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Common Signs of a German Cockroach Infestation

Updated on January 31, 2015

Cockroaches are notoriously elusive insects that breed fast and are difficult to exterminate. Because they are negatively phototaxic (nocturnal), cockroaches will be more active during the night and this makes them difficult to spot. However, there are many tell-tale signs of a cockroach infestation in your house that you can easily recognized.

Signs of Cockroach Infestation

Most people are surprised at the extent of a cockroach infestation when it is already too severe. However, it is fairly easy to notice the presence of cockroaches if you only knew what to look out for. The first obvious sign that there is a cockroach infestation is when you notice cockroach droppings.

To identify these droppings, make sure you take a closer look at the dirt on the floor when you are doing your normal cleaning. Use a soft brush to gather the dirt and put it on a white piece of paper where you will notice round or cylindrical faeces. The round droppings normally come from small cockroaches while the cylindrical ones are from larger ones.

Another sure sign that there is a significant infestation of cockroaches is when you come across them during the day. This is because cockroaches are nocturnal creatures which are most active at night, seeing those during the day will mean that the resident population has grown to a very high level.

The third sign of cockroach infestation is when you notice cockroach eggs and other body parts such as wings all over the place. Cockroaches have a peculiar manner in which they lay their eggs – they glue them to surfaces in such a way that they are hard to remove. Once the eggs have hatched, you will notice an increase in the number of empty capsules that are blown all over the floor.

Cockroach droppings also give off a pungent smell that permeates the air which makes it easy to identify their presence. In addition to the pungent smell, another sign of infestation is the presence of dead bodies on the floors and behind equipment such as refrigerators.

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Cockroach Damage

Cockroaches are nasty creatures that can cause a number of problems in the home if not gotten rid of quickly. Learning the damaging effects of cockroach infestations will give you the necessary motivation even if cockroaches are not easy getting rid of. Cockroach damage examples include:

  • Food contamination occurs when cockroaches chew on food items. In the process, there is defecation as well as reaction of the food with the saliva. This damages the food items and renders them unfit for human consumption. Cockroaches also damage the packaging of food items by chewing through them with their powerful mandibles
  • Disease transmission is a major concern as the pests act as carriers of harmful bacteria and other microorganisms which they then transmit through contamination of foods as well as food surfaces. Cockroaches normally live in moist areas such as inside pipes and sewers so when they crawl on food surfaces will leave behind these disease-causing microorganisms
  • Destruction of equipment such as television sets and refrigerators is a real concern because cockroaches will nibble on electrical parts leading to malfunctions. Due to the manner in which they are able to enter very small spaces because of their flat body shape, cockroaches can cause damage in areas that are unreachable
  • Cockroach bites are a major concern especially in homes where there are small children. Such bites occur if the cockroach population is too large to be sustained by the available food supplies. While the bites are normally not serious, some of them can turn into serious wounds depending on the sanitary conditions
  • Allergic reactions from the dust that forms from the waste and body parts of cockroaches is common especially under conditions of severe infestation. In fact, the incidence of hyper allergenic reactions to cockroach dust is directly proportional to the degree of infestation with the pests

Cockroach Removal

Getting rid of a cockroach infestation involves disrupting the pest reproductive cycle and removing conditions that encourage them. As stated earlier, the pests are very hardy and are able to withstand chemicals due to their rapid reproductive cycles and numbers.

One of the best methods for cockroach removal involves using food grade diatomaceous earth which is non-toxic to both human beings and pest. The diatomaceous earth is spread in the hard to reach places within the house such as under the places where the pests crawl, cupboards, around the perimeter of the house and the wood box.

Diatomaceous earth will kill most pests by stripping their external body and drying them out, while at the same time sparing helpful organisms such as earthworms which provide a useful service to the environment.

One very important quality of diatomaceous earth is that it continues working even under moist conditions. You can even use the substance to get rid of fleas which are found in pet houses without having to worry about toxicity issues.


Supplementing the use of diatomaceous earth with boric acid provides another effective approach. However, boric acid is more effective when used indoors as it becomes ineffective when it gets into contact with water. Sprinkle a generous amount in places such as the attic and utility room. However, the toxicity of boric acid means that it can kill birds and other useful creatures and should therefore be used intelligently.


Both diatomaceous earth and boric acid should also be complimented with pyrethrum based sprays which provide a repellent function due to their odor. Finally, using of bait stations and pheromone traps will give you another powerful tool in your arsenal for getting rid of cockroach infestations. The following are products that one can use to control the pests that do not cost much but are very effective:

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    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      Fortunately because my wife is so obsessively clean we don't have any cockroaches, but I know from bachelorhood that they can quickly get out of control if left to their own devices. I wish I would have known about the diatomaceous earth and boric acid years ago. Great hub!

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