We’ve written extensively about the American Cockroach and its threat to Pittsburgh and Western PA industry, but the German Cockroach is just as much of an annoyance and requires an equal amount of attention and expertise to control.
While scientists once believed that the German cockroach originated in Europe and then a bit later in northeast Africa, modern research tells another story that claims origins are somewhere in southeastern Asia.
This insect pest has been given several monikers. In countries where English is spoken it is known as the German Cockroach; in Germany, on the other hand, it is referred to as the Russian Cockroach.
Whatever the truth and regardless of its origins, this species of cockroach known formally as Blattella germanicais is a destructive pest known throughout the world, occurring on all continents with the exception of Antarctica, and one in particularly evident throughout the Greater Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania environs. For any Pennsylvania business, restaurants especially, they pose a threat to repeat traffic, employee health and your bottom line.
The mere fact that one female cockroach and her progeny can produce hundreds of thousands of cockroaches in one year’s time underscores the importance of effective, preventative, ongoing pest management efforts.
Our entomologists and pest control experts are backed with seven decades of research, on-site experience and refined insecticidal know-how in deterring, preventing and exterminating this invasive nuisance.
Contact Pestco today for any roach-related emergencies, or continue reading to learn more about the German Cockroach, and, more importantly, how we can help guard your business against it!
How The German Cockroach Differs from His American Cousin
Before any type of pest control treatment can be applied, our expert technicians at Pestco must first identify the type of roach that has caused the commercial or industrial infestation.
The two most common species that invade commercial industrial and residential spaces are the German and American cockroaches. These are the major differences between them:
- The German Cockroach is an indoor insect while the American species prefers the outdoors and will only venture inside a structure in search of food or water. German roaches will live anywhere humans build heated structures and they are usually found in food prep/storage areas, industrial kitchens and food processing plants around and under appliances, in cracks behind backslashes, beneath cabinets and warm spots around appliance motors such as refrigerators and dishwashers.
- The German Cockroach is much smaller than its American cousin. It is brown with two longitudinal stripes running down the thorax and is from 1/2 to 5/8 inches long. American roaches, also known as palmetto bugs or water bugs can fly and are the largest of the domestic roach species. Reddish brown in color, they have a yellowish margin on their body and range in size from 1.5 to 2 inches in length.
- The German Cockroach outdoes its American counterpart in its ability to reproduce at an astonishing rate. A single female produces 20 to 48 eggs at a time.
- This species is also harder to kill. They are resistant to most pesticides.
Statistics and Interesting Facts About The German Cockroach
Not so long ago, the German cockroach was considered the number one pest in residential and commercial buildings. That did change with the introduction of sophisticated baits applied by the expert technicians at Pestco. It is scientifically estimated that cockroaches spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens.
According to the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UCANR), cockroaches cause infection by transporting bacteria such as Staphylococcus, hepatitis virus, coliform bacteria, and food poisoning by spreading Salmonella and Shigella. Historically, the presence of cockroaches has also been associated with typhoid, dysentery and cholera.
German cockroaches are often responsible for outbreaks of illness and allergic reactions in many people. Medical studies have indicated that allergens associated with this species can aggravate asthma attacks, especially in children.
Nine Facts To Know About the German Cockroach
- As mentioned earlier, German cockroaches reproduce at a rate worthy of a horror film script. Experts claim that one female cockroach and her progeny can produce hundreds of thousands of cockroaches in one year’s time. Our knowledgeable and highly trained technicians at Pestco understand that in order to prevent an infestation, servicing must be frequent enough to stay ahead of the growth curve and/or pest control and management products.
- Although they can function well at room temperatures, German cockroaches prefer heat and humidity. Temperatures ranging from 85° to 95° F with a humidity index at 90 to 95% are ideal for these pests. Preferred areas are where the temperature is at it highest, such as above refrigerators and other heat-generating appliances, under sinks and around hot and cold water pipes (for warmth and water from condensation).
- German cockroaches protect themselves by hiding out of plain sight. Their favorite locations are inside narrow crevices where their antennae can extend outward. Cracks between cabinets and walls, the flange under kitchen sinks, and the spaces between door corners and jambs are ideal havens.
- One of the creepier qualities of German cockroaches is their ability to alter their normal behavior. Any type of commercial or residential space may contain an infestation in one area but not in another. While usually found in kitchens, they may appear in a reception area or family room. They may also be observed moving about in bright light, and outdoors scattering across lawns and shrubbery adjacent to office buildings.
- German cockroaches are always in survival mode and often disband to new areas. Our technicians understand that during an outbreak, they must expand their inspections to include adjacent offices and rooms above and below the site of infestation, including those locations that are not usually attractive to German cockroaches.
