Few household pests in Maryland are more unpleasant than cockroaches. German cockroaches are the most common type in the United States, and up to 63% of American homes have experienced them at some point, according to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).

Not only are these pests notoriously difficult to get rid of, but they also carry a number of diseases and bacteria that can be harmful to humans who come in contact with them, including salmonella and staphylococcus. In order to protect your family from these gross insects, you must be able to identify the signs of a German cockroach infestation to eradicate it at once.

1. Foul Odor

While a dirty or unsanitary home is one cause of a cockroach infestation, that smell you might be experiencing could be coming from the cockroaches themselves.

German cockroaches are known to produce a foul odor, which some would describe as an oily or musty smell. If you suddenly notice any unusual or strong odors in your home, it could be a sign that you’re dealing with a German cockroach infestation.

2. Droppings

Cockroach droppings are small and dark and are commonly mistaken for coffee grounds or dirt. These droppings can typically be found on countertops, inside cabinets, and behind or inside household appliances.

3. Smear Marks

German cockroach droppings can also look like small smear marks and can be found on walls, countertops, and anywhere else cockroaches are found. You should also be looking for these marks near the tops of doors and any cracks or holes in walls.

4. Shed Skins

Cockroaches shed their skin approximately 5-8 times throughout their lives, every time they hit a new lifecycle. These shed skins can take on the shape of a cockroach but will typically be lighter in color.

5. Live Sightings

Seeing a live cockroach in your home is never a good sign, as there are most likely more that you aren’t seeing. If you notice a cockroach in your home, even a tiny one, contact a pest control professional immediately to have your home inspected and treated.

6. Egg Casings

Cockroach egg casings are dark brown in color and are typically about ½ inch long. If you see any egg casings around your home, you should immediately contact a professional exterminator.

7. Allergic Reactions

The presence of cockroaches can trigger allergies in some people. If you notice yourself feeling sniffly or having any other kind of unusual allergy-like reaction, it may be a sign that you’re dealing with a German cockroach infestation.

8. Damage to Food Packaging

German cockroaches will commonly eat through food packaging and anything else they can get their hands on, so if you notice any unusual damage to your cereal boxes or other food packages, it can be a sign of a cockroach infestation.

9. Nesting Areas

German cockroaches prefer to hide in dark, hidden places. They are commonly found behind and even inside appliances, underneath sinks, in dark, rarely-used cabinets, and in drainage systems.

10. Nocturnal Activity

German cockroaches are nocturnal creatures and are most active at night when they search for food, water, and mates. If you suspect you may be dealing with a cockroach infestation, you may want to try to catch them at night when they are most likely to be active.

Danger of German Cockroaches

German cockroaches are filthy insects that are known to carry many different diseases and bacteria that can harm humans who come into contact with them, including salmonella and shigella. German cockroaches can also trigger allergy and asthma symptoms in some people, making them a particularly dangerous household pest.

Unfortunately, failing to combat the early signs of an infestation will only allow it to grow exponentially, as German cockroaches are known as social creatures.

Cockroach Prevention Tips

While German cockroaches are extremely common, there are ways to prevent them from coming into your home. Homeowners can practice many of these easy German cockroach prevention tips to keep their homes safe.

  • Clearing your kitchen of trash and dirty dishes
  • Fixing leaky pipes and eliminating standing water around the home
  • Removing cardboard boxes and excess clutter from your home
  • Regularly cleaning and taking the trash out
  • Maintaining good lawn care
  • Sealing cracks and crevices in your home

You can also experiment with any of these home remedies for cockroaches to help eliminate them.

When to Call an Exterminator

You should absolutely call an exterminator at the very first sign of a German cockroach infestation. Because these pests are extremely difficult to get rid of and multiply very quickly, it is imperative that you enlist the help of a professional immediately upon discovering an infestation.

Pest Czar offers specialized products to quickly eliminate cockroaches and prevent them from returning. Contact us for a free quote on any of our cockroach control services, including our home protection plans.


How do German cockroaches enter a home?

German cockroaches can enter a home in numerous ways, most commonly by hitching a ride on boxes or used furniture and clothing. Because of this, it is important to always inspect items before bringing them into your home.

What diseases do German cockroaches carry?

Some of the most common diseases German cockroaches carry include salmonella and shigella. German cockroaches can also trigger asthma and allergy symptoms in some people.

Will German cockroaches go away on their own?

German cockroaches do not go away on their own and will require the help of a professional exterminator to get rid of. Because of this, it is imperative that you contact a pest control professional immediately upon discovering a German cockroach in your home.