American vs German Cockroach: How to Spot the Difference

There’s a widespread theory that cockroaches will one day outlive humans. This rumor may be true, as these creepy creatures have been around for at least 99 million years

If you find a cockroach in your home, you’ll want to identify its species. This will help you understand the best way to get rid of them! There are thousands of cockroach species, but two of the most common are the German and American cockroaches. 

Our helpful guide looks at the American vs German cockroach and how to tell the difference between the two. 

Types of Cockroaches

A cockroach is a type of insect with six legs and two antennae. A head, thorax, and abdomen make up a cockroach’s body. 

Most of these species measure between one to two inches long. These insects also have wings, but many don’t use them to fly. 

What Is an American Cockroach?

The American cockroach is the most common roach species in the United States. It is a small, light brown insect found in dark and dirty areas. 

What Is a German Cockroach?

You may think you can find a German cockroach in Europe, but these cockroaches are common in America too. They are smaller than American cockroaches and dark in color. 

Differences Between American and German Cockroaches 

Although these cockroaches are from the same species, they have several unique traits. The main differences between an American and German cockroach are their size, looks, and habitat. 


A German cockroach is under an inch long. It can range from half an inch to 5/8th an inch long in size. 

An American cockroach is much bigger in size. They range from one and a half inches to two inches long. 


German cockroaches have tan bodies with two dark lines from the heads to the wing tips. This bug has wings on its back but doesn’t use them for flying. 

An American cockroach has a reddish-brown body that fades to a yellow color. This insect also has wings, but it doesn’t fly either. 


Both the American and the German cockroach live in humid and warm areas. You can find German cockroaches in cracks around your home. They especially love warm spots like appliance motors. 

The American cockroach likes damper locations. They lurk outside of the home in places like storm drains and sewers. You can find them in the walls, basements, and crawl spaces of your house.

American vs German Cockroach Pest Control

No matter which species you have, chances are getting rid of roaches are at the top of your list. If you have a German cockroach infestation, you’ll need to use aerosol products to get rid of them. 

Do you have American cockroaches taking up residence? If so, you’ll need to use perimeter sprays and bait to remove them.

Keep Roaches Out of Your House for Good 

In a battle between the American vs German cockroach, both are equally unpleasant to find in your home. Once you can identify these pests, you can remove them once and for all. 

If you’ve dealt with a cockroach infestation, you may be due for a vacation. Check out our travel articles for inspiration today! 

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