- These insect pests are very protective of their egg cases, unlike other species of roaches. The female often carries the egg case for as long as thirty days, releasing it barely moments before it is ready to hatch. While carrying the case, the instinct to survive propels the female to hide in tiny cracks and secret crevices. Our highly experienced Pestco technicians apply residual insecticides deep with these narrow apertures specifically for this reason. They also schedule a follow up treatment a few weeks later to insure that all the eggs were destroyed in the initial application.
- German cockroaches are particularly difficult to eliminate because they can develop resistance to insecticides. When this occurs, the roaches cannot be controlled with a specific insecticide or even sometimes with a related one that they have never been exposed to. Pestco experts periodically change insecticides and/or combinations of chemicals to prevent pest control failures.
- This roach species is known to crowd together. This can be both a positive and a negative for the pest control specialist called upon the scene. A pest control specialist who misses an aggregation, will not clear the infestation, but on the other hand, the fact that they clump together as a unit makes them easy to detect because there is always brown spotting left behind that marks their gathering place.
- German cockroaches prefer confined spaces, and their small size compared to the American cockroach makes it easy for them to hide within small cracks and crevices that are often overlooked by pesticide applications.
Controlling The German Cockroach’s Threat To Pittsburgh
The food industry is particularly vulnerable to German cockroach infestations. They can occur even in perfectly clean kitchens and immaculate food processing plants. These insects often enter a facility via food delivery containers such as beer cases and cardboard boxes. Commercial kitchens are also ideal habitats to live in and breed because they provide warmth.
These insects seek out spots, such as pilot stove lights, ovens and heating grates still warm from continued service. Coils on the back of refrigerators are additional sources of warmth and food as they are niches where crumbs can easily accumulate.
The darker the better when it comes to sustainable environments for the German cockroach. Cupboards, pantries and all kinds of cabinets are perfect. They are also very attracted to grease accumulation that is often found around and under grills, stoves and fryers.
The Types Of Businesses Affected By The German Cockroach
Pittsburgh restaurants, food processing plants, supermarkets and groceries are the most vulnerable to infestations but this roach can cause damage and spread disease in other industries, such as hotels, nursing homes, housing facilities, fitness and medical centers.
Some restaurants in the Pittsburgh area have already felt the reputation sting of a German cockroach infestation. After many complaints, the Allegheny County Health Department issued a consumer alert a few years ago for a restaurant at a local Mall. According to, Steve Steingart, health department spokesman: “When the inspector opened up the stove, she indicated to me it was almost like a Steelers game letting out. Cockroaches were everywhere even in the walls.”
More recently, just a few weeks ago in fact, a fast food restaurant on Liberty Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh was also cited with a consumer alert over a German cockroach infestation. According to the Tribune Review, inspectors found roaches under the drink machine, radiators and in a cabinet under a sink. The Allegheny County Health Department posted the alert on their website and is scheduled to re-inspect the premises before the warning will be removed.
Our Pestco Control And Management Strategies and Solutions
Pestco’s pest control and pest management strategies are always focused on the elimination of pests and the protection of human health and the environment. In the case of German cockroaches, applications can be problematic because this species is resistant to most pesticides.
Our approved insecticides are always very carefully applied, and our technicians receive extensive training in learning how to deal with all pest control and pest management issues because each infestation is unique and brings to the situation its own set of problems and solutions. Techniques for both pest control and pest management have improved over the decades due to advances in technology and science.
We are a family-owned, five-star organization in continuous operation since 1948. Our technicians are highly trained and attend workshops on a regular basis so that they are always one step ahead of the pests and aware of the latest innovations in both products and methods to combat pest infestations of all kinds.
Pestco is always here to provide long-term pest control, exclusion services and protection against any type of pest infestation in any kind of commercial or industrial space. This includes but is not limited to: food and beverage processing, food service, government, healthcare, hospitals, multi-family dwellings, office property management, pharmaceutical, retail, schools and universities.
The Complete Care Facility Hygiene Maintenance Program
In addition to superior pest control and pest management, we also offer other services bundled together in one cost-effective blanket package known as the Complete Facility Care program. This three-pronged initiative provides the ultimate in pest control and pest management, washroom hygiene services provided Enviro-Master and environmental odor and air freshening solutions supplied by Air-Scent. This special offer ensures customized infestation strategies for all types of industries situated in Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania. Always dedicated to the needs of their community, this collection of professional services is the best that money can buy.
Call the professionals at Pestco today (412) 252-5200 — we’re here to help! And we offer weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or bi-monthly programs, or customized applications to suit your needs.
Final thought on cockroaches: I am convinced my cockroaches have military training. I set off a roach bomb and they diffused it. ~ Jay London