German Cockroach

German Cockroach by unteroffizier/dreamstime

The German cockroach is the most commonly encountered cockroach in the Pacific Northwest. They are active year-round and will often infest apartments, restaurants, hospitals, and other buildings where food is stored or prepared.

German cockroaches multiply more quickly than any other cockroach in the state of Washington. Within 12 months, females can produce 4-8 egg cases, which they carry protruding from the tip of their abdomen until the eggs are ready to hatch. Each egg case contains 30-48 eggs. Because of their ability to produce hundreds of eggs within a year, a single cockroach can quickly turn into a large infestation.


German cockroaches are often brought into buildings via groceries, paper products, cardboard boxes, drink cartons/cases, and even secondhand appliances such as refrigerators, televisions, and microwaves. They may also migrate from nearby infested dwellings, such as apartment units, along plumbing or utility tunnels.

Since they prefer warm and humid places, German cockroaches most commonly infest kitchens and bathrooms. However, if a large population exists, then they will infest other rooms such as dens, bedrooms, and any living space where foods, drink, and shelter are available.

German cockroaches are nocturnal but may be seen during the day if an excessive infestation is present. Generally, they spend the day hiding clustered together in cracks and crevices of cabinets, counters, sinks, closets, pantries, and baseboards. They may also find shelter in appliances such as stoves, refrigerators, dishwashers, toasters, and coffee makers. Water heaters, telephones, and cash registers also make good hiding places, as well as behind pictures, wall hangings, and clocks.

Health Risk

German cockroaches will feed on almost anything including human foods, pet foods, soap, glue, and toothpaste. They contaminate foods, cooking surfaces, and non-food items with their saliva, feces, and glandular secretions.

According to the National Pest Management Association, cockroaches can spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, 6 kinds of parasitic worms, and 7 other human pathogens. In addition to disease and illness, cockroaches can cause allergic reactions through their feces, secretions, cast skins, and dead bodies. Allergic reactions may be more severe for those with asthma.

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