German Vs American Cockroach: How To Determine Which Pest Is Infesting Your Home

Now you might be thinking, who cares what type of cockroach it is when you're too busy chasing it down with a shoe? However, identifying the species of these unwanted roaches infesting your home is the first step toward effective removal. Some types of roaches require more extreme measures to eliminate, so it's smart to know exactly what you're up against. As a general rule of thumb, American cockroaches are larger and have a dark reddish-brown color, while German cockroaches tend to be smaller and have a paler brownish color.

Next time you spot a roach in your home, try to snap a photo or trap it before squishing it so that you can easily identify it later. Of course, it's crucial to keep in mind that cockroaches go through a few stages in their life cycle, and can look quite different in each stage. The appearance of your roaches may also vary based on the genetics of the local population, but there are a few distinguishing features to watch out for. Here are the major differences between American cockroaches and German cockroaches. 

American cockroaches are hard to miss

If you've ever seen a roach on the wall and thought, "Wow, that is the biggest roach I have ever seen," it was most likely an American cockroach. The most noteworthy factor about the American cockroach is its impressive size. Adult American cockroaches are usually around 1 ½ inches long, but they can grow up to 2 inches or larger in some cases. American cockroaches have a deep reddish-brown color with especially long antennae and long, prickly brown legs. The nymphs, or baby cockroaches, are also a deep reddish color, with dark horizontal stripes across their backs. These roaches can invade your home anywhere, but they tend to gather around basements, attics, crawlspaces, and other dark, warm areas.

Massive American cockroaches may look scarier, but they're actually the lesser of two evils when compared to German cockroaches. Like any roach, American cockroaches reproduce quickly. A female American roach can lay about 16 eggs every six to eight weeks, and each nymph will take between six and 12 months to reach maturity and reproduce. Sometimes, home remedies and insecticide treatments are enough to get rid of American cockroaches, but calling an exterminator is still a smart idea, especially if you've had an infestation for months.  

German cockroaches are a tiny terror

The German cockroach is generally much smaller than the American cockroach. An American cockroach nymph is about the same size as a German cockroach adult. At full maturity, these roaches are usually only ½ inch long, rarely more. German cockroaches are also paler in color than American cockroaches, with yellowish-tan bodies, light legs, and distinct markings on their upper back, but their nymphs are a chocolate brown color. German cockroaches can exist anywhere in the home, but they tend to prefer warm and damp environments like kitchens and bathrooms, and thrive in places with mold, spoiled food, pet waste, and other general filth.

German cockroaches may be smaller, but their infestations are extremely aggressive. The main reason why German cockroaches are so hard to get rid of is their ability to reproduce quickly. A female German cockroach can lay a clutch of 30-40 eggs every 28 days. German roaches also mature faster than other roaches, and new nymphs can start reproducing themselves within about three months. It is extremely difficult to get rid of these cockroaches without the help of an exterminator, so call a professional ASAP after you notice these small but mighty roaches in your home.