Have you noticed that some people seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others? If you’re one of these unlucky people, you’re probably wondering, “Why do mosquitoes bite me so much?”
It's not just your imagination: Cockroaches are seemingly everywhere. In fact, the World Health Organization notes that these insects are one of the most common household pests in the world.
To make matters worse, cockroaches tend to live in big groups. If you spot one scurrying across your floor, rest assured that there are likely many more where it came from. The problem is actually spotting cockroaches — they're great at staying hidden, and they typically only come out at night.
One of the few things that may be worse than seeing cockroaches is knowing that more could be hiding in your home. If you want to help prevent cockroaches from taking over your home, learn how to identify all the different places where these pesky invaders could be hiding.
Where do cockroaches hide?
How cockroaches get into your home can depend on the species. Some may get into your home by hitching a ride with your latest shopping trip, such as in bags of pet food or in food or beverage containers. Others come in through small cracks on the exterior of your house, or through drain pipes.
From there, the pests quickly seek out any dark crevice or crack where they can hide during the day before venturing out at night in search of food.
Because these pests originally hail from tropical climates, their first hiding spot of choice is typically anywhere that's warm and humid. This makes bathrooms and kitchens prime real estate for your new cockroach residents, although they rarely contain themselves to these areas and are happy to spread from room to room — and hiding spot to hiding spot.
How to find cockroaches
If you're wondering where roaches hide and want to proactively protect your home, your strategy is simple:
- Grab a flashlight, put on a pair of gloves and set aside an hour or two to play detective around your house.
- Move from room to room, checking all of the most common cockroach hiding places (more on that below in this cockroach guide).
- Look for evidence in each common hiding spot: roach droppings (they look like dried coffee grounds), cockroach eggs (small tan or brown eggs that measure 10mm or less in length) or dead cockroaches.
- Use the following list of common cockroach hiding spots as a roadmap for finding and evicting your unwanted cockroach house guests.
Hiding places in the kitchen
1. Cabinets and drawers
Think cockroaches can't penetrate your cabinetry? Think again. They've got no problem sneaking into cupboards to feast on any food bits that may have spilled throughout.
Clean your cabinets and pantry regularly to help make them less attractive to creepy crawlers. In addition, store food like grains, pastas and pet food in sealed air-tight containers.
Shudder at the thought of roaches hiding in the back of your microwave, fridge or oven? Unfortunately, these areas — along with countertop appliances like toasters and coffeemakers—can be good cockroach hiding places due to the fact that the kitchen is warm, has moisture and is a great place to pick up bits of food debris.
Take the time to wipe down counters after meals, clean under countertop appliances, and, if possible, dump crumbs out of toasters and wipe out your microwave on a weekly basis in order to make your kitchen less appealing to cockroaches. Additionally, vacuum or mop regularly, carry the trash out and keep sink drains and traps clear, and you could eliminate some major cockroach attractants.
3. Sinks, drains and pipes
The pipes that run throughout your home tend to be located in dark places, whether they're situated in the basement or under sinks. Couple that darkness with moisture from drips or leaks, and you've got yourself a cockroach hiding place.
Want roaches to feel less welcome? Regularly check drains, pipes and faucets to make sure there are no drips or leaks. Additionally, seal any cracks or holes around plumbing that leads to the outdoors to give cockroaches one less access point.
4. Trash cans
A trash can is a 5-star cockroach buffet. In addition to providing cockroaches with food sources that they can access in the middle of the night, a trash can offers everything that these pests desire: humidity, darkness, and very little disturbances other than the occasional jostling during trash day.
Switch to a trash can that has a tightly sealed lid. Take the trash out every evening before going to bed. And when you're taking out the trash, use it as an opportunity to clean your actual garbage can because spills and food scraps on the interior of the trash can are a sure-fire way to attract cockroaches.
Hiding places in the bathroom
5. Bathtubs, showers, sinks and toilets
These sources of water give cockroaches the high humidity levels that they enjoy. Plus, the drains and pipes around these areas may act like a cockroach subway and can give the pests a quick and hidden way to get into your home.
