What’s the difference between an Asian and a German…roach?

The german roach has been around for ever it seems like and is spread worldwide. Scientists have studied the thing ad nauseam which a quick check of any search engine will confirm. We know what it eats, how it lives, where it hides etc. etc. etc. So imagine the frustration of pest control professionals of Florida back in 1986 when suddenly this pest was found outside hanging around your back porch light and it flew like a bird! This went against everything we were taught and the question came up at all the meetings along with horror stories of this new flying german roach invading homes and yards by the tens of thousands. Certainly we were witnessing a mutation or evolution on steroids-no wait this was before Mark McGuire- This roach was the spitting image of the dreaded german roach but it broke every rule that the german roach lived by. Not light adverse, lived outside, could fly, (which germans cannot) and yet for all our questions to the experts we got very few answers.

Fast forward to today and this mutant roach has spread across the entire southeastern United States but thankfully we have had time to educate ourselves on just what we had. This roach that looked exactly like the german was in fact the asian roach with completely different habits and a whole other set of rules.

How to tell the difference

The two roaches are almost identical to the naked eye but if you happened to have a gas chromotography analyzer you’d easily pick up the vast difference in the waxy shell of the asian roach-oh you don’t have one of those? Well you could look at the 8th segment of the abdomen because everybody knows the grooves between the two look nothing alike. Well how bout the color? Asian roaches are supposedly a lighter brown- uh NOT. One guy even said in a meeting once. “are we suppose to just sit in the kitchen and wait for it to fly so we can tell the difference?” I think he was being sarcastic.

Well I’m hear to make your life just a little bit easier and the answer requires no special equipment at all. The absolute easiest way which you can tell is to simply turn the roach over and look at its underside. The german roach wings are just about the same length as the body whereas the asian roach wings are longer and go beyond the abdomen. In fact if you see an asian roach with an egg protruding you’ll only see the tip of the ootheca as the wings cover most of it, eggs on a female german are very pronounced. What could be easier? I’m also told that the difference in wing length is the reason the asian can fly so well while the german can only flutter at best.

So, there you have it, a quick and easy way to check your specie and your customers will think you’re an entomologist. Or you could always go on Ebay, I see the bidding is pretty low on a slightly used gas chromotography analyzer. Shipping’s a bite though, must be the air freight.

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. Pestcemetery.com was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.
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  • Kimmy89

    Thanks for the info! I used to have a german cockroach infestation that took months of a professional to get rid of. We moved into a new house and I saw one of these but wondered why it wasn’t scattering from the lights. I knew it looked just like the German cockroach but acted so different seen them outside around our porch. Thank goodness there not the same!

  • If there is a better roach to have-I guess the Asian roach is a better choice.