Home PestsRoaches

5 Differences Between German and American Roaches

Roaches On The Leftover Food

Are you facing a roach infestation, and it’s getting worse even after using multiple techniques to tackle it?

For any treatment to work for pest control, it is essential to identify what type of pests you are dealing with.

This does not mean only knowing whether they are roaches or fleas. Determining the kind of roach or flea helps a lot in solving the infestation problem.

Once you know the type of roaches you are dealing with, you will be able to get rid of them.

To get rid of roaches, you must understand the characteristics of the pests and the kind of treatment required to tackle them.


While there are many species of roaches, we will be discussing the two main ones: German and American.

It is important to identify the type of roaches at the time of infestation so that you can effectively get rid of them.

The main differences between German and American roaches lie in the following aspects:

  • Size
  • Diet
  • Appearance
  • Habitat
  • Breeding

So, let’s save time and dive right into the discussion of differences between German and American roaches so they can be tackled easily.

5 Differentiating Factors Between German and American Roaches

Let’s review the differentiating factors between German and American roaches one by one:

1. Size

A German Roach On The Wash Basin
An American Cockroach On The Toothbrush

One of the significant differences between German and American roaches is their size.

American roaches are bigger than German roaches. Yet, their weight is approximately similar.

German roaches are only about half an inch long. On the other hand, American roaches are tiny and have a length that is about 1.5 to 2 inches.

So, you can detect the species based on the roaches’ lengths since one is relatively small and the other is big.

However, since the difference in size is small, it might be challenging to know which one is small and which is big.

2. Diet

German Roach Eating Pineapple-Filled Biscuit
Two American Cockroaches On The Food Left In The Kitchen

The diet might be a small difference between American and German roaches since both species eat just about everything. It is one of the reasons why you can never starve a roach to death.

While it is true that both German and American roaches eat everything, there might be some difference in what each species prefers to eat.

For example, German roaches are fond of sweets, grease, and meat products, including garbage. They are found primarily in kitchens and bathrooms, so those things are mainly available to them.

On the other hand, American roaches are more drawn toward hair, paper, cardboard, cloth, and decaying things.

So, if you have sweets missing, it is probably a German roach while holes in your cardboard packaging point toward the presence of American roaches.

3. Appearance

A German Roach On The Keyboard
An American Roach On A Plain Background

Another significant difference that can be found between German and American roaches is their appearance.

As subtle as this difference in appearance may sound, it is still essential to look at it.

As mentioned earlier, German roaches are smaller than American ones. They are about half an inch long and have a light brown to tan color.

One feature that mainly distinguishes German roaches from American roaches is the dark parallel lines running from the back of their head down to their wings. Moreover, German roaches can’t fly.

On the other hand, American roaches are much longer. Their body is reddish brown, and their thorax is yellow.

The legs and wings of the roach are attached to its thorax.

The wings of American roaches are extremely strong, so they can quickly fly at night.

4. Habitat

German Roaches Living Indoors
American Roaches In The Bathroom

The most significant difference between American and German roaches lies in the types of spaces they reside in.

German roaches are typically introverted creatures, so they prefer to live in indoor spaces. This is one reason why they are primarily found in Lowcountry homes.

German roaches are usually in search of warm places, so as a result, they tend to gravitate toward appliances. Check the appliances and their seals behind the control panels.

Moreover, German roaches can also be found in unchecked crevices on your walls.

Contrarily, American roaches are extroverted creatures, so they can be found in dark and damp areas inside your house. These areas include:

  • Basements
  • Utility rooms
  • Drains
  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Crawl spaces
  • Sewer systems

5. Breeding

Egg Case And Offsprings Of A German Roach
American Roach's Eggs Hidden Under The Wood

German and American roaches differ in how they carry their eggs and the number of offspring they can carry in a year.

Each year, German roaches can produce 30,000 nymphs (offspring). Yes, this is crazy! The German female roach carries an egg up until it is about to hatch.

The American roaches produce way fewer nymphs than the German ones. They bear about 800 nymphs per year.

That sounds like nothing compared to German roaches; hence, a German roach infestation is much worse than an American one.

Moreover, the American female roach carries the egg for a few days and looks for a safe place where the egg can be deposited, like crevices.


Whether German or American roaches, they can infest your house and make it a mess.

Identify the kind of roach you have in your house by examining their size, diet, appearance, habitat, and breeding.

Once that is done, you will have to take measures to eliminate the species.

German roaches are a much bigger problem as they reproduce at an alarmingly high rate.

You can use roach tablets, insecticide sprays, or boric acid to get rid of these roaches.

However, if the problem gets out of hand as often as it does, you must call a professional to take care of the roach problem in your house.

Don’t worry too much. You can get rid of any roach species with appropriate measures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are American Roaches Harmful?

While American roaches are not venomous and do not bite, they are still harmful because they spread bacteria, human pathogens, and parasitic worms.

Are German Roaches Harder To Get Rid Of?

Yes, they are. It is because German roaches reproduce at a much higher rate, so the infestation caused by them becomes a menace.

What Kills German Roaches the Fastest?

The fastest method of killing German roaches is keeping quality roach baits alongside insect growth regulators.

You can also use roach tablets and insecticide sprays.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *