A smaller species of cockroach, it typically measures 13-16 mm in length when it reaches adulthood. It is identified by two distinct dark brown strips running down the outside edge of the pronotum. This species is a light tan brown to dark brown colour.
Originating from tropical Africa, the German cockroach now has a world-wide distribution.
It prefers a warm, humid, dark and well hidden environment and is found more often in sewers. It is typically also found in drains, ducts, in other underground structures, and in boats.
As it feeds on a large variety of foodstuffs, it is also commonly discovered wherever food is stored and prepared. Although the main harbourages are outdoors, this cockroach will forage into the inhabited parts of buildings along ducts, service pipes and crevices.
It moves with speed and equally well on both horizontal and vertical surfaces. Typically, it is faster than other cockroach species.
They tend to more successfully inhabit buildings over other species. There are a number of factors which contribute to this. A shorter life cycle, coupled with an ability to constantly reproduce, accelerates population growth. German cockroaches are also faster and smaller than other species making detection even harder.
In the course of their foraging activity, the nymphs, larvae and adults can contaminate and infect foodstuffs. They secrete an odorous discharge from their body which also taints and contaminates food.
Like other cockroach species, the German Cockroach transmits bacteria as they walk, transferring pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli to every area they scurry across.
Cockroaches also shed cuticles, faeces and other cockroach debris which are known asthma and allergy triggers.