The cockroach is a worldwide nuisance and is the most common roach found in homes, apartment buildings, food service facilities, office buildings, and more. It develops by incomplete metamorphosis with five to six instar cycles before becoming adults. They have fully developed wings but do not fly – they crawl.
They are about a 1/2″ long as adults, have two dark parallel bars separated by a tan color between each on the pronotum behind the head, and are a light brown in color overall. The egg capsule that the female lays is called an ootheca. Each ootheca contains up to 30-40 roaches. The female will carry the ootheca right up to about a couple of days before it’s ready to hatch. She will paste it in a dark, protected area close to moisture and food. Once hatched, the nymphs (the name for the young) will go through about five or six molts (shedding of skin as they grow bigger) before becoming adults.
This process from egg to adult takes approximately 3 months and three or four generations can be achieved in a year from one mated pair of German roaches. With these types of numbers – their reproduction is fast and their numbers can build quite rapidly over a short span of time. German roaches will feed on just about anything of nutritional value to them. They particularly love grease and accumulated food debris. They’ve been known to feed on odd items like bar soaps, toothpaste, and on paper. Young instar nymphs will feed heavily on the fecal matter (called frass) of other roaches. German roaches are primarily nocturnal and prefer to inhabit dark areas and in tight cracks and crevices. They will aggregate together in pockets in numbers. They require moisture/ moderate humidity to thrive and love warm environments. They are attracted to electrical items and often will set up shop within those items.
Getting good control of this roach problem requires multiple things:
- Good sanitation
- Remediation of any excess moisture is a must.
With the aid of a good flashlight, a thorough inspection should be done throughout the affected areas. Glue traps should be strategically placed to monitor for roach activity and to find out where they are harboring. Over-the-counter aerosol products are not recommended for use as they can cause pockets of roaches to spread out into areas that are not affected by them to get away from the aerosol plus they are often resistant to the available active ingredients in products on the shelves today. Vacuuming up pockets of roaches can be effective in eliminating them from an area in a quick manner. Don’t forget to empty the vacuum bag or canister into a garbage bag and tightly tie the bag shut before disposal.
Gel baits are a good tool to use but it is imperative that it is placed as close to the harborage sites as possible in order to be fully effective. It takes time for gel baits to work – often weeks before gaining good control. Caulking of gaps around plumbing penetrations, where cabinets butt together and around the cabinet edges against the wall and any crack or crevice elsewhere larger than 1/16″ can eliminate harborage from them.
In infestations with high numbers of German roaches – a professional pest control company should be consulted and used to handle the situation. There are a number of treatments in our toolbox that could be utilized and in most cases – infestations can be controlled within a 4-8 week timeframe provided that recommendations to improve sanitation or moisture issues and on preparation for treatments are followed.