Why is it so Difficult to Get Rid of Cockroaches?

Although typically associated with restaurants, food processing facilities, hotels, apartment buildings and nursing homes, cockroaches can also be found in single-family residential homes. German cockroaches are one of the most common types of cockroaches in Upstate New York and Vermont, and they can also be one of the most challenging pests to get rid of on your own. Not only do German cockroaches lack natural predators in a human habitat, but they are also a very resilient and adaptive pest.

Why German Cockroaches are So Hard to Kill


German cockroaches have extremely strong and flexible exoskeletons. In fact, they can withstand the pressure of up to 900 times their own body weight. Cockroaches are also very fast, and super-sensitive to even the smallest vibrations, so it’s hard to sneak up on them.

Most disturbingly of all, cockroaches can survive a month without food, and live up to a week without a head. Yes, that’s right – no head. Since cockroaches breathe through tiny holes in their body, they only need their mouths for eating and drinking.


German cockroaches have an extremely fast reproductive cycle and they breed frequently, which means they can multiply faster and in greater numbers than any other residential cockroach. In fact, female cockroaches are capable of producing an average of 30-50 eggs every 6 weeks, and from egg to reproductive adult only takes about a month.

Because of this rapid rate of reproduction, and the fact that it only takes the survival of a few eggs to regenerate a nearly exterminated pest population, infestations can quickly become severe. For every cockroach you kill, another 10 seemingly take its place.


The German cockroach is very successful at establishing an ecological niche in buildings. They can also flatten themselves to fit into small cracks and crevices, making it easy to escape and hide from human predators.

The eggs, too, are protected, since the female carries them until just before hatching, instead of dropping them like other species do. Even after hatching, the nymphs survive solely on the excretions and molts of adults, so they can naturally avoid pesticide surface treatments and baits because they have little to no contact with the outside world.

Adaptation & Pesticide Resistance

German cockroaches are extremely adaptable and resilient. Take a food shortage, for instance. While they prefer meats, starches, sugars and fatty foods, German cockroaches can sustain on household items, such as soap, glue and toothpaste, if needed. And in true famine conditions, they will even resort to cannibalism.

The German cockroach is so adaptive, in fact, that a new strain has emerged, which is resistant to poisoned sugar baits – the most economical and effective means of DIY cockroach pest control.

How Professional Exterminators Eliminate Cockroaches

To be effective, cockroach control must be comprehensive, sustained and systematic. At Nature’s Way Pest Control, our professionally-trained cockroach exterminators use an integrated approach to cockroach removal, and a combination of natural, “eco-smart” products and conventional pesticides.

In most situations, we use a gel-based bait product, which is applied into cracks and crevices with a syringe-like device. Our cockroach exterminators also use a special pesticide known as an insect growth regulator (IGR), or an “adulticide”. The IGR either blocks the cockroach’s ability to turn into an adult or it causes it to change into an adult before it is physically able to reproduce, and the population eventually dies out.

To learn more, check out our 4-step process for Cockroach Extermination, or contact us for a Free Inspection. You can also schedule an appointment by phone. Call (518) 745-5958 for our cockroach exterminators in Albany, Saratoga, Glens Falls and Plattsburgh NY, or (802) 855-2978 for service in Rutland, Burlington and western Vermont.