The German cockroach is one of the most commonly discussed pests in the United States for a number of reasons. They are widely dispersed throughout America, associated with unsanitary conditions, and prefer to live inside man-made structures like restaurants, homes, and buildings.
Not only is the German cockroach unsanitary, but it can also spread illness and disease via bacteria on its body, feet and feces.
Are you dealing with a German cockroach infestation? If so, it’s time to devise a plan of action and kick these pests to the curb. But how did you wind up with German cockroaches in your home and how can you prevent them from returning once you get rid of them? That’s what we’re here to find out.
Today, we are learning all about the German cockroach and sharing some of the best tips, products, and home remedies you can use to get rid of these nasty critters once and for all.
What Is A German Cockroach?
Though they have wings, adult German cockroaches cannot fly.
The German cockroach is a species of cockroach commonly found inside man-made structures, homes, restaurants, and other buildings rich in humidity. Despite its name, the German cockroach is believed to have originally come from Southeast Asia.
Now widely prevalent in the United States, the German cockroach is one of the most common pests found in homes. It is a small species of cockroach measuring only about ½ inch long with colors that vary from tan to dark brown to black. As an adult, the German cockroach has wings which sport dark brown stripes running from head to tip.
Interestingly, while the mature German cockroach does have wings, it doesn’t use them to fly unless distrubed. Even then, the roach will only glide or flutter clumsily.
The German cockroach is closely related to the Asian cockroach, though the main difference between the two is that Asian cockroaches are primarily found outdoors while the German cockroach has adapted to living inside human homes and buildings.
This is perhaps one of the most disconcerting facts about these creatures. Well, that and the fact that they reproduce so rapidly.
As adults, German cockroaches live only for about 100 to 200 days. During that time, however, a female German cockroach can produce up to 400 eggs, leading to a large infestation in a single home.
German cockroaches got through three basic life stages which include eggs, nyumpsh, and adults. During these three life stages they will experience several instars where they shed their skin and grow.
Nymphs resemble much smaller adult German Cockroaches, though they do not develop wings until they reach maturity, which generally takes about 100 days.
While German cockroaches do not cause structural damage to homes and buildings, they can be a serious pest in large numbers due to the health hazards they present. Recent studies have confirmed that an uptick in childhood asthma diagnoses has been directly linked to large infestations of German cockroaches in the home.
German cockroaches are also responsible for spreading filth and bacteria throughout homes due to their unsanitary habits and lifestyles. Some of the illnesses spread by German cockroaches include bacteria that causes food poisoning like E-coli and salmonella. They also spread dysentery.
Interested in more German cockroach facts? The below video goes into more detail about the German Cockroach.
And while the German cockroach prefers to live in human homes and environments rich with human activity, winding up with an infestation in your home may be easier than you think. So, why do you have roaches in your home?
Let’s find out.
What Attracts The German Cockroach To Homes?
German roaches can hitch rides into your home via old furniture or used luggage.
Wondering why you have a German cockroach infestation? These pests are rampant throughout the US and thrive in homes that provide them with an abundance of food, shelter and water.
In fact, German cockroaches are highly attracted to areas rich in humidity and are commonly found in bathrooms, kitchens, and near garbage bins. They are also attracted to food sources.
Omnivorous scavengers, German cockroaches have a vast diet that includes both plant-based and meat-based foods. They will also eat decaying organic matter, the lining of books, wallpaper glue, and even other insects including dead German cockroaches.
But how did the German cockroach get inside your home? These pests are small, meaning they travel well and often go unnoticed. While they can find their way into your home through opportunistic means such as cracks and crevices along your siding, ventilation systems, or piping, many people wind up infested in other ways.
In fact, a common means of transportation for a German cockroach is through used furniture, electronics or clothing.
Once inside your home, the nocturnal German cockroach will hide away in a warm, dark space until nightfall, at which time it will emerge to forage and eat. Because they are nocturnal, identifying a German cockroach infestation may not be easy to do in the early stages.
Luckily, there are some telltale signs you can look for to give you a heads up that you’re on the brink of an infestation.
How To Identify A German Cockroach Problem
Finding dead roaches in your home can be a sign of an infestation.
The nocturnal German cockroach is an expert hider, but as the colony grows there will be less and less room for these pests in their dark, cramped quarters.
As their numbers multiply, they will begin leaving signs as to where they have ventured throughout your home, including those listed below.
- Egg Casings
German cockroach egg casings, also called ootheca, can hold as many as 40 to 50 eggs at a time. Once these eggs hatch and the nymphs are born, they leave the casings behind.
These egg casings look similar to insects and are often elongated in shape like a grain of rice. Roach egg casings are also often shiny and dark brown.
