German cockroaches are among the most common household pests in the United States.
These disease-carrying critters are smelly, disgusting health hazards on legs, and as if that wasn’t enough, they give hamsters a run for their money.
When it comes to the reproduction rate—just a few eggs are sufficient to lead to a full-blown infestation! Oh, and did we mention their resistance to pesticides is insane? Yep—German cockroaches can be a pain where it hurts most.
Eradicating German cockroaches is more challenging than getting rid of other pests, there are ways to ensure a bug-free home. Even if they do manage to get past your defenses, you can take them down with a few effective pest control steps.
Here’s what you need to know about how to get rid of German cockroaches.
German cockroaches, just like American cockroaches, are common in human-occupied spaces around the world. This includes:
- Nursing homes
- Institutional facilities
- Food-processing facilities
These critters are hardy and adaptable, thriving wherever they’re placed.
- German cockroaches have a dizzying rate of reproduction
- Have the capability to survive on minimal resources
- A cockroach has household-invading ninja skills
- German roaches are disease-carrying superspreaders
- Many roaches have immunity that they’ve built up against most pesticides
This all makes German cockroaches a nightmare to get rid of and that is why we are going to review how to get rid of German cockroaches.
Their egg casings and shed exoskeletons can also incite allergic reactions in humans, especially children. Therefore, it’s important to identify and tackle a German cockroach infestation immediately and work to prevent re-infestation.
Given that it’s more challenging to control this particular species, most people opt for professional extermination services to get rid of German cockroaches and keep infestations from returning.
The potency of professional extermination methods is not only more effective against these German cockroaches but also gets rid of them much quicker.
There are three main factors that you can use to identify German cockroaches—their physical characteristics and behavior, signs of infestation, and common hiding spots.
German cockroaches have certain distinct physical characteristics that can help you identify them, such as:
- A flat, oval-shaped body that ranges from tan to light brow
- Two nearly parallel, dark stripes run down the area just behind the head
- A maximum length of half an inch
- Six legs
- The presence of antennae
- Wings in both the females and males (though German cockroaches prefer to travel on foot)
German cockroaches hate the cold, which is why these pests are more common indoors during the cold months.
They may also stray indoors for food and water during the other months or be drawn by the lights in your house at night (though that’s a rare occurrence).
Like all roaches, German cockroaches hide during the day and are active at night. Additionally, German cockroaches don’t get aggressive, which means that you don’t have to worry about biting.
They’re not venomous either; they merely carry and deposit several allergens and pathogens picked up from the filthy spots they travel through.
The following signs can indicate an infestation:
- Spotting cockroach droppings anywhere in the house (these resemble coffee grounds)
- Egg casings or shed exoskeletons, as cockroaches shed their skins at various points of their life cycle
- A live cockroach scurrying around, especially baby roaches—even if you spot just one cockroach, you can rest assured that 99% of the time, it’s part of a larger colony that’s in hiding
- You see dead cockroaches laying around in the kitchen or bathrooms
- A foul odor—cockroaches produce this smell to communicate with others in the colony and the higher the number of roaches in a spot, the more noticeable the smell is
- Brown smear marks on your walls or counters
To confirm an infestation, you can set out baits and gel traps; we’ll get into this in more detail a little later.
Like all cockroaches, German cockroaches also love dark, warm, humid, tight spots that are close to sources of food and water.
Outdoors, you’ll find these pests nesting in mulch, leaf, wood, and debris, underneath roof shingles, stones, rocks, and logs, on trees, and in small cracks and crevices.
Indoors, these German cockroaches gravitate towards spots such as:
- A trash can with food waste
- Behind your pet’s food bowl
- Inside your oven or broiler
- Underneath your stove and refrigerator
- In electronics
- Behind things hung on the wall
- In and under your sinks
- Around your wiring
- Any and all drains
- Your kitchen cabinets
- Any water-using appliances
- Attics are also favored spots
- Near leaky drains and pipes
These are all areas where they might be hiding but their favorite spots will be near food and water.
German cockroaches are hard to eliminate, but thankfully, preventing an infestation is much simpler. Three simple steps can help you keep these unhygienic scavengers away and prevent recurring infestations.
1. Proper Sanitation
Keeping your environment is not only good for you but good for keeping those annoying roaches away. Here are some steps you can take:
- Vacuum frequently (at least once a week) so that any organic debris, food crumbs, etc. are taken care of.
- Clean up any food, liquid spills, and standing water immediately
- Don’t leave unwashed dishes in the sink or dishwasher for too long.
- Keep your sinks and tubs dry, as far as possible. Fix all leaky pipes.
- Sweep away any food crumbs or waste on your counters into your trash.
- Wipe your counters with dish soap.
- Regularly clean your appliances.
- Use tight-fitting lids on your trash cans and store them in dry areas.
- Clear any rotting leaves from your yard, gutters, etc.
- Clean up after your pets if they go in the yard, while also disposing of any newspaper, dog pads, or cat litter used.
- Take out the trash often instead of letting it accumulate.
- Ventilate your bathrooms, crawl spaces, and other moist spots to prevent moisture build-up.
- Keep U-traps filled by running water at periodic intervals.
- Discard the old paper and cardboard boxes instead of letting them pile up.
- Store firewood away from the house.
2. Eliminating Food and Water Sources
Roaches stray indoors in search of food sources and water—eliminate these sources and you eliminate 90% of the reason for these critters to invade.
