Many homes suffer from German cockroach infestations, which is an unpleasant experience for everyone. This post will outline the cockroaches, their habitat, biology and ways to eliminate and them from your home and garden.
German cockroaches, or Blattella germanica, are a small, light brown flat insect with two dark stripes at the front of the head. They feed on almost anything, including built up cooking grease and can even turn cannibalistic, frequently eating the legs and wings of other cockroaches. Although they are equipped with wings, they typically do not fly. An adult cockroach can grow up to 10-15mm long. This cockroach is also known to emit an unpleasant odour when excited or frightened.
German cockroaches are usually found in warm areas containing food and moisture, usually in kitchen areas such as pantries, cupboards, sinks and around water heaters – particularly near human activity. If they are sighted during the day, it usually means there is a very large local population close by, and pest control may be necessary.
German cockroaches are the most prolific breeders of all the pest cockroaches and lay egg cases containing around 30-40 eggs. The egg cases are usually about 8mm long, 3mm high and 2mm wide. Eggs are laid up to four times a year after the female reaches adulthood, which takes between 40-60 days and live for 6-9 months. German cockroaches shed their outer layer approximately six times during a lifetime, which is used to feed their young allowing them to be hidden away from the effects of chemical surface sprays. Aside from domesticated pets, the cockroaches have very few natural predators in the home environment and therefore can multiply their numbers quickly and easily. Pest control experts are often necessary to control their populations.
How to limit infestation:
- Remove food residue from kitchen areas, paying particular attention to the refrigerator and the surrounding spaces.
- Store all food in tightly sealed containers.
- Ensure all surfaces, cracks and crevices are free from food scraps and crumbs.
- Regularly empty all rubbish bins.
- Remove accumulations of cardboard boxes and newspapers on a regular basis.
- Steam clean soiled areas.
- Caulk or grout all access to the roof and wall cavities.
- Eliminate harbourages such as rolls of carpet and stacks of paper.
- Fix leaks, especially ones in hot water systems.
If these tips do not assist in minimising German cockroaches from around your home, there are professional options that will help. Call your local pest control expert for more information.
About the Author
Keith Nightingale is a pest control expert at Termitrust who has over 10 years of professional industry experience working in Australia.