How Do You Get Rid of German Cockroaches?

How Do You Get Rid of German Cockroaches?

Along with death and taxes, sometimes it seems that cockroaches are one of those unpleasant things you just can’t avoid. Scientists agree that roaches are one of the most successful animals on the planet. According to entomologist Steve Jacobs:

  • Fossil evidence shows that cockroaches have been on the earth for over 300 million years!
  • Today, about 3,500 species of cockroaches can be found throughout the world.
  • There are 55 cockroach species that make their home right here in the United States.

So why are these little critters so hard to get rid of and how can you protect your home or business? Today let’s get more acquainted with the most common roach found in the U.S.: the German cockroach.

Why Are German Cockroaches So Hard to Control?

There are two short answers to that question:

  1. They reach sexual maturity very quickly.
  2. They produce a large number of eggs per capsule.

The German roach goes through three developmental stages: egg, nymph, and adult.

Egg stage. The female produces a light brown, purse-shaped egg capsule that is less than ¼” long and contains about 30 to 48 eggs. Each female will produce 4 to 8 capsules during her lifetime. Eggs are deposited into crevices or other shelter, where they take about 28 days to hatch.

Nymph stage. Nymphs have no wings and are dark brown to black in color. They go through about 6 molts before reaching the adult stage. German roach nymphs spend most of their time foraging for food and water.

Adult stage. Adult German roaches are ½” to ⅝” long. They are tan to light brown with two parallel lines running from head to wings. Although they have wings, German roaches don’t fly.

  • Males are thin and slender with a tapered abdomen not covered by their outer wings.
  • Females have a stout body with a rounded abdomen that is entirely covered by their wings.

Because German roaches breed continuously, their population grows exponentially in a very short time. An actively growing population consists of about 80% nymphs and 20% adults. They feast on an omnivorous diet that can include table scraps, pet food, and even books!

Where Do German Cockroaches Come From?

As you may have noticed, German roaches love to live near humans — that’s why they take up residence in our homes and businesses. They enter by hitching a ride in boxes, bags, suitcases, and other items when you bring them inside.

These scavenger insects seek out warm, dark shelters with lots of food and water nearby.

  • Their favorite foods include starches, sweets, grease, and meat.
  • German roaches are mostly active at night, when they forage for food and water. It’s also when they prefer to mate.
  • Their wide, flat bodies move easily in and out of small cracks, where they typically hide in the dark during daylight hours.
  • If you see German roaches during the day — it indicates that you have a large population and/or that they are under some kind of stress.
  • They don’t like cold temperatures. Studies show that German cockroaches are unable to colonize inactive ships during cold temperatures, or survive in homes in cold climates that don’t have central heating systems.

What Problems Are Caused by German Cockroaches?

Once German cockroaches invade your home or business, they can make their presence known in a number of ways. Even if you don’t happen to encounter one scurrying away as you turn on the lights, you may notice one or more of the following signs:

  • Odor. German cockroaches — and their dead remains — can produce a musty smell in or near the infestation site.
  • Food contamination. Their excrement and other secretions can contaminate improperly stored food, sometimes affecting the flavor.
  • Allergies. Their excrement and cast skins may cause allergic reactions, including skin rashes, watery eyes, sneezing, nasal congestion, and asthma.
  • Disease-causing organisms. They carry bacteria, protozoans, and viruses, which can be deposited on food, utensils, and dishes. These pathogens can cause a number of symptoms including gastroenteritis, food poisoning, and diarrhea.

Can You Prevent Cockroaches?

Sanitation and sealing up entryways are key to reducing your risk of a German cockroach infestation:

  • Clean up spills and crumbs immediately.
  • Don’t leave dirty dishes unwashed overnight.
  • Keep all food tightly sealed and properly stored.
  • Seal all cracks and crevices where roaches and other pests could enter your home.
  • Caulk openings around pipes, vents, and electrical wires.

How Do You Inspect for a German Roach Infestation?

If you’ve seen a German cockroach or suspect that you have an infestation, it is important to inspect your property more closely. Identifying where they are nesting will help with more effective pest control methods.

  • Roaches are particularly fond of living near kitchens and bathrooms, so those are good places to start. However, they may be found throughout a home or place of business.
  • Their excrement looks very similar to black pepper.
  • Use a flashlight to check the following locations:
    • Cracks and crevices
    • Behind and under refrigerators
    • Behind and under stoves
    • Behind and under microwaves and toasters
    • Under table tops
    • Behind and under sinks
    • Corners, cracks, and crevices of cabinets
    • Refrigerator motor
    • Motor of soft drink machines
    • Switchboxes and electrical outlets
    • Under and behind cafeteria counters and soda fountains
    • Cash registers
    • Telephones
    • Vegetable bins
    • Recycling bins
    • Meat counters and check-out stands
    • Meat cutting blocks

Another popular technique for investigating a possible infestation is to set up cockroach traps. You can place sticky traps, along with bait, at strategic locations, such as alongside walls, in corners, shelves, and drawers, and under cabinets or equipment.

What’s the Best Way to Get Rid of German Roaches?

There are several commonly used methods for deploying insecticides to fight a German cockroach infestation:

  • Cockroach bait
  • Sprays
  • Dusts
  • Powders

There are also a few non-toxic and low-toxic alternatives:

  • Sticky traps to monitor or reduce population size
  • Sanitation — eliminate food and water
  • Reducing clutter
  • Sealing cracks and holes


Because of their high rate of reproduction and large population size, these methods may have only limited effectiveness in eliminating an entire infestation. A professional cockroach extermination service is often the most effective option for getting rid of German cockroaches. If you have questions about how to eliminate German roaches or other pests, contact AmeriPest Solutions. We’re here to help you keep your home or business pest-free!