If you have ever lived in a rental home or an apartment complex you have most likely had an unsettling encounter with a German cockroach. German cockroaches are the most common species of cockroach and can be found in homes, apartments, restaurants, and hotels. Would you know how to tell if you have German cockroaches? What risks do they pose to you and your family? How can you prevent them? Check out the information below to get the answers to these questions and more.

APPEARANCE:

German cockroaches are light brown to tan in color with 2 parallel stripes on their backs, just behind their heads. They have 6 legs and an oval shape. They are 1/2″ to 5/8″ long and can fit through openings as small as 3/8″ in width.

HABITAT:

German cockroaches are found throughout the United States. They prefer to live in warm, humid environments close to food and water sources. They are frequently found in multi-unit apartment buildings, along with residential and commercial kitchens and bathrooms. They can be found behind and under appliances, as well as around appliance motors because of the warmth. They can also be found under counter edges and in the cracks and crevices behind backsplashes. They can be found under and behind cabinets and in the backs of drawer wells. They can also be found in the void areas around plumbing pipes.

HABITS:

German cockroaches can breed at a rate of up to 6 generations per year. They will feed on almost anything – even soap, glue, and toothpaste! They are also good hitchhikers and can make their way into your home on grocery bags, cardboard boxes, drink cartons, and in secondhand appliances.

THREATS:

German cockroaches can leave fecal matter in and around food. They reportedly spread 33 types of bacteria, 6 parasitic worms, and at least 7 other kinds of human pathogens. Their allergens can cause allergic reactions and can exacerbate asthma attacks, particularly in children.

PREVENTION:

Now that you know how to identify the German cockroach, check out these 9 tips to prevent them from coming into your home.

  1. Keep it clean. Good sanitation is the number one way to prevent cockroaches.
  2. Focus on the kitchen. Don’t leave food out overnight. Wash dirty dishes daily. Wipe up crumbs and spilled food, even in cabinets and pantries. Clean kitchen counters with disinfectant spray every night. Don’t forget the appliances. Roaches love to feast on grease and spilled food on, in, under, and behind your appliances, including your refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, microwave, toaster, and under the kitchen sink.
  3. Limit where you eat. Restrict food consumption to one room. This not only makes cleanup easier for you, it limit crumbs and spills that you might not notice in other rooms that provides another food source for roaches.
  4. Store all food in sealed containers. Roaches can fit inside the openings of typical cardboard packages that food comes in. This also applies to pet food. Pet food should be kept in a sealed container, preferably on the back porch so as to not attract roaches into the house. Pet food bowls and containers should also be emptied every night.
  5. Empty the trash. Make sure your trash can has a tight fitting lid and empty the trash each night. Make sure your outside trash cans are clean and kept away from the home.
  6. Roaches feed at night. Vacuuming the kitchen floor nightly eliminates the food supply for roaches. Vacuum the other rooms in your house every 2 to 3 days, as well. This helps to get rid of roach feces, body parts, and egg sacs. These contain pheromones that attract other roaches into your home.
  7. Get rid of entry points. Seal around utility pipes and crawl spaces. Make sure windows and doors are secure and have weather-stripping if necessary. Seal all cracks and crevices.
  8. Leave them homeless. Remove anything roaches can use for shelter, such as cardboard and paper.
  9. Call a pest control professional. If you suspect a roach infestation, contact an exterminator. Treatment plans can vary depending on the type of roaches you have. A pest control professional can do a thorough evaluation and set you up with a comprehensive treatment plan.