How To Get Rid Of German Cockroaches

If you have an active German roach infestation, follow these guidelines to learn how to get rid of german cockroaches.

The German cockroach (Blattella germanica ) is one of the most common roaches found in apartment houses, restaurants, and hotels. German cockroaches (eggs included), are brought inside or hitchhike on man's belongings, luggage, boxes or packages. A large German roach population will produce a foul odor. These roaches prefer moisture, food, and warmth. Sanitation measures are critical in controlling German roaches. German roaches can be a serious health hazard in restaurants.

What Are German Roaches?

The German cockroach (Blattella germanica ) is one of the most common roaches found in apartment houses, restaurants, and hotels. They are small light-brown roaches and seen mainly in kitchens and bathrooms. These roaches prefer living in warm areas with easy access to moisture and food. That is why they are so commonly found in the kitchen. Sanitation measures are critical in controlling German roaches.They are usually spotted at night. If you see German roaches during the day, there is likely a substantial infestation present.

How Did I Get German Roaches?

German cockroaches (eggs included), are usually brought inside or hitchhike on a person's belongings, furniture, luggage, grocery bags and boxes,etc. All it takes is bringing in one egg capsule, and in six months, you can have an infestation. Once inside, German cockroaches can easily move throughout the building. They can travel from a neighboring apartment to another and can pass through small openings around plumbing and electrical outlets. German roaches may scatter from one area to another after a repellent insecticide application. We recommend only using non-repellent insecticides in German roach treatments. It may not be possible to eliminate German cockroaches if new roaches are continually being brought in.

How to Get Rid of German Roaches

German Roach Identification

cockroach comparison american german smoky brown
Cockroach comparison
German Cockroaches
German Cockroaches
German roach Egg
German roach Egg

Adult German roaches measure in size from 1/2 inch- 5/8 inch long with a flattened oval shape and long antennae. They vary in color from light to medium brown. These roaches have two distinctive dark stripes behind the head as a distinctive trait.

Adult length: Maximum of 1/2 inch

Color: Adults are pale brown. The nymphs are darker, almost all black. They have dark stripes behind the head. The male is light brown and has a slender abdomen.

Pronotum: Two longitudinal dark stripes. The pronotum is the shield-like plate on top of the thorax.

Wings: Both sexes are winged, but do not fly. They prefer to run.

Not Sure Which Type of Roach You Have ?

If you are unsure if you have German roaches, place sticky traps such as Victor Pheromone Traps #327RPT on the kitchen counters at night and take a picture. Send email with the picture attachment and we will be glad to help you with identification.

Inspection: Look for Evidence

German roach
German roach
German roaches under counter
German roaches under counter
Roaches by window
Roaches by window
Cockroach feces droppings
Cockroach feces droppings

First Step: Inspection

(Their excrement looks like black pepper)

  • Cracks and Crevices
  • Behind and under refrigerators
  • Behind and under stoves
  • Behind and under microwaves and toasters
  • Under tops of tables
  • Behind and under sinks
  • Cabinets-corners and cracks and crevices
  • Motors of refrigerators and soft drink dispensing machines
  • Switchboxes and electrical outlets
  • Under and behind cafeteria counters and soda fountains

Where German Roaches Are Found

Kitchens and bathrooms are the main habitats for German roaches. German roaches will stay close to water and food sources. A large German roach population will produce a foul odor. German roaches find shelter in the warmth of electrical appliances and wiring. Look for these roaches behind and under major appliances and devices in the kitchen. Sanitation is the first step in German roach treatments; they eat leftover food in your sink and countertops. German roaches will be around garbage containers and behind kitchen cabinets.

If this roach population is large enough, they will spill over to other rooms. These roaches are mostly active at night. If German roaches are seen active during the day, it most likely is due to overcrowding in their hiding places or a shortage of food and water supply. Cracks and crevices are their harborage areas; they spend about 75% of their time in such harborages. First instar nymphs require a crack of about 1/32" whereas, adults require an inch width. German cockroach nymphs are smaller than most other cockroaches; thus, they can conceal themselves in many places and remain protected.

Prevent German Roaches and Sanitation Measures

When beginning your German roach control program, sanitation is one of the first things to consider. German roaches only need a small amount of food to sustain them.

