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German Roaches

Image via flickr by Rocky Cardwell

Cockroaches have earned a bad reputation by invading our homes, distributing diseases, and creeping into our nightmares. Though they seem to be all bad, they are beneficial to the environment. They eat decaying organic matter, which helps in the natural processes of decomposition. Cockroaches play a vital role in the nitrogen cycle, helping to keep forests healthy.

All of the good that cockroaches do for the environment isn’t enough to outweigh the bad when they have infested your home. If left unchecked, they can quickly overrun an area and cause severe problems for homeowners. Learning how to get rid of German cockroaches is crucial to defending your family and home from the ill effects they can cause.

What Are German Cockroaches?

German cockroaches, despite their name, are thought to have originated from Southeast Asia, but this theory isn’t conclusive. They are the most successful species of roach to invade homes, businesses, and other structures. Though they are naturally suited to thrive in tropical and warm environments, they prefer to live indoors.

The success that German cockroaches have with infesting homes in such high numbers is contributed to its ability to reproduce very quickly. They are capable of laying 40 eggs at a time, and it only takes about two months for the egg to hatch and the young to develop into mature adults, allowing them to overrun a house in a matter of months, making them nearly impossible to eliminate.

German cockroach females produce an egg capsule or ootheca that houses the individual eggs, which average between 30 and 48 eggs per egg case. The females’ average lifespan is between 20 and 30 weeks, and they can produce up to 8 oothecae during this timeframe. Taking into consideration that at least two generations developed per year, this would mean that over 10,000 descendants could be produced in a year.

German cockroaches need abundant moisture and only minimal food to thrive. Once they take up residence in your house, they will nest within a few feet from their food source. When one of these critters finds food, they will release pheromones to attract other German cockroaches. When referring to a German cockroach nest, it isn’t a structure of some kind but a group living together in one place, laying eggs, and tending to their young.

What Do German Cockroaches Look Like?

German cockroaches vary in color depending on where they are in development. The German cockroach nymphs or young are almost black and have black stripes directly behind their heads. Adult German cockroaches are easy to recognize due to their tan or light brown color in combination with the black stripes behind their heads.

German cockroaches typically grow to 13 to 16 millimeters in length. Though adults have wings, they rarely choose to fly as their primary method of locomotion is to run. As with other species of roaches, German cockroaches have antennae, eyes, mouths, and legs.

Where Do German Cockroaches Live?

Geographically, German cockroaches live throughout the United States. They are well adapted for tropical and warm climates. However, they are not limited to specific locations due to their ability to survive inside homes, businesses, and other types of structures. They are one of the most difficult pests to deal with once they have infested your house and caused a whole host of issues.

The two most likely places that German cockroaches would infest your residence or business are in kitchens and bathrooms. Once they have established themselves and have access to moisture and ample food supplies, they are unlikely to leave. Signs of an infestation are feces on surfaces that look like black pepper flakes and an identifying pungent odor in the infested area.

Problems With German Cockroaches

The odorous secretions of German cockroaches can alter the smell and flavor of food, and this becomes more likely as their populations grow. Organisms that produce diseases such as protozoans, bacteria, and viruses can be found living on German cockroaches’ bodies. As German cockroaches travel through an infested home, they spread these organisms to the surfaces and foods they come in contact with.

Dysentery, food poisoning, diarrhea, and related illnesses that affect the gastrointestinal tract are the most common diseases that German cockroaches are known for spreading. Not only are these types of diseases carried on their bodies, but by the German cockroach feces and their shed skins, which can also cause allergic reactions. Allergies triggered by German cockroaches include watery eyes, congestion of nasal passages, sneezing, asthma, and skin rashes.

German Cockroach Control Solutions

German cockroaches can be a nightmare to deal with once they have invaded your home. Their elusive nature and ability to rapidly reproduce is the perfect combination when it comes to creating an infestation of phenomenal proportions. If you believe that your home is infested with German cockroaches, it is recommended to seek out the services from a professional pest control agency.

Professionally trained exterminators can confirm the type of pest, create a pest-specific plan to eliminate the threat, and put preventative measures into place to reduce the possibility of the pest returning in the future. Two key factors that you can address that will deter German cockroaches from moving into your house are to eliminate moisture issues and maintain a sanitary living environment. Any water leaks from the roof or plumbing should be repaired quickly as German cockroaches can’t survive without adequate water. Food should be stored safely, and any crumbs should be cleaned up immediately.

Due to their natural tendencies to reproduce at an alarming rate, German cockroaches are the most feared roaches when it comes to a home invasion. They are nasty critters that can contaminate your home, spreading severe health risks to you, your family, and your pets. Knowing the facts about German cockroaches will better prepare you to combat against this pest and to protect your home.

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