Apart from cleaning up crumbs and spills, storing food in the fridge when possible will lower the chances of roach infestations. If you’re keeping food outside the fridge, make sure that it’s covered properly or stored in airtight containers.
One small thing that many people with pets overlook is that their pet’s food bowls are also sources of food for roaches. Clear the pet food from the bowl every night or seal it up and put it away for the night.
3. Seal All Entry Points
Leaky and sweating pipes, open drains, cracks, crevices, and space around the doors and windows are all possible entry points for cockroaches.
Using steel wool, caulk, and foam spray to seal any entry points or cracks in the foundation and walls is also a good idea.
You also need to have snug-fitting windows, doors that are properly sealed, and mesh screens for opened windows to minimize the risk of cockroaches entering your living space.
Roaches can also hitch a ride on things you carry into the house from a house or business that has roaches.
If you go into a building that you know has roaches make sure to check your grocery bags, boxes, and other stuff before entering your home.
With German cockroaches, it’s a good idea to call in the professionals the second you identify an infestation. Getting rid of these roaches can be tough due to how quickly they can multiply and their resistance to regular pesticides. An exterminator will come in and put together a cockroach treatment plan.
Professional exterminators have the knowledge, training, and experience of knowing how to get rid of German cockroaches quickly and effectively. A large infestation a professional will save you a lot of time and energy.
Professional exterminators may also offer complimentary follow-up services or service guarantees that you can take advantage of. Exterminators often use a multi-pronged approach to exterminating roaches, which involves combining the following:
- Insecticide Sprays: The commercial spray costs around $35 to $100. Insecticide sprays are an effective way to kill German cockroaches These are sprayed around possible entry points and where you think the roaches are hiding. You can try roach bombs but I have not seen them be very effective in killing cockroaches.
- Glue Traps: Glue traps, placed in and around suspected hiding spots, are used to confirm the presence of a colony. These cost between $10 to $50 depending on how many you get.
- Gel Baits: roach baits are poisoned baits that attract roaches to feast on them. Once they ingest these and make their way back to the nest, the infected roaches transmit the poison to others in the nest via saliva, droppings, pheromones, or their carcass being fed on, eventually killing them too.
Roach baits take a week or two to work, depending on the potency of the gel and the size of the infestation, and cost the same as sticky traps. I personally use these for cockroaches in my rentals because they work well.
- IGR (Insect Growth Regulators)
This is to prevent the German cockroach from reproducing. This interferes with a roach nymph molting process so it cannot become an adult to have baby cockroaches. The cost is $25 to $100 depending on what you get.
- House Tenting: House tenting is required only for very severe infestations that require the whole house to be fumigated. A tent is erected around the house to trap the fumigant, which enters even the tiniest cracks and kills all roaches and pests. House tenting can set you back by anywhere between $2,500 and $7,500.
It takes three days for the chemicals to work, during which time the premises need to be fully vacated.
On average, exterminating cockroaches costs around $150, with the range being $100 to around $400, and the highest can go up to $5,000.
You will likely need several treatments for cockroaches since they are not easy to kill. However, some exterminators may charge you based on the severity of the infestation or the square footage of the premises.
With German cockroaches, you can try DIY pest control measures if you don’t have the money to pay an exterminator and you want to get rid of the roach infestation on your own.
It also works out much, much cheaper, as you don’t have to shell out exorbitant amounts for professional services. Additionally, buying your own pest control supplies will cost a fraction of what professional services cost.
Some things you can try:
- Store-bought natural solutions
- Chemical-based pest control products such as Advion gel, insecticides like Temprid and Talstar, or insecticide granules and dust
- Store-bought extermination kits (these are holistic options)
- Gel baits and sticky traps
- Insect growth regulator (IGR) this insecticide will interfere with the roaches’ reproductive cycles
Keep pesky cockroaches away for good with this Roach Control Kit! This multi-pronged approach to pest control combines:
- Catchmaster 100i roach Monitor glue boards,
- Maxforce FC Magnum roach bait gel,
- Gentrol Point Source Stations (Insect growth regulator)
- Temprid FX insecticide concentrate.
When using chemical products, ensure that you’re taking all necessary safety precautions and following any instructions listed by the manufacturer. Extra care needs to be taken if you have pets or children in the house.
Your kitchen is a treasure chest that contains many gems, including some effective weapons against cockroaches! Solutions such as vinegar, boric acid, baking soda, sugar, etc., can be used to keep German cockroaches away.
Boric acid is a simple, effective measure against cockroaches—you just need to spread it across surfaces. Used as a gel or powder, boric acid’s electrostatic charge lets the acid latch onto the roach’s body when it walks through a treated patch.
When the pest later grooms itself, it consumes the acid, which then causes death by attacking the nervous system.
There is plenty of DIY cockroach baits that require nothing more than kitchen staples to put together, such as sugar and baking soda, beer and bread, and water and fabric softener.
Gel bait works on the general principle of combining one attractive element (such as sugar and water) with one exterminating element (baking soda and beer) and placing these around suspected hiding spots.
German cockroaches can quickly bloom into a very nasty problem if you don’t address the issue immediately. If you spot one cockroach, assume there are a ton more roaches you have not seen yet. You have two options which are DIY pest control or you need an exterminator.
You need to start the treatment immediately or your house will get overrun by bugs.
By practicing the preventative measures mentioned above, you may be able to save yourself from a roach infestation. Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of simple things like keeping your food covered and doing the dirty dishes after each meal!