First, inspect all the areas listed under inspection and follow sanitation recommendations. When beginning your German roach control program, sanitation is one of the first things to consider. German roaches only need a small amount of food to sustain themselves. We recommend using gel baits, non-repellent insecticides, dust baits, roach bait stations, insect growth regulators (IGR), select dust and roach pheromone traps for residential and commercial areas.

Very often, high levels of control can be achieved by baits alone for the typical homeowner. Several very effective bait products are on the market today. However, like any chemical control, resistance to the ingredients in baits can occur. The products we recommend have not had a resistance problem. Rotate baits for locations with a continued problem.

Their droppings look like black pepper. If you see a lot of droppings in an area that is an indication that roaches are spending a lot of time there and that makes it a good area to treat. Roach droppings can trigger asthma attacks and allergies so remove the droppings and clean the area thoroughly.

Suggested Sanitation and Prevention Measures

  • Remove indoor trash or keep them emptied.
  • Keep trash dumpsters clean.
  • Make sure food is not left in sink strainers and frequently run the garbage disposal.
  • Seal food containers.
  • Keep dishes clean, no residue of food remaining.
  • All kitchen appliances (microwaves, toasters, ovens, refrigerators, and stoves) should be maintained in a clean condition so that it is free of food and grease.
  • Pick up all pet food.
  • Do not leave food out in the open.
  • Sweep or vacuum food particles or crumbs.
  • Get rid of empty soft drink bottles, paper bags, and cardboard boxes.

How do I keep German roaches from coming back?

We suggest using Avert Flowable bait as a long-term choice. It stays active for a long time. It is not only a bait but acts like a tracking powder for roaches. This powdery roach bait attaches to roaches and is ingested as the groom themselves. The bait is limited to cracks and crevices and under appliances. It is designed to work with gel baits because the gel baits can be placed on open surfaces.

German Roach Control Methods and Products

One of The best ways to get rid of German Roaches is to place out a high-quality roach bait like Invict Gold to kill the adult German roaches and an insect growth regulator (IGR) like Tekko IGRs, such as Tekko Trio Foam to stop the reproduction of roaches. We have both products in a kit, Invict Gold Roach Kit for savings.

For those who prefer to spray, use German Roach Spray Kit. It combines Alpine WSG insecticide (a non-repellent insecticide) with Tekko Pro IGR (Insect Growth Regulator). After spraying this liquid combination into cracks and crevices, use the Shockwave aerosol to flush out the hiding roaches on the recently sprayed surface.

Can I Use An Insecticide Spray To Control German Roaches ?

  • Insecticides do not control German roaches well unless you use non-repellent insecticides such as Alpine WSG or Advion WDG. The roaches can not detect the presence of non-repellent insecticides, so it has a chance to work. For best results, combine with an IGR like Tekko Pro.
  • Gel baits have quicker results than bait stations. The top recommendations are Invict Roach Bait Gel or Vendetta Roach Bait Gel. Bait Stations are perfect for ongoing maintenance after the use of gel baits. The top product recommendation in the roach bait station category is Advion Arena Roach Bait Stations.
  • A flowable bait, such as Avert Dry Flowable is a long-lasting dry formulation. Apply it in areas where you can not reach to apply gel bait.
  • IGRs (Insect Growth Regulators) reduce the ability to reproduce. You may apply IGRs with any bait or any insecticide without conflict. Tekko Pro IGR or Tekko Trio Foam are the top recommendations among all of insect growth regulators.
  • Do not apply repellent insecticides( liquids or dust) near gel baits or bait stations; they would contaminate them.
  • Commercial kitchens and restaurants may be an exception to using just roach baits.

For German Roach control in restaurants, we recommend the use of insecticides, aerosols, dust, and insect growth regulators instead of baits. There are too many competing food sources for effective control of german roaches in restaurants with bait.

For those who prefer to spray, use German Roach Spray Kit. It combines Advion WDG insecticide (a non-repellent insecticide) with Tekko Pro IGR (Insect Growth Regulator). After spraying this liquid combination into cracks and crevices, use the Shockwave aerosol to flush out the hiding roaches on the recently sprayed surface.

For those who prefer to spray, use German Roach Spray Kit. It combines Advion WDG insecticide (a non-repellent insecticide) with Tekko Pro IGR (Insect Growth Regulator). After spraying this liquid combination into cracks and crevices, use the Shockwave aerosol to flush out the hiding roaches on the recently sprayed surface.

