There are more than 4,000 species of cockroaches worldwide, with about 55 species found in the U.S. Fewer than 10 of these are common pests. Breaking it down further, the cockroach species most likely to infest your food facility is primarily dependent on your geographic location. But no matter where you are in North America, the tiny German cockroach will be a potential—and a very serious—pest.
Because of its small size, (it is only about 1/2-inch in length); propensity to gather in hidden places (e.g., behind walls, in packaging), and prodigious rate of reproduction, the German cockroach can invade without notice and build up into an infestation in a short time.
Food facilities are particularly susceptible to German cockroach infestations, not only because of the constant availability of food, but because many plants have a warm, moist environments in which the German cockroach thrives. Additionally, during its lifetime, one female cockroach can produce more than 350 eggs. And, unlike other species, the German cockroach protects her young by carrying the egg case with her until the nymphs are ready to hatch, enabling a greater rate of survival and maturity to adult.
The German cockroach has been implicated in the transmission of numerous foodborne diseases including:
German cockroaches are generally carried into food facilities with deliveries of incoming goods or supplies, or even employee belongings. Thus, prevention is the key to keeping cockroaches out and eliminating them at the first sign of their presence:
Inspection. Check all incoming goods for any sign of cockroach presence and refuse those that show any evidence of contamination.
Sanitation. Limit pest access to food and water by maintaining a regular and thorough sanitation program:
Exclusion. Repair and seal gaps and cracks through which pests can enter or in which they can harbor.
Notification. If you see cockroaches or other pests, notify your pest service company right away.