Seal any gaps around your pipes or drains with caulking. And clean your toilets, sinks and bathtubs once a week. Keeping your bathrooms sparkling is about more than just aesthetics. You might think that the hair, soap residue and dead skin leftover from your most recent shower is unappetizing, but cockroaches don't.
Cockroaches like to hide in the back of bathroom drawers and other storage areas.
Just like with your kitchen cabinets, clean your bathroom cabinets and storage regularly. Also remember to run your bathroom fan anytime you're using the restroom — it helps keep the air in and around your bathroom dry and less hospitable to roaches.
7. Behind and under tiles
Bathroom tiles come loose over time, and this may pose a problem if you have an older home. Any crack or loose-fitting tile is a welcome mat for cockroaches, giving the insects a convenient place to slip away and hide during the day.
Inspect your bathroom, caulk any loose tiles and replace tiles that have broken or cracked completely.
Hiding places in the rest of the house
8. Inside and underneath furniture
You're not the only one who thinks that the couch is nice and comfy. Some species of roaches will sometimes camp out on — or in, rather — your couch, especially if you tend to spill as you snack and stream movies. What's worse is that cockroaches can lay egg cases from which live cockroach nymphs can emerge and nest on your furniture.
Help prevent this by regularly vacuuming upholstered furnishings and inspecting wooden furniture for egg casings that need to be cleared away.
9. Behind or under baseboards and molding
Houses and apartments may have all sorts of cracks and crevices that can make excellent cockroach hiding places. These can include your baseboards and trim, the backs of picture frames and corners where you've let the recycling pile up.
You could help avoid infestations in these areas by eliminating stacks of debris that might attract roaches. In addition, inspect your home to make sure all cracks are sealed and your baseboards and trim fit flush.
10. Inside vents and outlets
Cockroaches like to hide in spots that let them travel through your home. That includes vents and outlets, which let the pests roam inside your walls freely and come and go into different rooms as they please.
Seal any gaps or cracks around the perimeter of vents and outlets. Then, use outlet covers to plug up any outlets that aren't in use, and add a screen to all of your air vents.
11. Closets and storage areas
Many people don't touch their closets for months on end, especially top shelves, back corners or closets that store seasonal items like winter coats. This gives cockroaches free rein to do their thing, and they may congregate in old clothing, boxes and along the back edges of a closet frame.
Clean your closets every season, laundering dusty clothing and vacuuming the exposed surfaces of your entire closet. This will also help you tackle another common closet pest: stacks of clothing that you haven't worn for years.
12. Inside electronics
Have you ever eaten a snack while finishing off a report or typing an email on your laptop? We've been there, too. Unfortunately, crumbs and other food particles can fall in between and under your keys. Some types of roaches are small enough to maneuver through gaps in the keyboard, meaning they can set up camp in your computer.
Make your electronics less attractive to roaches by setting them aside when you eat and using canned air to keep keyboards clean.
13. Basements and attics
Many people don't venture into their basement or attic for months, if not years. This leaves these areas prone to neglect, clutter and cockroach infestations.Make a habit of checking your basement and attic at least once a season to ensure vents, weathering and other infrastructure hasn't warped, cracked or broken (this gives cockroaches and pests easy access to get into your house). Declutter these rooms, since clutter is a cockroach's best friend. And while you're reorganizing your storage, consider switching to sealed plastic storage containers instead of cockroach-friendly cardboard boxes.
What to do if you find cockroaches in your home
If you find cockroaches have moved into your home, help get rid of them by:
- Cleaning: Focus on areas that you miss in your regular day-to-day tidying up.
- Monitoring and removing: From baits to sprays, you have many solutions at your disposal to help get rid of cockroaches. A glue board or trap can also be used to monitor and/or confirm the presence of cockroaches.
- Contact a pest control professional. For the best results, work with a trained professional who can identify the hiding spots unique to your own home and offer tailored prevention and control options to put your mind at ease.
Contact Terminix® so that a trained technician can inspect your home and customize a comprehensive pest control plan for your house.