The droppings of German cockroaches are often reddish or dark brown in color and resemble pepper flakes. These droppings can be found in abundance anywhere roaches have been or are hiding like beneath kitchen sinks, appliances, behind bookshelves and more.
Like rodent droppings German cockroach feces can carry bacteria and spread illness, so it’s important to sanitize any area thoroughly where you have found waste.
- A Foul, Musky Odor
German cockroaches emit a musky odor in large numbers. This odor is caused by a pheromone in their feces, which works as an attractant for other German cockroaches. This is one of the ways these insects communicate to each other where good sources of food, shelter and water are, and a good indicator that you are dealing with a large infestation.
- Dead German Cockroaches
Finding dead German roaches around your rhome could mean you are dealing with a very large infestation somewhere in your house. This is because a dead roach leaving its hiding spot to die signifies that wherever it is hiding may be pretty crowded. .
- Seeing A German Cockroach During The Day
Last but not least, if you see a live German cockroach during the day, it’s time to get to work devising a plan. Remember, German cockroaches are nocturnal and generally hide out in daylight. Finding one while the sun is still up could mean you’re dealing with a large infestation of German cockroaches.
How To Get Rid Of A German Cockroach Infestation – Most Popular Methods
German cockroach infestations can be eradicated using a few different methods and products.
If you’ve checked off that above list of ways to identify a German cockroach infestation in your home and know for sure you have one, don’t panic. These insects are certainly nasty, but we’re here to help you come up with a plan to take your home back.
You have several methods you can choose from when it comes to managing a German cockroach infestation including using natural methods, home remedies, insecticides or professionals.
We love the idea of using natural methods to get rid of German cockroaches and other pest infestations inside the home, especially considering many German roaches dwell in settings where food is stored and prepared.
Natural methods include a variety of products like sprays, ultrasonic sound repellers, and even natural dusts. Best of all, these methods are often the safest methods for people, pets and the environment.
That said, natural methods may not work on their own to eradicate a very large German cockroach infestation and may need to be paired up with some of the other methods listed below.
Anyone who likes natural methods of pest control or do it yourself pest control options will enjoy learning about the different home remedies available for taking care of pests like roaches.
German cockroaches may be stubborn and adaptable pests, but they are also sensitive and require certain environmental conditions in order to survive and thrive. With that in mind, there are a number of household ingredients you can use to make your home less hospitable to them and help drive out an infestation, which we’ll talk more about below.
Unfortunately, German cockroaches are a formidable foe. They reproduce at exponential rates and can spread serious illnesses and disease. In very large infestations, insecticides may be required.
While insecticides are an effective form of pest control, especially when it comes to tough pests like the German cockroach, we should note that they often contain harsh chemicals and toxins that can be dangerous to people, pets and the environment and should therefore only be used as directed and with caution.
Not every German cockroach infestation is going to require professional help from a pest control expert, but some instances of large infestations may be a sign of another pest problem in your home.
We will talk more about when the appropriate time to call a professional would be to help you eradicate a German cockroach infestation, but before we do, let’s go over some of our favorite products for how to get rid of a German cockroach infestation using natural products.
How To Get Rid Of The German Cockroach Using Natural Methods
Diatomaceous Earth and Borax Powder are natural insecticides that work to kill pests.
As we mentioned above, German cockroaches can be problematic, especially when an infestation gets out of control. However, if you have caught your infestation in its earlier stages, then using natural methods may be enough to quell the problem and eliminate an infestation from getting any worse.
Natural repellents are ideal for those dealing with roaches in their kitchen or in children’s bedrooms. They are also good for anyone with pets in the home or those of you who are environmentally conscious.
Let’s take a look at some of the best natural products you can use to get rid of a German cockroach infestation.
Gideal Sticky Roach Traps
First on our list of natural products you can use to get rid of German cockroaches are these sticky roach traps by Gideal. These traps will not eradicate an infestation but they will help you positively identify the roaches in your home and help you monitor the infestation as you go along with treatment.
The above traps are designed specifically for roaches and can be left flat or folded and slid in areas these pests commonly hide like beneath appliances, furniture, on bookshelves and in kitchen cabinets.
We also like that the traps are safe to use in homes with people and pets and do not require the use of baits or toxic chemicals.
Diatomaceous Earth Powder
If you are looking for an all natural product to control a German cockroach infestation inside your home, then you’ll love Diatomaceous Earth. This is a natural dust insecticide that is made from fossilized algae. It works on contact by penetrating the exoskeleton of roaches, which dehydrates and kills them.
This powder is completely harmless to people and pets and can even be used on plants and in gardens outside. To use it, we recommend using a duster to get into cracks, crevices, behind cabinets, beneath appliances, and anywhere else you have noticed roach activity.
