Pest Advice Blog

German Cockroaches – Nein Danke! (No thank you!)

German Roach ‘Tis the season to be jolly, but for restaurants and homeowners, the presence of German cockroaches in your space could mean a less than joyous experience. With over 3,000 species of roaches in the world, the prospect of living in an environment that is completely roach free may seem impossible. German roaches (Blatella germanica) are particularly familiar to most spaces as they are considered one of the more common indoor insects around. Known for their ability to thrive in almost any environment as well as their rapid reproductive cycle, German roaches are pretty good at dividing and conquering.

More than just a household nuisance, they are considered a serious threat to the health and safety of those in close proximity. German cockroaches can carry and transmit allergens and pathogens, so potential infestations should be addressed quickly. Although German roaches prefer warmer temperatures, these cold winter months are not necessarily a deterrent for them. In fact, as the season changes roaches go into preservation mode by slowing down their respiration enough to survive in the cold. This gives them all the more reason to seek warmth and food by moving indoors and settling down for the winter in your home or restaurant.

How to (not?) spot a German roach

The German roach can easily be identified by its tan or light brown coloring, small size (less than an inch) and 2 black horizontal stripes from the back of its head down to the wings. Since it is smaller than most of the other species of roaches, they are prone to hiding in the tiniest of cracks and crevices, making them difficult to keep an eye on! For a brief moment, one can take the smallest of comforts in knowing that although German roaches have wings; they seldom will fly, instead, choosing to scurry along to its next hiding spot.

Lifecycle

German cockroaches are notorious for their rapid production cycle, thus making it very difficult to control their populations. Adult female roaches produce an egg capsule that can contain as many as 48 eggs each. Throughout their average lifespan of 100-200 days, the female may produce between 6- 8 of these capsules.

Behavior & Habits

German cockroaches are scavengers and their less than picky eating habits means that they will consume just about anything they can from soap, glue, garbage, oil and grease to sweet and starchy foods and meat. Those crumbs that you left on your countertop, or the pile of used plates in the sink make for a particularly great midnight snack for them as they do most of their foraging at night. Since they are constantly on the search for food and water, you will most often spot them in your kitchen or bathroom as these places also provide the perfect warm and humid environment that they crave. Their small, flat bodies allow them to find their way in and out of small cracks, crevices and openings and are a perfect hiding spot for females to deposit their eggs.

Damage caused by German Roaches

The uncanny ability for cockroaches to survive and adapt to any environment is one of the main reasons that they are so difficult to get rid of. Their presence can be very disconcerting, but more than that are the hazardous and potentially life threatening diseases that are caused by the germs and pathogens carried by roaches. Their legs and bodies are the perfect vehicle for picking up pathogens as they crawl on garbage or decay, depositing them on surfaces and food in your environment, which eventually translate to unhealthy living conditions.

Diseases and health problems caused by roaches can range from mild to severe including:

  • Allergens from cast skins and roach droppings
  • Sinus infections and asthma
  • Skin rashes
  • Food poisoning
  • Dysentery and diarrhea or any form of gastroenteritis
  • Spread of bacteria and parasites
  • E. Coli & Salmonella
  • Typhus

Signs of infestation

German Cockroach Spotting one or two roaches may be an indication of a growing problem behind the scenes. In addition to actually seeing these insects in your home or restaurant, there are certain clues that cockroaches leave behind that should be taken note of and addressed right away:

  • German cockroaches secrete an odor that can be quite strong if they are large enough in numbers and will often be described as a “musty” smell.
  • Cockroach droppings or dark spots may be noticed near small cracks or openings or in corners of rooms. Droppings can also resemble ground peppers on countertops.
  • Empty egg cases from female roaches may sometimes be left behind.

Residential Control

German cockroaches often enter the home via bags or boxes that homeowners bring in from outside environments or garages either as adults or through egg deposits. Homeowners should be wary when entering the home with these items, especially if purchased second hand or from a warehouse environment. As a precaution:

  • When entering your home with boxes or bags, always double check that there are no openings that roaches may have gotten into. Consider removing items prior to entering.
  • Keep food containers tightly sealed and avoid leaving dishes in the sink with leftover food.
  • In multi-unit apartment complexes, roaches can travel through pipes and plumbing so be sure to fix and seal any leaking pipes and faucets.
  • Use lidded garbage containers wherever possible to avoid giving roaches easy access.

Restaurant Control

Restaurant owners have a particularly challenging task when it comes to controlling roaches in their environment. With multiple openings, cupboards, storage spaces and food preparation areas, roaches can pick and choose where they want to eat or hide. As with homeowners, restaurant owners can also look out for signs of possible infestation and concentrations of these signs can be a good indication of where the cockroaches may be hiding or feeding.

Restaurant owners should be vigilant in their awareness of potential roach problems and check these areas frequently:

  • Cupboards ( underneath and inside)
  • Sinks
  • Under equipment and appliances that give off heat
  • Under tables and chairs
  • Storage units or cardboard boxes containing food and meat items.

Taking necessary steps to help to control a possible roach problem is important as restaurants can face health violations or citations. If the problem is bad enough, this can also lead to temporary or even permanent closures. In a restaurant environment, similar steps to that of a homeowner can be taken to help control roaches coming into the establishment:

  • Unpack food items from boxes immediately after receiving them and discard empty boxes.
  • Keep food containers tightly sealed and avoid leaving dishes in the sink with leftover food.
  • Pay special attention to food preparation areas and wipe all countertops frequently.
  • Use lidded garbage containers wherever possible to avoid giving roaches easy access.
  • Keep temperatures cooler in areas of food storage to deter roaches.

Schedule your appointment today with your Truly Nolen Atlanta pest control expert who can help you get rid of an existing roach problem and provide the proper treatment for keeping roaches out of your home or restaurant.


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