How to Get Rid of German Cockroaches | The Ultimate Guide

By Allison Clayton

Do you want to know how to get rid of German cockroaches? Don’t worry! We have you covered.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of infested restaurant kitchens and motel rooms, so the last thing you want to see in your home is a cockroach. While these tiny pests are more scared of us, seeing one in your home can be shocking. 

There are over 4,000 species of cockroaches scattered around the world, with a few living in the United States. However, only a few species actually inhabit American homes. Don’t let that number fool you, though. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that over 14 million homes spotted a cockroach inside during 2020! 

Having a cockroach inside your home is taxing and can leave you scrambling for a solution. Your home is a place away from the outside world, and it’s stressful when a piece of it lives with you. Here’s everything to know about how to get rid of German cockroaches.

Where can I find German Cockroaches?

Surprisingly, German cockroaches do not originate from any European country. Instead, these pesky insects likely came from areas in Africa or Southeast Asia. The German cockroach lives on every continent besides Antarctica. Most cockroaches can’t thrive in colder temperatures, so the polar climate is not a popular nesting spot.

The German cockroach cannot survive without a food source or will die if left outside when it’s below freezing. Unfortunately, this means they have to live near humans to survive. 

You may see an uptick of roaches during the winter months because this species does not hibernate and instead prefers warm buildings.

They will move into humid areas with suitable amounts of food and water like restaurants, grocery stores, and even residential homes. These cockroaches also thrive in apartment complexes where they can easily move through units.  

How can I Identify the German Cockroach?

To know how to get rid of German cockroaches, you should understand what these pests look like. Unlike other common species, the German cockroach is much smaller, hardly growing larger than half an inch.

If you spot anything bigger, you may have another species in your home. German cockroaches are light tan with two black lines that begin behind their heads and extend along their backs.

German cockroach on a leaf

Brett_Hondow on Pixabay

The German cockroach shares a similar appearance to the Asian cockroach. While the two are virtually indistinguishable from looks alone, each has specific characteristics that set them apart. Asian cockroaches prefer the outdoors and primarily populate America’s southern states. 

On the other hand, German cockroaches are prevalent all over the country and regularly inhabit homes. While German cockroaches have wings, they can’t adequately fly meaningful distances like the Asian cockroach. However, they can slightly glide, so don’t be alarmed if you see one catch some air. 

While male and female German cockroaches share the same design, they have physical characteristics that differentiate one from the other. Females are larger and wider, while males have a slender body that narrows near the end. 

These roaches live an average of 100 days but can last up to 200 days, depending on their environmental conditions. During this time, female roaches reproduce often. Laying around forty eggs each time, some females can have over 300 eggs in a lifetime. 

German cockroaches reproduce faster than other species and lay more eggs. Female roaches will carry around an egg sac, called an ootheca, until the eggs inside are prepared to hatch.

Tiny nymphs will exit from the ootheca, gradually growing and fully maturing in less than four months. Female roaches will then begin reproducing to continue the cycle.

Do I have an Infestation?

Once you see a cockroach, there’s a good chance another one is lurking under the fridge or inside a cabinet. Cockroaches often heavily congregate in humid areas, so while you may see one or two running on your floors, more may be nearby. It’s better to assume that there are more in your home, so you can effectively handle the possibility of a large infestation.

One sign of an infestation is roach droppings. Keep an eye out for tiny, dark brown droppings around your food. You may start to see ootheca scattered around as well.

The small brown egg sacs are around the size of a fingernail and are left behind when the nymphs leave their eggs. If you see an empty egg casing, there’s a good chance you may have a roach problem on your hands. 

German cockroaches also produce a slight musky odor when in groups. A larger population could be nearby if you smell something strange following a cockroach spotting. This smell also draws other roaches to the area, so act quickly before their numbers grow. If the odor persists or is stronger in a certain area, focus your attention on these parts of your home. 

You’re more likely to see these nocturnal insects during the nighttime rather than walking around in the daylight. After the lights go out, these pests come out of their hiding spots, searching for something to eat.

