German cockroaches

(Blattella germanica)

Biology and behaviour

The German cockroach lives across most of Europe and is sometimes known as the steam fly because of its liking for kitchens on ships.

The German cockroach breeds rapidly and can quickly infest a house. It will also look for food in kitchens or food stores at night, hiding around taps, sinks and drains as they need a water supply to drink.

Cockroaches can carry diseases that can cause serious illness through contamination of food.


  • Brownish-buff in colour with two black stripes on thorax
  • Long flexible antennae
  • Long spiny legs
  • Size 12-15mm approx
  • Where infestations are heavy there may be a strong sour smell
  • Cockroaches are able to climb vertical walls and gain access to food at high level even on smooth surfaces

Signs to look for:

  • Dead cockroaches
  • Damage to food
  • Cockroach faeces resembling small black spots in and around places such as wall tiles, plug sockets, cracks and crevices


Cockroaches can be very difficult to treat and this should only be done by an experienced pest control worker. There are products you can buy for the treatment of cockroaches for which you should always read the manufacturer's label. Hygiene is important as food waste and scraps can provide a food source for cockroaches.

Before treatment

  • Clean any existing sprays or powders away
  • Clean greasy areas thoroughly e.g. cookers, microwaves, kitchen tiles, cooker hoods

Book a pest control appointment

If you suspect you have a cockroach infestation, the Council is on hand to offer help and advice on getting rid of them.

We respond within three working days.

Book a pest control appointment

Owners/occupiers of property/land have a legal responsibility to control pests on their premises.



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