Mosquitoes flying around

How To Get Rid of German Cockroaches

July 04, 2022

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

The first glimpse of a cockroach, with its quick-moving, tiny legs housed under that flat, oval-shaped husky body can set most of us into a frenzy. Understandably, cockroaches aren’t the most welcome insect in your home. But learning about the different types of cockroaches, the risks they may pose, and how to get rid of them will help you effectively deter these houseguests in the future.

German cockroaches are one of the most common types of cockroaches. Most professional pest control services cater their treatments specifically to this species. Find out what they look like, what they eat, where they live, and if they’re dangerous in our guide below.

What are German cockroaches?

German cockroaches are a species of cockroach found all over the world. They are also the most common type of cockroach you may come across in your home. They’re around the same size as the diameter of a penny.

Since they’re scavengers, they’ll nosh on any and all unattended food sources they can find. And because they travel through any and all environments to find the perfect shelter, they can carry and spread diseases and contaminate food when they touch it.

What do German cockroaches look like?

These insects are usually light brown or tan. They’re most easily identifiable by their unused wings and parallel stripes down their back. German cockroaches have six legs like other insects. When in doubt, look for the oval body shape, color, and long antennae to determine if it fits the description of a German cockroach (as seen below).

Where do German cockroaches live?

Cockroaches feel most at home in warm and humid locations. A location near a food source is always a plus, which is why you may find them living in your kitchen cabinets, pantry, or humid bathroom. Any crack or crevice located near food and water can act as a home for cockroaches. German cockroaches can move through a hole as small as 3/8 of an inch.

You can also find cockroaches in cardboard boxes or grocery bags since they like to eat adhesive and hide in the seams and dark corners of these items. If a cockroach is in a box or bag you bring into your home, you may have introduced the beginnings of an infestation.

What do German cockroaches eat?

These cockroaches will eat basically anything they can find; they’re not picky. It doesn’t even have to be food—they’re known to eat glue, toothpaste, and soap, too.

To prevent cockroaches in your home, limit any accessible food sources by properly storing food and soap in airtight containers. Make sure to also throw food away within a sealed trash receptacle.

How long do German cockroaches live?

They can live as long as a year and a half if they find a place with ideal conditions to lay their eggs and thrive. The average adult cockroach can produce as many as 400 eggs. This is why you’ll also want to take an offensive approach to cockroach control if you find any signs of an infestation.

Are German cockroaches dangerous?

The short answer is “yes.”

German cockroaches can carry serious diseases including (but not limited to) salmonella. Cockroaches don’t typically bite humans, but if they do, it can trigger serious allergic reactions in some people to the cockroach’s bodily secretions and waste.

Their legs, in particular, carry antibiotic-resistant bacteria that they pick up as they crawl through decaying matter, sewage, or worse. The bacteria spreads as they crawl on your kitchen counters and over any accessible food. Cockroaches are also known (and reported) to not only spread bacteria, but also parasitic worms and other kinds of human pathogens.

How to get rid of German cockroaches

Aside from calling a professional pest control service like Hawx to assess the severity of your infestation and adequately treat your home, including all the small cracks and crevices, there are a couple of home habits and remedies you can try on your own. These include:

  • Following the droppings so you can find cockroach shelters; they look like small, black specks of pepper left on counters or in drawers
  • Setting traps or poison bait in areas you’ve seen them
  • Closing up any loose or open food leftovers so they lose their food source
  • Cleaning all dishes immediately and not leaving and dirty ones with leftover food in your sink
  • Sealing any cracks in your home that may serve as cockroach entry points

While these habits will serve you well in the long term, they won’t address an infestation once it occurs.

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