That doesn’t mean you can’t spot one during the morning. If you see them during the day, you can assume there are others somewhere within your home. Whenever they start appearing during the daylight, you should begin researching tips on how to get rid of German cockroaches because you may have a large infestation. 

Common Areas for German Cockroaches

Unlike termites, bees, or ants, German cockroaches do not have physical nests. Instead, they gravitate together in warm areas near water and food.

Grab a flashlight and take a peek under your stove, sink, or refrigerator for signs of activity. While tempting, try not to kick any dropped ice cubes under your fridge. This can provide roaches with water and make it less likely that you’ll see them out foraging.

German cockroaches feed on sugary and starchy substances but will eat almost anything. If they lack a nutrition source, they will feast on any of the colony that has died.

No food is safe when they are around, and these insects will go to great lengths to get their nutritional fix. Because your pantry is home to a multitude of foods, scan for signs of disturbances to packages or even the roaches themselves. 

If they can’t get into your bags of cereal, they will turn towards your furniture, books, and trash to find what they want. Inspect these areas for hidden roaches or any damages. Check inside tall cabinets to see if they are in a hard-to-reach location.

If your home has a basement, look around in damp areas for signs of roaches. They could be hiding behind water heaters or in old boxes. You may not have any need for last year’s Christmas decorations, but German cockroaches will gladly take up residence in places you rarely use.

Bathrooms are another area to check out. Because this part of your house is regularly humid and damp, you may spot one roaming around your shower. Take a look through all cabinets and drawers for groups of insects or any leaks. A leaky pipe will attract the roaches to burrow close to the source.

You can also find these pests hiding out in your dishwasher. The inside of this appliance is often damp and rife with leftover crumbs and food morsels.

Roaches may gravitate towards this area between washes to drink water and gather food left on dishes. While a running dishwasher can kill anything that lingers around, you may still find some of these insects in the area. 

Any small cracks or openings could house hoards of these pests. They can enter your home through small holes and hide in crevices in your walls or floors. If you can see any gaps, shine a light inside and look around. The sudden light may make them scatter, but you could get a good idea of what you’re dealing with. 

Should I Worry about Home Damage?

These pests can wreak havoc within your home, but can they leave lasting damage? Unlike termites or mice, roaches do not generally affect anything in your home besides food. German cockroaches will not eat away at your wood foundation or insulation. 

Extremely large infestations could potentially deteriorate your home, but this is unlikely. Roaches may nest in your electronics, which could cause damage, but they usually prefer other spaces closer to food sources.  

While your home is safe, these pests could feast on some unlikely items. German cockroaches aren’t too picky when it comes to a meal. You could see signs of wear on your leather furniture, belts, and shoes.

Because roaches thrive in humid areas, you may find one crawling on your bars of soap looking for a good meal. These pests love a good book too. However, they’re more likely to consume the physical pages and glue instead of the written words.  

Health Concerns 

Besides being a nuisance, German cockroaches also pose a danger to your health. In fact, the greatest concern about cockroaches is food contamination.

As they travel through your kitchen, they can track harmful bacteria in your food. It’s important to know how to get rid of German cockroaches because these pests can easily infest your home and soil your meals!

Dispose of any droppings you find around your kitchen as their waste attracts other roaches to the area. If you see droppings near your food, toss out anything unsealed and inspect everything else for damages. While they do not carry diseases, you could fall ill after eating contaminated foods. 

Cockroaches can also exacerbate asthma symptoms. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reports that a cockroach can trigger asthma attacks and irritate allergies. Roaches can cause symptoms akin to seasonal allergies by shedding and releasing waste and saliva. 

If you suddenly experience heightened allergy symptoms or worsening asthma with no other cause, consider looking around for signs of an infestation. Doctors can also help determine if your allergies stem from these pests through an allergy test. 

Will a German Cockroach Bite me?

