Most recently reviewed by: Pat Porter (2018)
Common Name(s): German cockroach
Adults are 1/2 to 5/8 inches long, light brown to tan, with two dark stripes on the shield (pronotum) behind the head. Females are often seen carrying a yellowish-brown egg capsule (ootheca) protruding from the end of the abdomen. Nymphs are generally darker with two prominent dark stripes surrounding a lighter tan spot or stripe on body midsection (thorax).
Origin and Distribution
German cockroaches are our most prolific cockroach species producing 3-6 generations per year. Besides its importance as a sign of poor sanitation used by health departments, the German cockroach has been implicated in the transmission of several pathogenic organisms and as a cause of allergic reactions for children and adults. Prompt attention to sanitation and control are necessary to prevent this pest from becoming abundant.
Habitat & Hosts
German cockroaches do not enter structures from outdoors, they are spread entirely by humans and live only indoors. German cockroaches spend most of their lives in cracks and protected void areas near sources of food and water.
Egg, nymph and adult.
ManagementIf you live in the State of Texas, contact your local county agent or entomologist for management information. If you live outside of Texas, contact your local extension for management options.
Control success depends not only on proper insecticide treatments, but on attention to good maintenance and housekeeping practices.
Cockroaches and their egg capsules are often introduced into buildings in packaging and boxes. An effective control program should include monitoring and inspection of the area where they have been seen.
- It’s much easier to prevent cockroach problems than to control these pests after they infest your home. Start by keeping your home clean.
- Do not leave food (or pet food) out or dirty dishes in the sink overnight.
- Clean up spilled food and drink immediately.
- If you feed your pets outside, move the food dishes away from doors.
- Clean kitchen counters, tables and floors often.
- Keep garbage in plastic bags and take the garbage out several times a week.
- Keep garbage cans and waste baskets clean.
- Rinse items to be recycled and do not let them accumulate for a long time. Take them to the recycling center often. Keep recycling bins clean.
- Repair plumbing leaks.
- Empty refrigerator drip pans regularly.
- Store food and pet food in glass or plastic containers with tight fitting lids.
- Use caulk to seal openings around plumbing pipes, ducts, electrical wiring, and any other openings where cockroaches can enter your home.
- Inspect boxes, furniture and other items before bringing them into your home.
- Before you buy or use any pesticide, read the label carefully. Be sure the product is labeled for cockroaches and for the site you will treat.
- Insecticide baits in childproof, plastic stations are safe, easy to use and effective. Try baits first.
- Insecticide gels in applicator tubes are also easy to use and very effective.
- Apply insecticide to baseboards, cracks, openings around water pipes, and under sink.
- If cockroaches remain a problem, hire a professional pest control service.
Cockroach Biology and Management, Texas A&M AgriLife Bookstore.