Although the name implies a European ancestry, many scientists now believe that the German cockroach actually originated in either Africa or Asia. Regardless of their point of origin, the German roach has proven its remarkable adaptability by spreading to every continent except Antarctica and even to many of the world’s major islands. Many pest control professionals consider the German roach to be the most troublesome of all roach species that choose to make their homes inside human structures. German roaches are one of the most common types of roaches found in restaurants, hotels, food-processing facilities, schools and nursing homes as well as apartments and homes.
Identification of German Roaches
German cockroaches are typically between one-half inch and three-fourths inch in length, making them slightly smaller than American cockroaches. Adult German roaches are tan or brown, but the nymphs may appear black in color. Adults and nymphs alike have two horizontal stripes behind their heads. Although they are capable of gliding, they cannot actually fly and tend to prefer running to gliding.
How Infestations Begin
Most of the time, humans introduce German cockroaches into a home or building when boxes, cardboard containers or bags are carried inside. They may also be lurking in used furniture, appliances, and electronics. In apartment buildings, the roaches can move easily between apartments, using pipes and vents as highways. One fertilized female can produce as many as 50 offspring, and her offspring will be reproductive in less than 60 days. In very little time, a home can be seriously infested with German cockroaches.
Where German Roaches Are Typically Found
Like most cockroaches, German roaches prefer small, confined spaces in rooms that are warm and humid. Kitchens and bathrooms are among their favorite environments, but they may also be found around water heaters, laundry appliances and furnaces in basements. Look for droppings, egg casings or dead roaches in the following places.
• Under and behind microwaves, stoves, toasters and refrigerators
• In cracks and crevices in cabinets, particularly the corners
• Around and under sinks
• In recycling bins
• Behind items hanging on the wall, especially in the kitchen and bathroom
• In cracks between walls and floors
Risks Associated with German Roaches
German cockroaches are scavengers who will eat just about anything. When traveling, they have no aversion to using sewers as highways. Whether they are securing a meal or relocating, the germs that they encounter cling to their feet and antennae. Upon arriving in a home, they can spread these germs, contaminating foods, dishes, and surfaces.
Cockroaches are suspected or proven carriers of the organisms that cause typhoid fever, plague, dysentery, leprosy, and cholera as well as E. coli and salmonella. In addition, they can carry a range of viruses, including the one that causes poliomyelitis, and they have been found to carry the eggs belonging to certain parasitic worms.
In addition to the health risks, German roaches can damage books and fabrics when they drop feces or disgorge partially digested food. Although most species of cockroaches can produce unpleasant odors when present in large numbers, individual German cockroaches can emit a foul odor if they are frightened or excited.
Why German Roaches Are Attracted to Human Environments
Human habitations tend to provide everything that German roaches need to thrive. The temperature is kept at a level that provides the warmth that roaches prefer. Water and food are readily available; roaches are not picky eaters, so they can survive on food crumbs, soap, pet food, glue, grease, toothpaste or virtually any other source of protein, fat, sugar or starch. Whether food is left in the garbage disposal, thrown in the trash, left on unwashed dishes or spilled in the oven, roaches will find it. Therefore, eradicating an infestation will require a combination of good sanitary practices and professional treatment.
If You Have a German Roach Problem
Once German roaches have invaded your home or business, you will need a thorough, comprehensive treatment plan to control them. At RID Pest Control, we have been helping commercial and residential customers throughout Atlantic and Cap May counties since 1979. We have the knowledge and experience to solve your pest problems in a safe, effective manner. Call us today to learn how we can help you.