German Cockroach vs. American Cockroach: A Detailed Comparison

The origin of cockroaches dates back to the epoch of dinosaurs. Can you imagine? They have been creeping around for millions of years! Roaches are found worldwide, both indoors and outdoors.

So, do not be astonished if you find a bunch of German or American cockroaches hanging around in your kitchens and bathrooms! However, they are the bearer of numerous germs and filth. For this reason, one ought to handle them sternly.

German Cockroach vs. American Cockroach

Perfect knowledge of the type of cockroach pestering you and sullying your peace is indispensable in order to deal with them accordingly.Hence, here are a few differences between two of the most commonly confused species.

Although found worldwide, German cockroaches are shy beings who like to stay indoors and are seldom found roaming out in the open. If we compare the American roaches with them, they are mostly found outdoors and for the good! Once they enter your households, they are inclined to concern your health. The former do not bite humans, the latter, unfortunately, do so but rarely.

American cockroaches are moderate flyers while the German roaches have wings too, but they seldom use their gift of flight. A trait of paramount importance which helps is distinguishing between them is their color. American roaches are reddish-brown, whereas German roaches are brown colored.

Similarities & Differences between German and American Roaches


The American roach is of a reddish-brown color with a yellowish-colored pattern of 8-figure on the back of its head. Oval shaped with flattened body, it has six legs and two antennae on the top of its head. The size of an adult American roach may vary between one and one-fourth inches to two and one-eight inches in length.

With color variations found from brown to tan, a German roach has two dark and prominent stripes located on its back. These stripes appear to be almost parallel. It, too, has six legs, two antennae and an oval body shape. A gully-developed German roach sizes from half an inch to five-eighth of an inch.


A German roach and an American roach, both, prefer warm and dingy areas with ample food sources and moisture available. However, an American roach is more inclined to stay outdoors, in sewers and drains. It may be found indoors also, its presence posing as a menace as it is considered to be a ‘filthy pest.’

A German roach is mainly found indoors, in residential and commercial spaces, in bathrooms and kitchens. To detect its activity, the droppings of the German roach are sufficient to indicate that the area around which they are found is likely to be infested.


Fatty foods and items containing starch form a major part of the diet of German cockroaches. Other items it comprises of are: meat and sugary foods. As a result, due to their dependence on both kinds of proteins, they fall under the category of omnivorous scavengers. In cases of a shortage of food sources, they tend to feed on household items such as toothpaste and soap.

Similarly, American roaches are omnivores who feed on a wide variety of items such as soap, milk, plant shoots, cosmetics, glue, toothpaste, and fruits undergoing fermentation. Save those beauty soap bars and products of yours in order to forestall these crawlies from ruining them!


German cockroaches can flourish from a hundred to up to two hundred days. They undergo three phases of transition in their lives, namely, egg, nymph and adult. Their lifespan, to a great extent, is also dependent on the temperature of their surroundings, injuries and their diet.

Adult American roaches survive for as long as a year. Their lifecycle is inclusive of the same stages as that of a German cockroach. Their growth and development from an egg to an adult takes almost six hundred days.


The population of German roaches multiplies rapidly as they lay fifty eggs at once, contained in an ootheca. In addition to this, the development process from a nymph to an adult takes only about three months, hence, increasing their numbers quickly.

On the other hand, an American roach capsule contains merely sixteen eggs. The developed of the nymph babies, after hatching, to an adult takes approximately five and a half months.

Final Words

American cockroaches, as we conclude, are comparatively more dreadful than their German mates. Still, the presence of either of them is equally haunting.

At the present, since you have become aware of their predilections in terms of diet and habitat, controlling them and preventing them from creating pest problems should be an easier task!

Leave a Comment

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