german cockroach image
Female German cockroach carrying egg case


Latin name: Blattella germanica
Life-cycle length: 550 days
Adult life span: 6 months
Adult size: 15 mm
Wings: Both sexes have wings, but they rarely fly
Geographic distribution: Found worldwide
Preferred locations: Kitchen, bathrooms and laundry, where there’s food and moisture.


The adult German cockroach is a mid brown cockroach, easily identified by the two dark vertical stripes on its pronotum (the shield behind its head).

The young cockroaches (nymphs) are a darker brown / black, but with the same vertical stripes. However, they are a lot smaller (only 3mm when they hatch) and do not have wings.

German cockroaches are sometimes confused with brown banded cockroaches which are of similar size can colour, but lack the dark vertical stripes.

The female cockroach carries the egg case (ootheca) until just before the eggs are ready to hatch.

The German cockroach is the number one cockroach pest worldwide.

It only lives indoors in close association with humans.

It is particularly common in hotels and restaurants which has given it the nickname, the “five star cockroach”.

It is considered a pest as it feeds on food, spoiling it with its droppings and the diseases it carries.

The German cockroach carried a wide range of diseases, including Salmonella and E.coli.

These disease are transferred as they walk across food and food surfaces, as well as in their droppings.

German cockroaches are also a major source of allergens (in their spent skins and droppings) and a significant cause of allergic reactions and asthma, particularly in apartment blocks with long lasting infestations.

In the domestic situation, German cockroaches commonly get brought into houses from outside inadvertently, hiding in boxes – so check any incoming boxes!

The same can be true in apartments, but they can also spread from neighbouring apartments through the wall / roof voids and utility pipework conduits.

The chances of suffering a cockroach infestation can be reduced through good hygiene to remove any potential food sources:

  • Don’t leave dirty dishes out
  • Clean up any food spills
  • Regularly clean the cooker and under the dishwasher and fridge.
  • Put opened food into well sealed containers
  • Don’t leave uneaten pet food out

German cockroaches are among the most difficult pests to control as they can live in the smallest of cracks and crevices in large numbers.

Under sinks and inside / behind cupboards are obvious places, but also inside plugs and electrical equipment (dishwasher hinges and control panels, under toasters and microwaves).

Using sprays alone will not get on top of the problem as 80% of the cockroach population remain in their hiding places. It is important to use a high performing  cockroach gel bait as part of the treatment.

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