While they can make you sick, these pests do not usually cause any physical harm. German cockroaches avoid interaction by hiding in small, tight spaces. Stepping near one of these insects is enough to send it running the other way. You will rarely see them during the day, and they will not willingly approach you at night. 

German cockroaches can bite humans, but they can’t cause a significant injury. If you suspect that a roach has bitten you, keep it clean and avoid scratching or picking at the area.

Unless you develop an allergic reaction, you can tend to the bites at home. However, roaches are unlikely to bite you. They prefer other sources of nutrition and only turn towards humans if the nest has exhausted its other resources. 

Prevention Methods

Preventing an infestation is easier than dealing with a flood of hard-to-kill insects. It’s important to know how to get rid of German cockroaches, but prevention methods can help steer them away from your kitchen. 

Whether you’re interested in completely deterring cockroaches from entering your home, or you want to make sure they never come back, there are steps you can take to keep these pests out of your home. 

Keep your Home Clean

Wipe up any lingering crumbs and promptly wash dishes, so the cockroaches will have nothing to eat. Dispose or cover grease, pet kibble, and any non-perishable foods as this domesticated species will gravitate towards any food source. 

These roaches are also attracted to areas with an available water source. Wipe down damp areas and drain any standing water in your sink, shower, or dishwasher. Also, frequently check your sink or fridge for possible leaks.

Not only will this cut down on your utility bill, but this is also how to get rid of German cockroaches! They cannot live more than a few days without water, so they will find other areas to infest if your house isn’t hospitable.  

If you have a pet, clean their waste promptly. Dispose of used dog pads, newspaper, or cat litter as your animals use them. Leaving droppings out for a significant amount of time will attract roaches.

After they feast on droppings, they will move and spread fecal matter around your home. This could contaminate your food and previously cleaned surfaces. 

Instead of waiting for garbage day, take your trash out often. Bags of trash will encourage German cockroaches to crawl inside to search for the food you’ve thrown away. Opt for a covered trash can inside your home, so it’s harder for these pests to crawl and look for a meal.

If you have large amounts of leftovers waiting in your trash, try throwing them out sooner than later, as it could make the difference in preventing a more extensive infestation. 

Certain smells also keep these pests at bay. Even though they will eat almost anything, they are surprisingly critical of aromas.

If you aren’t bothered by essential oils, try mixing mint or lavender oil with water. Put around ten drops in a spray bottle full of water, mix it up, and apply to areas where German cockroaches could enter. 

Citrus smells are how to get rid of German cockroaches, too. Using a citrus bathroom and kitchen cleaner may cause them to turn the other way. Keep in mind that this will not quell a current infestation, but it could encourage roaches to seek out another dwelling.

Close off access to your Home

Roach infestations often carry a negative stigma because of many common misconceptions. While they move to areas with supple food sources, keep in mind that even the cleanest residence can be plagued by these insects. These pests will make their way into your house through small cracks, open windows, doors, or any gaps not properly sealed. 

Because they can enter your home through tiny crevasses, make sure to repair any noticeable holes inside and outside your home. German cockroaches typically hide and nest in these tight spaces, making it hard to combat infestations.

Seal these areas before you see signs of an infestation, so they will have nowhere to hide. Mend holes in your roof and fix broken windows as well. While German cockroaches cannot fly, they can still crawl up and on structures with their tiny claws. 

Additionally, they can enter your home by hitching a ride in boxes. Look through your new packages to guarantee you won’t accidentally introduce these pests into your home.

If you visit anyone’s home with cockroaches, check all your belongings to ensure one isn’t hiding. While this is unlikely, remain diligent in areas with large roach populations in case one crawls into your bag or other possessions. 

Can Other Predators Keep them at bay?

Because German cockroaches flourish in residential or commercial areas, they do not have many natural predators to keep them at bay. While they enter your home through cracks, they do not spend much of their time outdoors. 

Spiders can attack cockroaches, but the introduction of spiders would not quell a large infestation. Plus, it would be difficult to deal with more unwanted guests. Some animals eat cockroaches, but it is unlikely to make a difference when the roaches are already inside. 

