Cockroaches are some of the toughest pests on planet earth. Even a nuclear explosion might not be enough to wipe these creatures. However, you can still hunt them down individually with your newspaper.

Unless, of course, you have an infestation on your property.
You can’t really handle an army of cockroaches running around your home, especially if they are German roaches.

The average American household or office can have different types of roaches, like American, Asian, and German. Out of the three, German cockroaches are the most common in homes worldwide, including the US.

Are you curious to find out more?

Then jump into our blog to know all about German cockroaches, how they look, and differ from American roaches. Along with that, we will also teach you to spot the signs of German roach infestation.


Identifying German roaches

What does a German cockroach look like?

You can identify a German roach using physical features, habitat preferences, and lifecycle habits. We will discuss each elaborately to give you a better idea of what you are dealing with.

Physical appearance

German cockroaches are generally light brown or tan. They have distinct black parallel lines that run behind their heads up to the wings. Some of them can also be dark brown.

The German cockroach’s size is not very big. They usually range between 13mm and 16mm or ½ and 5/8 inches.

Male German cockroaches are slimmer and slender compared to females. They also have a tapered end. On the contrary, females have a wider body and a round posterior.


German roaches are common around the world where humans live. However, they cannot live in cold temperatures or without the presence of humans.

Additionally, they prefer the hospitable environment of homes and restaurants rather than the outdoors. They are also more common where food is available like kitchen, living rooms, or your bedroom.

German roaches can also travel from infested sites in bags, appliances, and luggage to your home.


The German cockroach life cycle consists of three primary stages: egg, nymph, and adult.
The lifecycle is of around 100 days, although factors like temperature or food can alter it. A German cockroach can also produce thousands of offspring every year.


German cockroach vs. American cockroach

How can you tell between a German and an American cockroach?

American cockroaches are the second most common roaches in the US. They can grow to become big and reach 4cm or even 2 inches. In comparison, German roaches measure less than an inch.

American roaches also have reddish or dark-brown bodies and a pale yellow thorax. German cockroaches, on the other hand, are primarily light brown.

Additionally, American roaches are generally found outside or in moist areas of homes like basements or bathrooms. On the contrary, German varieties mostly live inside homes closer to food sources.

Moreover, German roaches don’t fly, while American ones can.


What attracts German roaches?

German roaches like to live comfortably. Several things in your home can invite these cockroaches and provide refuge, like:

  • Food
  • Warmth
  • Water
  • Garbage


German cockroaches eat almost anything under the sun, from pizza crumbs to your toothpaste. They can also devour pet food, book bindings, gum, and soap. As a result, almost any home can attract these pests.


German roaches cannot live in cold temperatures. They are also missing in houses without central heating in northern regions.

So, a warm and cozy home is a nice incentive for them.


We all need water to survive and so do cockroaches. Hence, water can also attract German cockroaches.


German cockroaches also eat garbage. Therefore, your garbage bins can also invite them in.


Exterminator holding spray to kill cockroaches.


Signs of infestation

Addressing an infestation is crucial as German roaches can put your health and wellbeing at risk. They can:

  • Contaminate food with droppings and defensive secretions
  • Bring on allergic responses
  • Contaminate your utensils, toothbrush, and drinkware
  • Invite many sicknesses like food poisoning and dysentery
  • Cause physiological discomfort
  • Bite and eat food from human skin like around the mouth

As a result, you should always stay proactive to identify and deal with a cockroach infestation.

How to know if you have German roaches?

A range of signs can help you determine if you have a German cockroach infestation in your home. Keep an eye for the following signs that indicate cockroaches have taken over your house:


A large number of cockroaches can create an unpleasant odor. In the case of German cockroaches, you can smell a “musty” or stale smell when too many of them end up inside your house.


Droppings are a sure sign of cockroach infestation. German roaches have droppings that look like tiny dots or pepper. You can also find dark spots left by fecal staining around your house.

However, the most common areas include your kitchen shelves, door tops, room corners, and around cracks in walls or floors.

Active at daytime

German roaches are generally nocturnal insects. So, if you spot one or two of them scouting around during the day, you have enough reasons to get suspicious.

Empty eggs

German cockroaches can leave a lot of eggshells around your house. So, try to spot eggs or empty shells to find out if you have an infestation.

You may also sometimes find them safely deposited in corners or hard-to-reach places.

Shed skin

Cockroaches shed skin as they grow up from the nymph stage. So, look out for shed skins around the house, among other signs.


Final thoughts

German roaches are the most common unwanted guests in your house. You can easily spot them by their light brown color and parallel stripes. Contact a professional pest control service if you think you have an infestation for quick and sure extermination. You can also contact us for a free quote or a fool-proof pest control job.