Identifying And Preventing German Cockroach Infestations

If you find a cockroach in your house, you could (rightly) be worried about whether there are more, what the implications of an infestation are, and how you will fight them. Since cockroaches are notoriously hard to kill, identifying the type of cockroach and practicing basic methods of prevention are the first step in implementing pest control. German cockroaches are the most common household cockroach.

How can you identify the German cockroach?

You have probably heard stories about cockroaches as large as sparrows, but German cockroaches, fortunately, cannot grow this large. They are usually only about a 1.5 centimeters long, or about half an inch. They also do not really fly like Asian or American cockroaches. However, just because they cannot fly or grow very large does not mean they are not troublesome. They are brown in color, with two darker stripes near the head. 

What are some signs that you have a cockroach problem?

Just because you notice one insect does not necessarily mean you need to panic. However, there are some signs to look for, including:

  • increased allergy symptoms. If you have unexplained itchy eyes, a runny nose, or burning in the eyes, this can indicate a larger cockroach problem. Humans are sensitive to fecal matter and cockroach secretions, so increased allergies can indicate increased exposure. If you have these symptoms and see an occasional bug, it's best to call a pest control company to assess the situation.
  • serious illness. Just like allergies, increased illness, especially sicknesses that are related to pests, are a sign that your cockroach problem needs professional attention. The German cockroach is a carrier for many diseases, including bacteria that cause diarrhea and dysentery. 
  • signs of cockroach activity. Nest and tunnels in places like the compost pile are common. You can also see cockroaches crawling in and around household drains. These are typical habitats for German cockroaches. 

How can you prevent infestations?

Because these insects are smaller than other types of cockroaches, they can easily enter your home through various means. They might be in a box of crackers you bought at the grocery store, in a package you receive in the mail, or crawl into your purse scavenging for food while you put your bag down at the park. The first step to keep insects from entering your house is to check your grocery bags and open your packages outside before bringing them in the house, especially if you ordered things from overseas.

German cockroaches like areas that are moist and warm, so keeping your home dehumidified and cleaning out dark, damp places regularly is the best place to begin. Wash out cupboards under sinks and clear out the pantry. These insects are scavengers and so they like to eat meat, vegetables, and grains. They will get into food scraps left in the trash or into open boxes of cereal and pasta. Keep a tight-fitting lid on the trash and pack foods in plastic or glass containers instead of the boxes they come in. You can also do the following:

  • be vigilant about sweeping and cleaning up spills. 
  • vacuum at least once daily, but even more frequently if you have high-traffic carpeted areas.
  • stay on top of needed plumbing repairs.
  • refrain from leaving dishes in the sink to sit for more than a few minutes. Store them in the dishwasher or wash them immediately. 
  • have your drains cleaned regularly. They can crawl into the drain to feast on food particles stuck to the pipes. Do not wash grease down the drain, and be sure to empty your grease trap every so often. 

To get more information about getting professional intervention to fight the German cockroach, contact a pest control company in your area.