Key Takeaway

Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs) are invaluable for eliminating German Roaches and can be used with Baits or insecticide Sprays.

Popular German Roach Bait Kits (Gel Baits and IGRs included)

Invict Gold Roach Gel Kit

This kit contains Invict Roach Bait with Tekko Trio Foam for the best combination for German roach control, it kills the adult population and prevents new births. InVict Gold Cockroach Gel rapidly kills roaches with its bait matrix of 11 food attractants as a lure. It is known to maximize roach control and fight against bait aversion.

Ultimate Roach Gel Kit

Contains all of products in the Invict Roach Kit plus Invade Bio Zap, Insect bait stations to hold the gel bait, and glue boards to monitor results.

Use Invade Bio Zap (a ready-to-use spray) to sterilize areas where the roach feces have dropped. Invade Bio Zap is also a probiotic formula (biodegradable and non-pathogenic) that removes stains and odors. It has a citrus scent.

Roach Baits (Dust, Aerosols, and  Station Bait Forms)

Avert Dry

Avert Dry Flowable remains effective for more than one year after initial treatment.The dry formula reaches void areas that gels and bait stations cannot reach. Avert Dry Flowable is intended for application with the provided crack and crevice bait extension tube. Apply insecticide directly into cracks and crevices.

Alpine Cockroach Gel Bait

Alpine Cockroach Gel Bait in a piston can. This can is the best of both worlds, the convenience of spraying, but in a gel bait form. Contains the reduced risk of insecticide Dinotefuran. It is free of the Big 8 Allergens

Roach Bait Stations

Advion Roach Bait Arena (60 ctn)

Use Advion cockroach bait arena to control cockroach populations indoors and outdoors with the active ingredient indoxacarb, an insecticide that acts through ingestion by cockroaches. These bait stations do not work as quickly as the roach bait gels, but they do not dry out.

It would be perfect in maintenance situations.

Where Do I Place These Roach Baits?

Typical harborage areas for German Roaches and places for treatment of Roach Bait

  1. German roaches will exist under favorable conditions of food, water, or warmth.
  2. Before treating any area, it is best to first take a flashlight and check areas for harborage sites. Look for their excrement droppings (looks like black pepper).

Suggested Roach Bait Placements

Cracks and crevice placement, as opposed to placement on exposed surfaces is preferred because roaches do not travel far from their harborage. These precise placements result in better control because you have placed them in areas that the roaches spend most of their time.

  • Behind kitchen cabinets and countertops.
  • Behind anything hanging on the wall, such as pictures, clocks, posters, etc.
  • Behind, next to, and under the stove.
  • In the corners up under the sink and other cabinets.
  • In stored paper bags and boxes.
  • Around pipes, cords, and cables that come out of the wall.
  • Behind and under bathroom fixtures.
  • Behind the medicine cabinet and vanity.
  • In any cracks or crevices around shelves or wood trim.

Roaches are cannibalistic and will eat other dead or dying roaches. The roaches are not social insects like ants and termites, they do not carry the bait back to feed the young. The bait is passed through by excrement or eating the dead roaches. Spray into areas where pests are hiding or living. It does not stain.


It is important to re-bait in the areas where the roaches are taking the bait. Paying attention to this will speed up the treatment.

What are Insect Growth Regulators?

  • Using insect growth regulators breaks the roach growth cycle.
  • Tekko Pro or Tekko Trio Foam stop reproduction and reduces the survival of the German roach with two different modes of action. It affects the molting process, making the German roach vulnerable to survival and stops it at the larvae state.
  • Tekko Pro IGR and Tekko Trio Foam have changed the industry of Insect Growth Regulators. It has two different active ingredients to provide two different modes of action to combat the most severe german roach populations. There have been reports of the complete elimination of the German roach population inside of two weeks when used alone. Combined with the Invict Roach Gel, Vendetta Roach Bait, or Advion WDG non-repellent spray provides the greatest impact.

How do I use insecticide dust for German roach control?

