German Cockroaches

Blattella Germanica

In South Florida, German roaches are second to American roaches to infest homes. In addition to homes, German roaches are a big problem in commercial institutions such as hotels and restaurants. Although American roaches invade homes more frequently, German cockroaches have the most adverse impact to our lives.

In terms of food contamination, potential equipment destruction, expense to hire a pest control company, and emotional distress German roaches cause the most damage than any other house infesting species.

What German cockroaches look like?

The adult German roach is 1/2 to 5/8 inch long. Color is light brown to tan. German roaches can be easily distinguished from other species by two dark longitudinal stripes on the dorsal portion of the thorax (protontum). The nymphs resemble the adults, but they are smaller, wingless, darker, and a pale white stripe running down the center of the back.

The males have a slender abdomen while females have rounded posterior. Unlike other house infesting species, the females carry the egg capsule protruding from the rear until the eggs are ready to hatch. This key adaptation is probably another contributing factor to its success as an indoor pest. Because the ootheca stays connected to the female, the embryos are protected from desiccation while developing. The second benefit from this adaptation is that egg case is protected from cannibalism and parasitism.

What is the life cycle of a German cockroach?

Under ideal conditions (80°F/27°C), it takes 21 days from egg capsule formation to hatching. It can take 30 days under lower temperatures. Each capsule contains 30-48 eggs per capsule. German roach females produce four to eight capsules in the lifetime. During the incubation process of the capsule females are called gravid.

German cockroaches undergo 6 molts before becoming adults in about 40 days under favorable environmental conditions. Poor diet and low temperatures can increase the nymphal stage to 125 days. Males are sexually mature 10 days after becoming adults, females begin to mate 5 days after the adult molt.

Adult German roaches can live up to a year, but most die before that.

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