?

  • Carrying her eggs within her abdomen, females produce four to eight egg capsules each of which contains 30 to 40 eggs.
  • Developmental time from egg to adult is approximately 103 days.
  • Three to four generations per year may occur.
  • Life span of adults: 100 to 200 days.
  • German cockroaches typically infest kitchens and bathrooms, but live anywhere within a heated structure containing food, water and harborage.
  • German cockroaches are typically Introduced into structures in grocery bags, cardboard boxes, drink cartons, infested equipment, e.g., used refrigerator, toaster, microwave, etc.
  • Feed on all types of human food, as well as pet food, toothpaste, soaps, glues, etc.

What kind of damage occurs from German cockroaches?

  • Potential mechanical transmitters of many bacterial, fungal, viral and protozoan diseases primarily through contamination of food preparation surfaces.
  • Their body parts, excretions and secretions can cause mild to severe allergies, asthma and hypersensitivity reactions—especially in children.

What should I look for?

  • Fecal deposits and brown secretory deposits within cabinets, appliances, etc…
  • Strong, unpleasant, musk odor indicative of large population.
  • Infestation can occur in stoves, microwaves, food containers, etc…

How do I control and kill German cockroaches?

  • Self-treating for German cockroaches is typically very challenging as they can be found in large populations and resistance to products is widely known.
  • Detailed inspections can be performed with a flashlight.
  • Clean-up to reduce cockroaches must focus mainly on the food residue in and around coffee machines, microwave ovens, stoves, refrigerators, trash cans, furniture, and areas where exposed food is stored
  • Clutter should be reduced as cockroaches prefer to hide in stacked boxes, cartons, and stored paper and cardboard materials, especially in dark, damp locations near food.
  • Vacuum cleaning can be used to physically remove exposed cockroaches.
  • Cardboard and plastic sticky traps should be used to pinpoint sources of cockroach infestation and to monitor areas of suspected infestation.
  • Moisture sources should be eliminated by repairing leaks, improving drainage, and installing screened vents in order to increase airflow.
  • Caulk should be used to eliminate harborage and prevent entry into structures, e.g., especially eliminate cracks at which sinks and fixtures are mounted to the wall and/or floor; around all types of plumbing, baseboard molding and corner guards where shelves and cabinets meet walls and door frames; and cracks on or near food preparation surfaces. Cockroach access routes from wall voids into occupied spaces should be sealed with caulk or grout, especially around plumbing and electrical fixtures.
  • Basement floor drains should be protected with screens or basket inserts and cleaned regularly.
  • Gel baits, liquid adulticides, residual liquid and dust preparation insecticides can all be used to treat German cockroach infestations.  

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