The key to insecticide dust application is to use a minimal amount, applying it in a thin layer. It should be hardly visible to the naked eye and never applied to open areas. Dust under and around appliances. If you apply dust in heavy applications, the German roaches will walk around the pile or accumulation dust. Use a hand-held duster for accurate dust placement. Only fill the duster half full when dusting. You want airspace on the top of the dust container to shake it and puffed out more easily. It is helpful to place a couple of pennies inside the dusting container to break up clumps of dust. Applying insecticide dust with a spoon is insufficient.

  • Dust should only supplement any insecticide of a bait control program for German roach control, not as a stand-alone solution.
  • Sometimes, bait alone will not be sufficient for roach control. Restaurants will need a good dusting/liquid insecticide program because baiting will not work.
  • Those that live in apartments might benefit from dusting behind the plumbing area under their sinks and electrical outlets for long-term management..
  • When you apply them to recessed and dry areas, they give you long-lasting results. Typical areas to dust would be electrical outlets, so a hand duster with a plastic tip would be needed.
  • Do not place insecticide dust in the same location as any roach baits, as it would contaminate the baits.

What are the purposes of roach traps?

Roach traps not only trap roaches but serve as monitoring tools. Place these low-profile traps under cabinets and kitchen appliances. If possible, place them out of view, but close to the roach activity. We recommend placing roach traps flush against surfaces for greater success in trapping. You only trap half as many roaches if the trap is even 3/4 inch from the wall.

German roaches on glue board
German roaches on glue board

Insecticide Aerosols to Get Rid of Roaches

Spectre PS is the top recommendation in the aerosol category. It provides a long residual and is a non-repellent insecticide. As a non-repellent insecticide, the insects cannot detect its presence, allowing the insects to cross over its chemical placements, instead of avoiding the area.

Sprectre Aerosol may be used with roach baits and will enhance your German roach control.

German Roach Control in Restaurants

Many times, german roaches in restaurants require insecticides as opposed to baiting. Using baits in German roach control requires that there are no competing food sources. In restaurants, it is almost impossible to eliminate all competing food sources.s.

Top Recommendations

  • In restaurants, you may have to still spray with a non-repellent residual insecticide such as Alpine WSG. You can also use roach baits and aerosols like Spectre PS in commercial kitchens.
  • Use Alpine WSG by itself or combined with roach baits. Alpine WSG will not conflict with the roach baits.
  • Use Tekko Pro IGR mixed with Alpine WSG insecticide to stop the reproduction.
    We encourage you to call us for recommendations, in that we have had a long history of helping restaurants solve their problem, but needs to be handled on an individual basis.

The Commercial German Roach Kit combines several products together for savings and is optimized for commercial kitchens and restaurants or for property management.

Another product that is recommended for restaurants is Eaton's Boric Acid Powder Eaton's Boric Acid Powder may be applied as a mop rinse insecticide that leaves an odorless, invisible residue that cockroaches cannot detect.

German Cockroach Diet

These roaches will eat a broad range of foods and prefer to stay close to food and water sources.

Habits and Biology of German Cockroaches

Biology-Adaptability and Survival

Females produce one egg capsule every 3-4 weeks. Each capsule contains 25-45 eggs, the largest capsule of all roach species that would infest a building. The female will carry the egg capsule with her until it is ready to hatch, making it less hazardous for the nymph to survive. The female German roach also has the shortest period to develop from hatching until sexual maturity. The populations of German cockroaches will build up faster than other species. The young (nymphs) will be able to breed in as little as 36 days. A combination of these traits produces what entomologists call a "high reproductive potential."

Adult German roaches can live up to one year. They adapt quickly to changing environments and evolve to survive.

Pathogens and Diseases German Roaches

German roaches can trigger asthma, allergies, and eczema, particularly in young children. The bacteria that they carry and transmit may cause food poisoning and intestinal diseases such as dysentery and diarrhea. Since German roaches will feed on both human and roach feces, they can spread germs. As the roach travels over food and utensils, they carry diseases on their legs and bodies. The roach excrement and cast skins carry allergens that may result in allergic responses such as rashes, watery eyes, sneezing, and congestion.

 

 

Various Roaches That Invade Homes and Businesses

( American and German Roaches are the most common and have two different types of treatments.)

Small Roaches (German and Brown-Banded) 1/2"-1 " in the adult stage
Large Roaches (American, Australian, Oriental, Smokey Brown and Wood ) 1.5 " or longer in the adult stage

Written by our resident pest control expert Ken Martin.