American and German Cockroaches: What’s the Difference?

There are two types of Cockroaches you may find in your home, these are the American cockroach and the German cockroach. Although many people struggle with identifying them, it’s very easy to tell the difference once you know how. Cockroaches belong to the Blattodea family along with their closest relatives, the termites.

Both species of cockroach can potentially pass on diseases to humans and since they both spend time in areas such as sewers and drains can carry a lot of bacteria with them. Cockroaches are particularly fond of fermented foods but will eat anything from cheese to cardboard and glue. Both species are very good scavengers, often finding even the smallest of food scraps.

Cockroaches are considered one of the fastest running insects as they are able to dart from shelter to shelter when threatened. They have nocturnal vision and therefore cockroaches tend to avoid the sunlight and come out only during times of low light. Surprisingly, cockroaches are very sensitive to taste as the cockroach genome contains 522 taste receptors and 154 olfactory receptors.

Cockroach eating whole wheat bread on rough cement floor background.

American Cockroaches

American cockroaches also called Periplaneta americana, are the largest of the two species and have a reddish brown body with large wings. They are omnivorous opportunistic feeders and will feed on almost anything. American cockroaches are big fans of moist areas so are commonly found around drains and under sinks. Their

lifespan is around 90-700 days and they produce 800 offspring per year.

How to Identify:

  • 4cm body length
  • Brown reddish body
  • Omnivorous diet
  • Live in moist areas
  • Prefer warmer climates
  • Produce about 800 offspring per year

German Cockroaches

German cockroaches or Blattella germanica are much smaller than American cockroaches and are generally a major problem. This is due to their incredibly fast breeding times which can lead to out of control infestations in no time. Their lifespan is around 200 days and can produce up to 40,000 offspring each year! That’s a huge amount of cockroaches! Despite their name, German cockroaches are found worldwide. They like to live in cool dark places such as near garbage bins, under kitchen sinks and in kitchen cabinets. This species is an excellent scavenger often coming out to feed on tiny food scraps while humans are sleeping.

How to Identify:

  • 1 – 1.6cm in size
  • Dark brown body
  • Prefer cooler temperatures
  • Can produce up to 40,000 offspring each year
  • Scavengers
Cockroach baits can be a good prevention is some cases.


Prevention is the best way to avoid a cockroach infestation. Ensure food preparation areas are frequently cleaned, the floor is vacuumed and benches are wiped down. Any food scraps should be kept in a sealed bin at all times. As American cockroaches love moist areas it is important to make sure your plumbing is not leaking as this may attract cockroaches. Store bought cockroach baits can sometimes be a good way to prevent cockroach infestations but are completely useless during a cockroach infestation.

What should I do if I have a cockroach infestation?

If you’re faced with a cockroach infestation, call your local Maryborough or Hervey Bay pest control technician. Licensed pest control technicians know the best and most effective way to deal with major cockroach infestations so it’s best to leave it to the professionals. At Ivey’s Carpet Cleaning and Pest Control we work with you to make sure all your pest control needs are met. Call us on 0428 420 667 today or fill in our quote form for a FREE quote.