German cockroaches are the most common species of cockroach in the United States. While there are four other North American species that can cause infestations, german cockroaches have specific advantages that allow them to flourish. Their smaller size and rapid reproduction make them an extremely difficult population to control. Let’s take a closer, in-depth look at the German cockroach.
The German cockroach ranges in color from light tan to nearly black. An adult grows to approximately ½ an inch long. A full grown German cockroach has wings that cover its lower body, but they do not use these to fly. Instead, they prefer to run. One of the best ways to identify a German cockroach is by the two parallel dark lines located on the pronotum (the body segment directly behind the head). These dark lines run from the back of the head to the wings. German cockroaches also have long antennae that are slightly longer than their body. These antennae are used for finding food and receiving messages from other cockroaches.
German cockroach populations grow extremely quickly. They are one of the top household pests, reaching every state in the U.S. and having a world-wide distribution. What advantages makes this particular species so adept at survival and growth?
- Lack of Natural Predators- Since German cockroaches mostly live in human dwellings, there are very few natural predators to help control the population.
- Prolific Reproduction- Not only do German cockroaches have short reproductive cycles (several generations can be born in one year), but they also reach sexual maturity within several weeks of hatching.
- Smaller Size- German cockroaches are smaller than their relatives the American and Oriental cockroach. This smaller size allows them to squeeze in through smaller openings, hide more easily, and survive on less food to outlast other household pests.
- Adaptation from Some Chemical Pesticides- As a result of pest control that uses sugar baits to attract and kill cockroaches, a strain of German cockroach has actually developed a bitter reaction to glucose, meaning that they will not eat sweetened baits. This presents difficulty because those baits are both effective and economical.
Pest Control Options
Because of their infestation advantages, German cockroach control requires a comprehensive approach that includes preventive measures as well as specialized baits. There are many things that homeowners can do to prevent roaches or at least slow their spread. Those measures begin with keeping the home clean and tidy. Cockroaches eat anything and everything, but prefer meats, starches, sugar, and other fatty foods.
By keeping the home clean, you can lessen their food supply and provide a less attractive home for them. You should regularly sweep up crumbs, wipe off counters, take out the trash, and make sure that food packages are sealed. It is also important to seal cracks on the exterior of your home and make sure that there are no leaks in your home, as cockroaches are attracted to dark, warm, moist areas.
After you have done your part with preventive measures, it is often most effective to get professional help to eliminate the cockroaches in your home for good. While there are do-it-yourself control methods, missing even a few eggs or nymphs can lead to a cockroach population being re-established in your home.
German cockroaches are particularly difficult to get rid of because of their many hiding places. Midwest Pest Control has specialized baits and treatments that will take care of even the largest German cockroach infestations. We will work with you to find solutions to eliminate cockroaches from your home. Give us a call today.