Relying on other insects or pests is not how to get rid of cockroaches effectively. You should focus on concrete methods to fully eliminate these pests from your home.

How to Get Rid of German Cockroaches

So, the biggest question is: How do you deal with these pests when they’re already in your home? Prevention methods are ideal before the start of an infestation, but you’ll want to resolve the problem quickly at the first sign of the insects.

Because of their quick reproduction rate, it is nearly impossible to remove them from your property without eliminating them completely. So, if you already have an infestation, it’s better to look for ways to rid yourself of the roaches rather than worry about moving them elsewhere. 

Unfortunately, German cockroaches are surprisingly strong. Their hard exoskeletons can hold up against hard blows, so stepping on isn’t how to get rid of German cockroaches for good. These pests are also quickly adapting to strong pesticides, making them harder to kill with typical chemicals.

The infestation won’t die overnight either. It can take around two to three weeks to eliminate all of the roaches in your home. However, you still have options when it comes to stopping an infestation, and taking prompt action can quickly rid your home of unwanted pests. Here’s how to get rid of German cockroaches indoors!

How to Get Rid of German Cockroaches with DIY Options

If you want to combat these pests on your own, there are a few things that you can try. Start cutting off their food sources by cleaning any crumbs on your counters and floors.

Don’t leave anything uncovered that the roaches could easily climb into, and check your home for any water leaks they may gravitate to. Once you make it harder for them to find something to eat, it is much easier to cull the problem. 

Remember to dispose of any roach carcass that you see. If you stomp on a stray roach, promptly take it to the trash. When a roach dies, it releases a scent that attracts more roaches to the nearby area.

While this could help eliminate a few more pests that come out in the open, it won’t impact a large nest. Instead, focus on how to get rid of German cockroaches completely. 

Insecticide Sprays

There are various options you can pick up from your local garden center or hardware store. Some pest sprays specifically target roaches, and you can find items that work inside and outside your home. Spray around your baseboards, stoves, refrigerators, cabinets, and sinks. 

As they walk around areas saturated with the pesticide, they will absorb the chemicals and die. Some contact sprays work to eliminate bugs as soon as you spray them. If you happen upon a cockroach in your kitchen or bathroom, you can grab this to terminate it quickly. 

Cockroach Bait

If you don’t feel comfortable spraying an insecticide around your home, try out cockroach bait. Using tablets or small discs packed with the poison, place the bait in areas with an active infestation or where you have found droppings or egg casings. 

As the roaches come out to feed, they will eat the poison and carry it back to the nests. They will collectively feed on the bait and slowly die out. If you have curious pets or children, make sure these traps are far out of their reach.

Gel Insecticides

Gel insecticides work similarly to bait, but you have more control over placement. You can apply small drops of the gel anywhere in your home, maximizing the chance a roach will find it. As the roach eats the gel and transports more back to the nest, the insecticide will target the population in your home. 

Ensure you’re applying the gel in areas often trafficked by cockroaches or in any cracks you see. If you place the gel on surfaces they don’t frequent, it could dry up and become ineffective. Some gels also don’t entice German cockroaches, so it can be hard to choose one that is guaranteed to work for you. It’s helpful to clean your home often, so they have no option but to eat the poison. 

Sticky Traps

Sticky traps are how to get rid of German cockroaches quickly. Like products devised for mice, the traps have a thick layer of glue designed to keep cockroaches in place after crawling into the device. To attract the insects, place a small portion of food on the sticky substance. 

These traps cannot adequately combat an infestation but could work in tandem with other methods. Any lingering insects left over after a removal method will be caught in the trap and slowly die without food and water. If you can’t accurately distinguish what species is in your home, place one of these traps to observe the roaches better. 

DIY Options to Avoid

However, some DIY approaches like cockroach bombs are best left alone. While they can kill any cockroaches that come into contact with the pesticide, these options are toxic and flammable. You would have to leave your home for a few hours until the insecticide dissipates, and the strong chemicals can’t always wipe out infestations either. 

