German Cockroach

German Cockroach Control & Removal: Protect Your Home


What Do German Cockroaches Look Like?
german cockroach image

  • Size: Small and elusive, German cockroach adults are only about 1/2 to 5/8 inches (13 to 16 mm) long.
  • Color: German cockroaches range in color from light brown or honey brown to tan, with females appearing darker than males.
  • Characteristics: In addition to its small size, the German cockroach is characterized by a pair of dark stripes that run parallel to each other down the back of the insect. Members of the common cockroach species boast fully developed wings, which the insects use to glide through the air for short distances on rare occasions. Females possess a broader abdominal section than males and thus appear larger.

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  • The most common species of pest cockroach in the world, German cockroaches are small enough to fit into the tiniest crevices and seemingly appear out of nowhere.
  • They prefer to live in warm, moist environments and are often found in kitchen or bathroom areas indoors.
  • The prevalence of German cockroaches largely stems from their ability to produce more eggs and develop more rapidly than other cockroach species.


What Do German Cockroaches Eat?
German cockroaches scavenge for food and demonstrate particular fondness for:

  • Starchy or sugary items
  • Grease
  • Meats

In addition to foods found in the kitchen, the German cockroach diet often includes household commodities like:

  • Glue
  • Soap
  • Toothpaste

The pests frequently locate suitable food sources in garbage discarded by humans.


The German cockroach life cycle begins with the production of eggs, which the female carries in a purse-shaped capsule that protrudes from the abdomen. Each capsule holds about 30 to 40 eggs and requires an incubation period of about 14 to 35 days.

Just before the eggs hatch, the female leaves the capsule in a crevice or similarly protected area. After hatching, newborn German cockroaches enter the nymphal stage of the life cycle and develop into adults by molting six or seven times over the course of about twelve weeks.

Adults typically live for an additional three to seven months and produce as many as six generations of offspring during that time.


  • Frequently gain entry into residential and commercial structures by hitching rides in cardboard boxes, grocery bags, drink containers, and secondhand furniture or appliances.
  • Mainly emerge at night to search for food and water.
  • Often found in or around kitchen cabinets, dishwashers, refrigerators, stoves and sinks.
  • Can fit into cracks and crevices as narrow as 3/16 of an inch.

Problems Caused by German Cockroaches

  • Germs
    Though sometimes regarded as mere nuisance pests, German cockroaches are capable of causing serious problems. Like all pest cockroaches, the German variety regularly lives in or crawls through unsanitary spaces.
  • Pathogens
    When the insects forage for food in kitchens and other indoor areas, the germs and bacteria on their legs and bodies often spread to items that humans commonly eat or touch. The transmitted contaminants appear to have the potential to cause gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea or food poisoning.
  • Allergies
    In addition to contaminating food and household items, German cockroaches cause health problems stemming from the allergens released by their excrement and shed skins. The presence of roach feces or molted skins can result in allergic reactions and even trigger asthma attacks. Children remain most susceptible to the asthmatic effects of cockroach allergens.

Signs of Infestation

  • Cast Skin
    Due to the number of molts cockroaches complete as nymphs, the skin casings cast off by the insects are a telltale sign of a German cockroach infestation.
  • Droppings
    The pests also leave behind droppings and empty egg capsules on a regular basis.
  • Daytime Activity
    Witnessing German cockroach activity during the day is often another sign of infestation, as the insects are typically most active at night and emerge at other times only in response to extraordinary circumstances like the existence of a large number of cockroaches in a highly concentrated area.

Prevention Tips

To prevent a German cockroach infestation from occurring, proper sanitation and effective home maintenance are essential.

Proper sanitation involves:

  • Cleaning up spills
  • Sweeping up crumbs
  • Washing dirty dishes
  • Vacuuming often
  • Storing food in sealed containers
  • Emptying the garbage daily

Effective home maintenance consists of sealing the holes produced by utility pipes passing through the walls especially in kitchens and bathrooms.

Additionally, do not store bags or cardboard in kitchen areas where German cockroaches can hide and breed.

Tips for Removal from Home

  • Challenge to Remove
    Successfully removing German cockroaches from the home can quickly become an overwhelming challenge due to the reproductive abilities of the insects. German cockroaches produce more eggs per egg capsule and complete the life cycle faster than other pest cockroach species.
  • Infestations Spread Fast
    Furthermore, new egg capsules begin forming only a couple weeks after females deposit the incubated ones for hatching. As a result, infestations may soon spiral out of control even despite the effects of publicly available insecticides.
  • Fogging Does More Harm than Good
    DIY fogging should not be attempted because it can spread the problem or drive cockroaches deeper into walls.

In most cases, the best way to handle a German cockroach infestation is to contact a licensed pest control professional with experience in eliminating the notoriously elusive and rapidly reproducing insects. Call Western for a free inspection.

Call for service: (877) 250-3857

Learn more about cockroach control in general and Western’s comprehensive Home Pest Control Plans.