Diatomaceous Earth also works on other pests like spiders, earwigs, ants, crickets, and more.
MDXconcepts Home Pest Control Spray
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Along with using dusts and traps, we also recommend having a spray on hand for monitoring a German cockroach problem in your home. We have listed the above spray by MDXconcepts for those looking for organic pest control options.
The spray uses ingredients like essential oils and plant based botanicals to repel and kill roaches and other pests like spiders, ants, crickets, earwigs, and even mosquitos.
That said, the spray above is for spot treatment or contact treatment and will not be enough on its own to eradicate a German cockroach infestation.
Boric Acid Roach Powder
Boric Acid is another natural dust insecticide that works to naturally kill pests like roaches and ants. It is a highly recommended pest killer because it works and provides you the opportunity to mix it with your own bait in order to kill pests.
The product works by expanding in the roaches stomach once it is ingested, which kills it instantly. You can mix the boric acid with powdered sugar or other food baits in order to entice the roach to eat, and then leave a small dish of water next to the bait to entice them to drink, as water is what makes the product expand.
This natural chemical is derived from minerals found in water, stones and soil, but it can be harmful to people and pets if ingested in large doses. That said, when used correctly it works well and can be an excellent tool to help eradicate a German cockroach infestation.
Boric Acid Roach Tablets
If you prefer not to mix and blend your own ingredients to make a boric acid roach bait from the powder above, you always have the option of purchasing boric acid roach tablets like those listed here.
These tablets are designed to kill roaches like the German cockroach once ingested. That said, this bait can be toxic to people and pets so use it only as directed and keep it out of reach of children.
Ultrasonic Pest Repeller
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Ultrasonic pest repellers are popular in many American households for year-round pest control because they are quiet, maintenance free, and easy to use. They work by emitting ultrasonic vibrations and sounds that go unnoticed by people and pets but are highly irritating to pests like the German cockroach.
This product also works to repel other home-invading pests like ants, spiders, earwigs, rats, mice, and sometimes even lizards and snakes.
Best Home Remedies To Get Rid Of The German Cockroach
White vinegar can be used as a homemade cleaning solution to repel German roaches and other pests.
Home remedies are highly underrated when it comes to pest control and getting rid of German cockroach infestations and we want to change that. There are so many household ingredients you can use right now to get rid of and control these annoying pests without spending a dime!
Take a look for yourself.
Baking Soda And Sugar Roach Bait
This is an age old recipe that we bet your grandma could have let you in on, but in case she didn’t we’re here to help. All you need to do is mix equal parts baking soda with equal parts powdered sugar and place it in a flat dish near where you have noticed roach activity. Like the boric acid tablets or powder, you can speed up the process by leaving a flat dish of water for roaches to drink nearby.
Once the baking soda is met with the water in the roaches stomach, it will expand and kill the pest.
The German cockroach loves starchy foods, so you can use instant potatoes the same way you might use baking soda or boric acid to bait and kill them. This is a safe method you can use that is harmless to people and pets, but deadly to insect pests like roaches and ants.
If you’re looking for a way to repel German cockroaches, we suggest making your own boiled catnip spray. If you have a cat, you might already have catnip in the house. If not, catnip is super easy to come by at local pet shops.
To make this spray, simply boil catnip in a liter of water for ten to fifteen minutes. Let the mixture cool, then pour it into a spray bottle. You can then spray the solution around entry and exit points in your home, along cracks and crevices, in cabinets, and anywhere else you suspect roach activity.
Tons of pests are repelled by the overwhelming scent of essential oils, but not every essential oil works for every pest. In the case of German cockroaches, the best essential oils to use are:
- Peppermint Oil
- Lavender Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
- Eucalyptus Oil
To make your own essential oil spray to repel the German cockroach, we suggest adding five to ten drops of the oil of your choice in two cups of water. Mix the solution in a spray bottle and spray it around your home and property to repel German cockroaches and even other pests like spiders, ants and dust mites.
White Vinegar And Water Spray
Keeping your countertops and other surface areas in your home clean is key to keeping pests like roaches at bay. If you aren’t a fan of chemical cleaning products, you can use white vinegar mixed with water.
White vinegar is not only a natural sanitizer, but the acidic smell will help repel pests like German cockroaches, ants, Indian meal moths, and other home-invading pests on the hunt for food sources.
To make a white vinegar spray, mix equal parts white vinegar with water in a spray bottle and get to work. You can use this spray as often as needed and on any countertops or surfaces you wish as it does not stain and is completely non toxic to people or pets.
How To Get Rid Of The German Cockroach With Insecticides and Poisons
While we do love the idea of using natural methods and home remedies to get rid of the German cockroach, we will admit that sometimes more intensive treatments are needed, especially in a very large infestation.
