There are more than 3,500 species of cockroach in the world, 55 are found in the continental United States but one species stands head and shoulders above the rest, in terms of being a household pest. It is Blatella germanica (L.), also known as the German cockroach. Why? Because German cockroaches love living with humans. While other cockroaches, even the American cockroach, would rather be outside crawling around on the moist ground, German cockroaches prefer to be inside. It might be because German cockroaches don't require as much moisture as other cockroaches. Or it may be because German cockroaches are just really good at dwelling in man-made structures. These insects are extremely tiny when they first hatch and are able to go anywhere they want within a structure. It may also be because German cockroaches don't mind being a little colder than those other cockroaches. While the ideal temperature for the American cockroach, Oriental cockroach, and brown-banded cockroach is in the 80s, the ideal temperature for the German cockroach is between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. So German cockroaches can easily live in your chilly basement--as long as it's moist and dark down there.

Identification

It is fairly simple to tell German cockroaches from all those other cockroach species due to their tan coloration. It also helps that they have two stripes on the backs of their heads. These roaches range in size from ½ an inch to ⅝ of an inch in length.  

Prefered Harborage

Inside a home, you're going to find these cockroaches in any location that has moisture. If you have leaky or weeping pipes, expect German cockroaches to take notice. If you have boxes stored in a damp location, these insects will be attracted. You'll also find them in rooms that get moist periodically, like a bathroom.

German cockroaches like tights spaces and lots of places to hide. For this reason, you'll find them in storage areas. They also have the ability to chew their way into cardboard boxes, so nothing in your stored locations will be safe in a box.

German cockroaches will be where the food is. Whether it is a large package of food or a small breadcrumb under the toaster, these roaches are going to frequent locations where they can get a bite to eat. This will have them living inside the bottom of your refrigerator or oven, nice and close to the food.

Dangers of having them

German cockroaches love bacteria-laden areas. For this reason, they can pick up harmful bacteria from toilet rims, trash cans, drains, and other locations, and spread them to food prep surfaces, plates, cups, silverware, cooking utensils, cutting boards, and even your toothbrush.

These roaches are linked to six kinds of parasitic worms and at least seven human pathogens. So, if it isn't enough to have hundreds, or even thousands, of filthy bugs spreading bacteria around your home, they can make your family sick in these ways as well.

When food sources become scarce, or populations grow too large, cockroaches can bite humans. This often happens on the eyelids, as cockroaches are attracted to eyelashes. When they bite, wounds usually become infected because of the filthiness of these insects, and swelling will occur.

How to prevent

When German cockroaches first hatch, they are small enough to crawl through the holes of a wall outlet. That is really tiny. These insects are also able to climb walls and run across ceilings. There is no way to fully excluded these versatile insects without using some form of knockdown agent. This is best administered by a pest control professional. A professional pest control technician uses specialized products, in strategic locations, and according to safety guidelines. The last thing any homeowner needs is to replace one health threat with another.

If you live in Pittsburgh or our Pennsylvania service area, contact Witt Pest Management to establish ongoing pest protection for your home. Our QualityPro-Certified team is one of the best in the business. We'll help you keep German cockroaches and other harmful, illness-spreading pests out of your Pennsylvania home. No home is better with bugs. Get bug-free today with a little help from Witt Pest Management.