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Top 10 Pests: German cockroach

German cockroaches of various stages
German cockroach adults, nymphs, and egg case

Photo Department of Entomology,
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

German Cockroach

Scientific Name:
Blatella germanica
Blattodea (cockroaches)
U.S. Distribution:
All states





This page has three tables, (1) Identification, (2) Look-alike Pests, and (3) Biology and Habits.


Match the Shape and Size Match the Color
Profile of argentine ant
German cockroach adult male and female
  • Adult is 1/2 to 5/8 inch long (13-16 mm)
  • Long antennae
  • Wings cover abdomen
  • Visible cerci
  • Two dark longitudinal bands on pronotal shield
  • Tan to light brown
Illustration © Pinto & Associates Photo by CDC


Look-alike Pests

Look-alike Pest Differences

Brownbanded cockroach (Supella longipalpa)

No dark bands on pronotal shield
Asian cockroach (Blatella asahinai)
Almost identical in appearance; flies readily; flies to lights, currently only in southeastern states


Biology and Habits

Match the Food and Site Match the Habits and Damage
Kichen in a residence Spotting caused by German cockroaches
  • Most common cockroach in residences, especially in kitchens; also found in commercial kitchens, food plants, offices, hospitals, and other buildings
  • Scavenger on wide range of foods
  • Hides in cracks & crevices in kitchens and bathrooms; in heavy infestations, will occupy other rooms
  • Prefers warm, humid locations
  • Sometimes found outdoors in warm weather, usually near garbage
  • Leaves distinctive fecal spots in severe infestations
  • Hides during day, active at night
  • Runs rapidly
  • Adult rarely flies or glides
  • Has a distinctive odor
  • Female carries light tan egg capsule (1/4-inch or 8 mm long) until hatching
  • Can contaminate food, causing illness
  • Can damage books, wallpaper, fabrics
  • Can cause allergies or asthma in sensitive individuals
Photo © Pinto & Associates Photo © Pinto & Associates

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