The German Cockroach (Blattella germanica) is 12-15 mm in length, has long whip like antennae and is brown in colour with two dark stripes to the rear of the head. These insects are nocturnal and are often seen scurrying to dark areas of the kitchen when the lights are switched on. The adults and young (nymphs) are usually found gathered together at the rear of refrigerators, close to food and water sources. The German cockroach is a good climber and can climb smooth surfaces and are often found harbouring under items stored on top of kitchen cupboards and behind peeling wallpaper. The female German cockroach carries an egg case (Ootheca) right up until the point it’s ready to hatch when 30-40 young will emerge from the egg case.
German cockroaches are a serious pest problem in heated buildings, as they carry a variety of disease causing organisms that cause food borne illnesses. These can easily be transferred to foodstuffs and food preparation areas. The cockroaches also cause physical contamination through their body parts and droppings being deposited in or on foodstuffs. These fragments can also cause allergies and asthma. Proprietors of buildings and food producing establishments have a legal obligation to rid their premises of insect infestation. Other reasons for control include loss of reputation and goodwill, fear and financial loss to businesses.