Facts About the German Cockroach


Scientific / Latin Name: Blattella Germanica

There are more than 3500 species of cockroaches in the world. The two main species found in the U.A.E. – The American Cockroach (Periplaneta Americana) and the German Cockroach (Blattella Germanica).

American and German cockroachesGerman(left) and American Cockroaches

German cockroaches have adapted to living with humans for so long that they are now only found indoors near water sources. They like to live in warm, dark areas near moisture, including cracks, crevices, and voids around kitchen and bathroom cabinets, as well as around or inside appliances like refrigerators, stoves, toaster ovens, and microwaves. They are mostly active at night, so unless you know the danger signs, you may not even know you have them! If you suspect you may have cockroaches in your house take a peek inside a warm, dark crevice… if you dare!


What do German Cockroaches look like?

Adult German cockroaches are recognized by their light brown to tan coloring with two dark, almost parallel stripes, located on their backs. Female German cockroaches tend to be darker than males. German cockroach nymphs are dark brown to black in color with the same dark stripes located on their backs

Life Cycle

Each egg case, or Ootheca, contains approximately 30 to 40 eggs. This egg case is then carried by the female until 1 to 2 days before hatching. Depending upon the conditions, the average time for development, from egg to adult can range from 54 to 215 days, with an average of approximately 100 days.

German cockroaches are known for their ability to reproduce quickly. Females only need to mate once for the production of young. After mating, and under normal conditions, they will produce, on average, 4 to 6 egg cases during the course of their lives.

As adults, German cockroaches can survive anywhere from 100 to 200 days.

The Facts:

  1. German cockroaches do not just nibble on crumbs found in the kitchen, they will eat almost anything, and by anything, we mean anything – hair, glue, soap, and toothpaste.
  2. Female cockroaches protect their eggs by putting them into a thick protective case that is called an Ootheca. One female German cockroach can place 40 eggs in one Ootheca. That is a lot of cockroach babies!
  3. Can they bite? Well, they are omnivorous – meaning, they consume vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian food with equal aplomb. They can be typically attached to starches, fatty foods, meats, and sugars. In cases of foodstuff shortage, these insects can live on household items like toothpaste, soap, glue, etc. Under conditions of famine, they can turn cannibalistic as well. In such a case, they may start chewing up legs and wings of each other. Hence, their dietary range is quite varied and extensive, and it completely depends upon a prevailing dietary and environmental condition.
  4. German cockroaches are able to climb on smooth surfaces because they have a sticky pad on their feet; this sticky pad is called an Arolium.
  5. German cockroaches are more than just nuisance pests – they have been linked to disease transmission by picking up germs on the spines of their legs as they crawl through decaying matter. These germs are then transferred to food and other common surfaces that humans frequently touch. In fact, cockroaches are known to spread at least 33 different types of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms and at least seven other human pathogens
  6. They can fit in openings as small as 3/16 inch in width.
  7. Adult German cockroaches have wings, but they cannot fly. If they fall, they can flutter their wings enough to break the fall, but cannot use their wings to get around.
  8. Their antennae are relatively long, a little longer than the length of their body, and serve as powerful sensory devices for evaluating their environment, finding food and receiving messages from other roaches.
  9. Most insecticides do not have the ability to penetrate the egg case, even if directly applied to the case. The unaffected egg cases will hatch days after treatment.
  10. German cockroaches are also known to secrete a number of odorous compounds. When populations are present in large numbers, it may be possible to detect a mild, or what some have reported as a “musty” odor.

Despite their name, German cockroaches are found all over the world, including in homes throughout the United States. In fact, they’re not even originally from Germany. In Germany they’re often referred to as “French” cockroaches. This common species of indoor roach was previously thought to have originated in Europe, but later research showed they came from Africa. Currently, many researchers believe they probably originated in Southeast Asia.