American vs. German Cockroaches: What’s the difference?

Cockroach dead on white background

Ready to contact your favorite Henderson Nevada pest control company, because you think you have a roach infestation? You might be curious to know which species you are dealing with. There are two main varieties of cockroaches known to inhabit these areas and this guide has been written to better inform you so when Dr. Death gets rid of them, you will know what they were!

Signs of an American Cockroach

Distinctions in Appearance

  • Between 1.5 and 2 inches long.
  • Reddish-brown in color, though the thorax’s edge is more of a faded yellow.

Telltale Signs

  • More commonly found within basements, crawlspaces and inside of drainage systems. They can also be encountered outdoors.
  • One American roach can produce 16 eggs at once and it takes six to eight weeks for those eggs to gestate. These eggs appear as hardened, reddish-brown objects that are roughly 3/8″ long.
  • Waste resembles brown spots or smears.
  • While all roaches and their droppings produce a scent, American roaches tend to have a more potent smell that can become overwhelming when breeding.

Signs of a German Cockroach

Distinctions in Appearance

  • Adult varieties are no more than half an inch in length.
  • Features a tan coloration with dark, parallel lines running from their heads to their wingtips.

Telltale Signs

  • This species is more commonly encountered within kitchens, bathrooms and other rooms with proximity to plumbing systems. This species will rarely ever venture outside of a structure.
  • Despite this being the United States, the German roach is more numerous than its American cousin and thus more likely to be an infestation by default. To contextualize things, one German roach produces 30-40 eggs at a time and those eggs only need 28 days to gestate. These eggs are banded objects of a yellow-brown coloration and measure around 1/4″ long.
  • Waste resembles small bits of dirt or coffee grounds.

Getting Rid of American or German Roaches

Honestly, while these species may differ in physical size, appearance, and gestation rate, you can do just fine with a single list of tips for dealing with either kind. Spotting a single American roach might just be a fluke instance of one stumbling into your place from outside but even a single German roach is a good sign of infestation.

  • Keep a clean space. Do your best to remove or minimize any crumbs or other bits of food left out in the open or you can guarantee that the roaches will come for it. It should be noted that cutting off a roach’s access to food can be exceptionally difficult because they are surprisingly omnivorous; the glue used on the back of postal stamps is practically a delicacy to roaches and they are not above devouring other bugs for sustenance.
  • Isolate the water supply if you are able. Look over your plumbing and plug up any leaks, clean up any standing water and be careful when watering your plants as even a few errant droplets of water, especially if they fall out of sight, will sustain the little pests for days.
  • If your roach problem continues to flare up after using over-the-counter treatments like sprays and baits and you have greatly increased the cleanliness of your place, that should be the clue you need to reach out to Dr. Death for a professional-level approach to removing the bugs.


When it comes to an infestation of roaches, knowing the species of your pest can narrow down the severity of your infestation. By understanding the differences between species, you and Dr. Death can figure out the optimal approach to achieving the total and complete removal of your roaches.

Currently only servicing Henderson and Boulder City.

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