The Rentokil Blog UK

German Cockroaches – As German As The London Bus

german cockroachThey may or may not survive a Nuclear War, but process in which The German Cockroach and its pals gained their names, quite possibly is the saviour of Civilisation as we know it!! A bold statement by all means, but read on dear guest as you may just gain respect for these tiny pests.

There are over 3000 species of cockroaches yet only 5 species are focussed on within the weighty World Health Organization, catchily titled: Public Health Significance of Urban Pests. Blattus germanica the German Cockroach is one member of this elite group.

It is reported that back in the 17th century they possibly entered Europe with Marco Polo or along early trade routes. Southeast Asia is its most likely origin since its relatives are common around pig sty’s in the outer islands of Hong Kong. And since live pigs were often kept on exploration ships during long trips, this cockroach became associated with man and travelled around the world. It was formally named by a chap called Linnaeus and probably was around in Germany for quite a while before the name was applied.

However, as with many century-long feuds and battles between countries, the cockroach has been used as an inadvertent insult to a sworn enemy. Or due to general ignorance about the cockroach, rumours about dirt and disease spreadingt evolved as facts.

Did you know, in Germany it is sometimes called “Die russische Schabe”, The Russian Roach. In Russia it is called the Polish Roach. Yet in America it was originally called the Crotton Bug because it came to NY about the time the Crotton Aqueduct was built; which was pilloried in the papers because it took so much land by eminent domain. But the now called American Cockroach, Periplaneta americana (our chap Linnaeus named this in 1758) likewise is another misnomer; since it probably originated in North Africa before becoming a world traveller. It most likely reached the Americas during the early slave trade.

As history repeats itself, we have recently seen comparisons with the increase in Bed Bug activity across Western Europe and America. This has amongst other names been labelled the east European Bed Bug with no credence whatsoever.

Ignorance is Bliss. Without conjecture and rumour in our daily lives, the media would fold, old women would have nothing to say over thegarden fence and we no longer would have the opportunity to snigger at the not-so-discreet bitching in the office or on the bus. What a boring world we would live in, Civilization may possibly collapse.

So thank heavens for the poor old German / Polish/ Russian / call it what you like Common old cockroach! And than god for the misinformed science of a chap called Linnaeus, who, if he was still up to his tricks nowadays, would probably be spending most of his life in the Libel Courts.

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  1. Elise Walker
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I was looking for ways to get rid of cockroaches and stumbled upon your blog. Thanks for this interesting information. Cockroaches make good conversation pieces because they’re so disgusting.

  2. Benjamin
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Fantastic, I will recommend this to everybody I know. You wouldn’t believe how many jokes I get being a German. Something along the lines “Oh wow, they are called German cockroach? Why did you bring them to India?”

    And then again, I remember this training, where for the sake of convenience the term cockroach was dropped, and everybody had a good laugh at lines like: “Germans are hard to kill. If you want the difference between German and Asian, throw them; the German will fall and the Asian will fly” :-)

    Thanks for the great post!

  3. Posted November 5, 2009 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Thanks guys for your responses, most flattering :-)
    Elise, the main important thing to do first with your cockroaches , is to gain the correct identification, as some treatments are dependant on type of roach and will work better on one or the other. Did you know Rentokil now use a Non Toxic alternative which is very effective and can provide ongoing protection if placed in the correct areas. Its so safe i will eat it in front of you! The only side effect to me would be a gleaming white smile with plaque free teeth!!
    Sigh ! ” the things we do for our profession lol”

  4. Brig
    Posted November 5, 2009 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Yes, i agree. A great blog post – very informative. I would scream my head off if i were to encounter one of these pests in my daily life – they truely are disgusting. Very interesting to learn a bit about their history though – thank you!

  5. Posted November 9, 2009 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    I have been reading your blog last couple of weeks and enjoy every bit. Thanks.

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    Posted November 29, 2009 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    (…) is another nice source of tips on this topic(…)

  7. Posted November 30, 2009 at 2:29 am | Permalink has become a favorite sunday point for me

  8. Web Design
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    that’s really a fantastic post ! added to my favourite blogs list.. I have been reading your blog last couple of weeks and enjoy every bit. Thanks.

  9. Posted June 4, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Not all cockroaches are pests, they are considered as pest when they are living with the humans in their homes.

  10. Posted May 20, 2013 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    Being a 73 year old German, I often wondered why German Cockroaches were given such a name as I came from a country where running a clean house was an obsession ingrained and hard wired into every Germans dna. Though I cannot answer for todays times. Its only in 1942 when my Father invaded the Ukraine and Russia that German Cockroaches became much more apparent. That’s why as refugees moved to southern Poland and staying in an old tavern next to a bakers shop we left the lights on all night to avoid being eaten alive..

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