German vs. American Cockroaches

There are many pests that annoy us, but few are as troublesome as cockroaches. There are roughly 4,000 species of cockroaches around the world. In fact, over 60 percent of homes contain roaches and their droppings. These are resilient pests that can eat, live and reproduce in your home without you being aware of their presence. Roaches typically invade homes because they are looking for warmth, moisture and food – and can survive for three months in a home without even eating.

When are cockroaches active?

A cockroach is a nocturnal insect and is typically most active at night. They are most likely to be active approximately four hours after dark. These pests live and hide in dark, damp areas throughout a home including kitchens, bathrooms, cupboards, pipes, appliances, closets and cabinets.

German Cockroaches vs. American Cockroaches

When it comes to different species of roaches, there are two that are particularly popular – the American cockroach and the German cockroach. While both may cause homeowners to recoil in dread, they are remarkably different.

American vs. German cockroach
What is an American Cockroach?

Scientists commonly refer to the American Cockroach as a “Palmetto Bug”. It is the largest type of roach infesting homes. They have reddish-brown wings and are good flyers. They often invade from sewer systems and heavily mulched areas. In your home, you can find this pest nearly anywhere. They contaminate food, carry disease, damage book bindings, fabrics and wallpaper.

What is a German Cockroach?

The German Cockroach has two dark stripes running from front to back on its body. They can be found throughout the world, thriving wherever people live, eating the same foods and sharing the same habitats. Populations build rapidly from egg capsules being produced about every 20-25 days. Each capsule contains about 35 eggs, with the young maturing in about 100 days. A German cockroach can contaminate food, leave stains, create foul odors and carry diseased organisms.

What are the signs of an infestation?

According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), signs of an infestation include:

  • Seeing a roach scurry to a dark area after turning on the light
  • Discovering droppings in the dim areas in which they hide
  • Seeing egg capsules
  • Smelling a pheromone that some people describe as having a “musty” smell (Both the German cockroach and the American cockroach are known for producing such an odor. People with sensitive noses may notice this odor around the house.)

Are cockroaches a health risk?

Roaches are known to carry bacteria and can transmit diseases to humans including Salmonella and E. coli. These two diseases are known to cause food poisoning, leading to severe nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, dehydration and diarrhea that may occasionally be bloody.

In rarer cases, the bacteria from Salmonella and E.coli can spread into the blood stream and cause life threatening infections. Diseases are spread by cockroaches when they contaminate human food with germs that may have been picked up from other places they were traveling through, such as garbage dumps.

By having a clean and sanitary home, you will make it less inviting for cockroaches.


Massey Services offers the following tips on how to prevent German and American cockroaches:

  • Roaches need water to survive. Eliminate any leaky pipes, and do not allow water to build up inside or outside of the home.
  • Most roaches are cannibalistic and will eat dead roaches if they are not cleaned up. That’s why it’s important to clean up all dead roaches in and around your home rather than attract and feed live roaches.
  • Larger roaches leave droppings that look like coffee grounds. Make sure there are no “coffee grounds” in any of your drawers or cabinets.
  • Roaches are most frequently spotted near garbage cans and refrigerators. By sealing garbage cans, disposing of trash properly, and cleaning up any crumbs or food, you are preventing these pests from being attracted to your home.
  • These tiny, flat creatures have the ability to sneak in through the tiniest cracks and crevices in the home. Make sure to seal off any openings.

If you feel that you have a roach infestation – whether it be German cockroaches or American cockroaches – Massey Services can provide targeted Pest Prevention treatments to the outside of your home. Our customized program keeps roaches out of your home so you don’t have to control them later. If roaches return at any time between your scheduled services, we’ll come back at no extra charge to eliminate them. 

We recommend you contact a professional pest control expert to determine how to prevent these pests from entering your home. For more information on Massey Services pest prevention and treatment services, click here to schedule your free no-obligation inspection.