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German roaches are by far the most common species of cockroach that is found infesting homes and commercial areas. Not only are they a major nuisance, hard to get rid of, and a frustrating guest that is unwanted in the house, they are also vectors of disease pathogens and are linked to major outbreaks of certain illnesses. Moreover, strangely enough, German cockroaches cause mild to very severe allergic reactions in many people. Despite their name, German cockroaches can be found all over the world and are all too common in the United States.
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German roaches are light brown in color and may even appear tan when they are fully matured. They are marked with two dark brown and almost parallel stripes on their shield that run down their backs. Mature adult German cockroaches are about 13 mm to 16 mm long. Female german roaches are generally darker in color than the male German roaches are. Although adults possess wings, they rarely use them.
The nymphs of German cockroaches are the same shape as adult German roaches except they do not possess wings. The early instars or the younger nymph is significantly smaller in size; however, the late instars or the more mature nymph is similar in size to the fully developed German cockroach. Also, coloration or patterns that are on the back of the nymphs are almost opposite of the mature German cockroaches. Mature adults are mostly tan colored with dark brown patterns whereas nymphs are almost all dark brown to black with pale brown or white margins and a pale brown central area. The ends of their abdomens are uniformly dark in color and there are paler patterns towards the head of their bodies.
Egg capsules of German roaches are a yellowish brown color. They are usually two-toned and the paler side is usually the end that is attached to the female adult. Each egg capsule is about 6 mm to 9 mm long. On average, there are about 15 eggs to 20 eggs on each side of the egg capsule.
German cockroaches undergo a simple metamorphosis which means they molt as they develop into adult roaches. One average, one female German cockroach will produce about 5 egg capsules. Each egg capsule averages about 30 eggs to 40 eggs so in her lifetime, she can reproduce 150 to 200 offspring. Unlike many other cockroach species, German cockroach females carry the egg capsule with her until it is only about 1 to 2 days before the eggs are ready to hatch. The entire developmental time that it takes for a German roach to mature from the egg to an adult will vary with the circumstances that surround the breeding site. Developmental time can range anywhere between just 50 days all the way to a staggering 215 days. However, on average, it will take a little more than 100 days for one German cockroach to fully develop. This means that on average and under normal conditions, there can up to 3 to 4 generations in just one year and under the most favorable conditions, there can be as many as 6 generations in one year. Once the nymph develops into an adult, it can live for another 100 to 200 days. Although adult german roaches have fairly long life spans, population will consist of mostly nymphs.
Although German cockroaches can be seen all throughout a structure, they are attracted to areas of warmth and humidity. They also thrive in areas close to their food and water source. That is why homeowners will typically find them in common areas like bathrooms, kitchens, and areas where people frequently take their food to eat like dens, living rooms, and dining rooms. German cockroaches forage on almost anything with any level of nutritional value. This is why they will feed on all foods and will also feed on things like soap and toothpaste.
Even though they have been seen migrating between houses when the weather is warmer, it is a rare occurrence. German roaches are typically carried into structures via shopping bags, boxes, or secondhand appliances like used microwaves, refrigerators, televisions, and etc. Likewise, although German cockroaches are capable of surviving outdoors, it is unlikely that they will nest or thrive in outdoor areas.
German cockroaches are known to transmit disease pathogens as they forage on human food. They also leave behind feces and other excrement as they travel which is why a German cockroach infestation is detrimental to a household. If an infestation is caught early, it is fairly easy to rid the house of German cockroaches, however, due to rapid reproduction rates, unless they are controlled, it will become difficult to control the invasion without proper insecticides.
Effective control of german roaches consists of several different methods. The main step is to maintain regular sanitation. German cockroach infestations thrive when there is an adequate food and water source available to them. Food processing areas and areas where food is carried to should be cleaned regularly and all leaking water pipes should be fixed immediately. This is the best preventative measure a homeowner can take. Although standard insecticide application procedures will apply to kill German cockroaches, because of their rapid reproductive rate, it may take more than just a few follow up applications to completely get rid of the infestation. During the initial clean out or inspection of German cockroaches, most of the population can be flushed out with a liquid, contact kill insecticide. Follow up liquid residual sprays can be applied on a regular basis to kill German cockroaches around the home as they come in contact with the spray.
Because German cockroaches are social insects and thrive in communities rather than live in solitude, it is crucial that you attack the breeding site, whether it is directly or indirectly. Using baits are the most effective way to attack a nest. Baits provide a secondary kill effect that will ultimately target the entire colony rather than kill just a single German cockroach on contact. Also, IGRs (insect growth regulators) will prohibit the growth of the population by prohibiting them from maturing. If they are unable to mature, they are unable to reproduce. Therefore, IGRs are an essential part of German cockroach control inside the house and aids in long term control.
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