The bombs won’t impact insects living in hard-to-reach areas and will only kill roaches out in the open. Others will continue to thrive and multiply while you breathe in the harmful chemicals. 

Avoid spending your money on ultrasonic roach repellants as well. Manufacturers report that the devices scare or kill cockroaches through high-pitched frequencies. While this seems like a hands-off and non-toxic way to handle an infestation, there is little evidence to support that this solution even works. Any roaches impacted by the device would return back to the nest or die away from the rest of the infestation. 

How to Get Rid of German Cockroaches with Natural Methods

Many store-bought options can efficiently wipe out a cockroach problem with ease. However, no solution is foolproof, and some DIY alternatives contain intense chemicals you may not want to use inside. If you are interested in natural products, here’s how to get rid of German cockroaches with many popular natural options. 

Diatomaceous Earth 

If you’re looking for a natural solution, try out diatomaceous earth. Sprinkle it around your home and wait a week to see results. As the German cockroaches eat the powdery substance, it breaks down their exoskeleton and causes them to dehydrate.

Most brands are safe for humans and animals, but be sure to pick out a brand labeled as food grade. While relatively safer, diatomaceous earth has one drawback. It can’t function in damp environments, so this may not work under leaky sinks or bathrooms. 

This isn’t how to get rid of German cockroaches quickly, unfortunately. Diatomaceous earth eliminates foraging insects, but won’t impact the larger colony hiding away.

Boric Acid

Boric acid is another way to curb your roach infestation. Spread this powder anywhere you believe the roaches will frequent. As they ingest the acid, it attacks their nervous and digestive systems. Only apply a fine layer of the powder because large quantities are not effective at combatting roaches. Boric acid is dangerous when ingested, so avoid depositing boric acid around any of your food or in areas around young children and pets. 

Baking Soda

Another natural option found in most homes is baking soda. Baking soda is a must for making muffins or adding to your toothbrush for a white smile, and it can efficiently kill roaches, too.

Here’s how to get rid of German cockroaches with baking soda! Add sugar to baking soda to entice the roaches to feed in the area. You can also leave this mixture in a bowl or small plate to avoid a mess. 

Be wary of completely relying on this method. It will surely kill any roaches that directly consume it but won’t impact a larger colony hiding away. If you only have a few roaches or want to take care of any stragglers, this will eliminate all of the remaining pests. 

When using any DIY option, natural or otherwise, use a mask to prevent inhaling dust or fumes. Only spread small quantities of powder to protect your breathing and encourage the roaches to approach the areas.

Grab a pair of gloves before you distribute any substances to protect your skin. While these natural remedies are not known to cause any significant reactions, it’s better to stay on the safe side. 

How to Get Rid of German Cockroaches in Electronics

While unconventional, you could find German cockroaches living in electronics like desktop computers, televisions, gaming consoles, and wifi routers. Because these devices are warm and not typically handled by humans when in use, cockroaches have the perfect home to nest in. However, it’s difficult to combat these pests when they’re inside expensive items.

You can’t easily spray down your electronics or pour in loose powders as it could compromise the internal components of your devices. To spare your gadgets, place everything in air-tight bags without any holes for the roaches to escape. Resist the urge to grab anything for at least two weeks or longer to give ample time for them to die.  

How to Get Rid of German Cockroaches with Professional Help

If any of the DIY alternatives aren’t working, reach out to professionals to handle difficult infestations. While some options may work for a short time, it’s hard to eliminate large quantities of pests. Cockroaches are extremely tough, and the problem could require more than one solution. 

The best way to handle any German cockroach problem is to turn towards proof. pest control. Our highly trained technicians know how to get rid of German cockroaches and can save your home from pests. 

Over the course of two visits, proof. technicians will inspect your home and apply specialized treatments to target current infestations and kill any additional roaches that have grown after two weeks. 

Contact us today to schedule a treatment!

Call proof. pest control at , or send us a message online.

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