We have listed a few of the most highly recommended poisons and insecticide sprays for how to get rid of the German cockroach for you below.
Hot Shot Roach Killer Bait
First on our list is a liquid roach bait offered by Hot Shot. Hot Shot is a popular and well-trusted pest control brand used by many consumers. What we like about their roach bait above is that it targets a number of roach species, including the German cockroach.
It also targets roaches where they breed which can help eliminate infestations at the source. This bait is designed to be placed all around your home and can be placed beneath furniture and behind cabinets or anywhere else you have noticed roach activity.
Of course, the poison does contain chemical toxins that can be harmful to people and pets so use this product with caution in homes with children and animals.
Raid Roach Gel
The above gel by Raid is not a bait but works as a roach killer as well as a preventative. We recommend using it alongside other methods of removal for the German cockroach or even after you have already gotten rid of them if you are looking for a good preventive.
That said, it also works to kill roaches at the source and where they breed when applied correctly, especially if you are able to find the area where roaches are congregating.
Advion Cockroach Pest Control Plungers
The product above by Advion is a professional grade insecticide product that contains a chemical toxin known as indoxacarb. This product is commonly used in commercial buildings, schools, hotels, factories and restaurants, and it has been deemed safe and effective to use inside homes as well.
This product works to kill German cockroaches quickly and effectively and can prevent them from returning for an extended period after.
Combat Max Roach Killing Bait Stations
Last on our list of poison baits you can use to get rid of a German cockroach infestation are the above bait stations by Combat Max. These stations are specifically designed to eradicate German cockroaches who are smaller than other types of roaches and therefore sometimes need specific baits and treatments.
The stations allow the roaches to feed and have an extended killing time. Like ants, many roaches will take this bait back to their colony as well, which can in turn kill off even more roaches in the process.
How To Get Rid Of The German Cockroach – When To Call A Professional
A large infestation of German roaches can mean you have a secondary pest problem in your home as well.
Because large German cockroach infestations can lead to so many serious health issues, you may not want to wait to do your own pest control at home. While professional pest control experts can be expensive, they will generally be able to help you eradicate a German cockroach infestation quickly while also ensuring they pinpoint any other infestations or pest issues you may have in the home.
On average most pest control experts charge between $100 and $500 depending on your region and the severity of your infestation. Once you have managed to eradicate your German cockroach problem, your next step should be prevention so you never have to deal with them again.
How To Prevent A Future German Cockroach Problem In Your Home
Prevention is key when it comes to protecting your home from German cockroaches.
Having a German cockroach infestation is never fun, but they often won’t infest your home unless the conditions are ideal. While you may not be able to completely prevent a German cockroach from finding its way inside your house, there are some steps you can take to prevent one roach from turning into hundreds.
Reduce Excess Moisture Buildup
One of the things German cockroaches are most attracted to aside from food is a good water source. They love humidity and will stick around in homes that have had water damage or are experiencing water leaks. Repair any leaks you come across and dry spills or damage as soon as you find them.
Clean, Sanitize And Vacuum Often
You can reduce your chances of experiencing a roach infestation by removing any potential food sources. Clean, sanitize and vacuum often to ensure you get any potential crumbs you dropped while preparing or eating meals. And remember, cleaning your surfaces often using a vinegar-based cleaning solution can help repel roaches and other pests like ants.
Keep Food Properly Stored
Store perishable foods in the refrigerator when you are not using them and keep any pantry foods stored in airtight containers made of thick plastic or glass. It’s also best not to leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight. Instead, try soaking the dishes under water or putting them in the dishwasher.
Declutter Your Home
A German cockroach infestation is more likely to happen in homes and buildings with lots of clutter. This is because, in clutter, there is often a buildup of dust, debris, dead insects, and more. Clutter also provides these pests with good places to hide and breed. Decluttering can help reduce these spaces and prevent large German cockroach infestations from spreading.
Seal and Caulk Possible Entry Points
Practice routine home maintenance around your house to keep pests like roaches from being able to find their way in. Patch any holes along the siding of your house and caulk and seal cracks and crevices. We also recommend repairing any ill fitted or ripped screens and making sure doors and windows shut and seal securely.
Inspect, Clean and Sanitize Used Furniture Or Luggage Coming Into Your Home
Because German cockroaches often find their way inside homes through human travel, do your best to carefully inspect any used furniture or luggage you may have purchased at a second hand or thrift store. Then, before bringing it into your home, clean and sanitize it thoroughly. Practicing this good habit can also save you from bed bugs.
Remember, German cockroaches are incredibly common throughout the US, but with persistence and follow through, you should be able to get rid of them and prevent them from returning in no time.
Best of luck!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.