German Cockroach Facts & Control in New England

Picture of German Cockroach

Protect Your Home or Business From German Cockroaches

The German cockroach, known by the scientific name Blattella germanica L., is one of the most highly adaptable species of insect. The German cockroach primarily inhabits indoor spaces, predominantly in urban and suburban areas with dense populations. The most commonly encountered urban pest, this insect frequently resides in major cities.

Where Can You Find Them?
New England serves as a prime region for German cockroaches due to extreme population densities, including several major cities, which provide damp and dark living spaces with adequate food sources. The pests are commonly found in apartment complexes, hotels, homes, and other commercial/residential structures throughout expanding urban areas.

Appearance

Relatively small in size, German cockroaches typically measure between 3/8 of an inch and half an inch long. Adult specimens generally feature tan or light-brown coloration, large wings, six legs, two long antennae protruding from the head, and two black stripes just behind the pronotum that run the length of the thorax.

Males tend to have skinnier bodies with more defined abdominal and terminal segments, while females boast thicker frames, rounder abdomens, and an extra set of wings. During developmental or nymph stages, German varieties appear darker brown or even black in color.

Habits

The nocturnal insects spend most of the day well hidden in warm, dark, and damp areas. At night, the pests look for food and suitable mates. If German cockroaches are seen during the day, then the population within the structure is large enough that ideal hiding places are not available for all cockroaches.

German cockroaches regularly emit a foul odor as a defense mechanism. Though the insects possess wings, they do not fly. The pests mate continuously upon reaching the adult stage.

Migration patterns usually include moving from building to building, home to home, or room to room within a home. German cockroaches move on as food sources dry up and indoor climates change. The cockroaches may migrate outdoors during warm, humid summer months before finding shelter in a new building or structure once food or adequate shelter is needed.

Diet

German cockroaches are considered generalist feeders. Primary food sources include:

  • Beverage residues
  • Fermented/rotted foods
  • Starches
  • Sweets

German cockroaches also eat meats and other processed foods. Garbage cans or dumpsters serve as main food sources for cockroaches, especially those left unattended.

Reproduction

German cockroaches reproduce by egg. Once fertilized by a male, females produce a small sack or capsule which holds between 30 and 50 eggs at a time. The egg capsule remains attached to the abodome of the female cockroach.

A healthy female produces eight capsules during her lifetime. German cockroach eggs hatch within a few days of the egg capsules creation.

The insects then go through 6-7 nymphal cycles lasting around 40-125 days, on average, before reaching adulthood. An adult lives from 20 to 30 weeks and produces multiple generations in a single year.

Problems Caused by German Cockroaches

German Cockroaches on Food

German Cockroaches on Food

The main concern humans face with German cockroach infestations is the risk of food contamination. Cockroaches notoriously congregate in garbage, mold, and other materials potentially hazardous to human health. The pests regularly inhabit kitchens and, due to eating many similar foods as humans, may spread illnesses through unattended foods.

The foul odor produced by the insect is also known to change the taste of foods that have come in contact with German cockroaches. Gastroenteritis is cited as a common incident related to food contaminated by cockroaches. Other viruses and harmful bacteria may also be transmitted by the insects. Reported cases also exist of allergic reactions to cockroach shells and wastes left behind by the insect.

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