The 4 Signs of Cockroaches


1. Seeing a Roach

The number one sign of a roach infestation is actually finding the insects in your house. Of course, because they're nocturnal, this is most likely to happen at night or in the early hours of the morning. Usually, if roaches are visible during the day, it's a sign of a more serious problem. Cockroaches typically try to stay hidden throughout the day, and if they're venturing out, it may mean a large infestation is causing them to compete for food or that they've been driven out of their hiding places due to overcrowding.

Typically, when you see cockroaches, they're scurrying across the floor, a countertop or another surface. They'll also tend to scatter when you turn on a light. Other places these pests like to hide — and where you might find them in your home — include inside kitchen appliances, in cabinets, in electronics, in pipes, in sinks, and in or on furniture.

Related: 13 Common Cockroach Hiding Places

2. Finding Roach Feces

As disturbing as it sounds, roaches will leave droppings behind in your house. These insects eat virtually everything, from plant matter to people food, dead skin cells to even garbage, and they'll produce feces wherever they're hiding out. In fact, seeing roach feces is one of the most common signs of an infestation.

The size and appearance of the feces will vary depending on the species of roach and the size of the infestation. Generally, waste from smaller species looks like brown or black specks resembling coffee grounds or pepper. You may also see fecal stains or smears that look like dark, inky smudges. For larger roach species, like the American cockroach , feces are usually solid, cylindrical in shape, and brown or black in color.

If you think you have a cockroach infestation, look behind your stove and refrigerator, as well as your sinks, pantries, cupboards and other food storage areas for signs of droppings.

3. Spotting Cockroach Egg Cases

Another unsettling fact about cockroaches is how frequently they reproduce. Many female cockroaches can lay between 120 and 320 eggs in their short lifetimes. This means that once they're in your house, they may start breeding, and the infestation can get out of hand quickly. And if they're reproducing in your house, you'll know it. That's because female cockroaches don't lay single eggs. Instead, they lay an egg case called an oothecae, which contains multiple eggs. These are brown, oblong cases that some female roaches carry from their abdomens (which can be seen on their backs) then deposit on a surface for the eggs to hatch. When the eggs do hatch, the casings are left behind. Oothecae may be glued in hidden, hard-to-reach places in your house, and they many contain 10–20 eggs each. However, the German cockroach, one of the most common and difficult to control species of roaches found in homes, lays oothecae with up to 50 eggs inside.

4. Smelling Roaches

Believe it or not, cockroaches smell. This can be a clear sign of a problem, as the smell is often only noticeable when large numbers of roaches are present. However, a single German cockroach can produce a noticeable odor on its own. If you notice a pungent, musty odor, you may have an infestation. Dead cockroaches will also cause odors, too, as oleic acid is produced. The smells caused by roaches can linger in the air and may even affect the taste of your food.

Why Are There Suddenly So Many Cockroaches in My House?

If you have cockroaches in your house, you're probably wondering how and why they got there. Well, there are a few factors that attract cockroaches to your home: food, moisture and shelter. Crumbs in the kitchen, pet food and open garbage cans are all beacons for cockroaches. These insects also need water, which explains why you may commonly see them in sinks, tubs and drains. Roaches are also comfortable where people are — depending on the species, they can live in cooler locations or those ranging from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit or above.

There are also a variety of ways cockroaches can enter your house. The most common are through cracks and crevices in walls and around doors or windows, as well as through plumbing, sewers and drains.

Some cockroaches can also be easily transported from one location to another. So, if you've recently moved and are bringing cardboard boxes into your house, be sure to check them for cockroaches.

How Do I Get Rid of a Cockroach Infestation in My House?

There are a few basic things you can do to help prevent and help get rid of a cockroach infestation in your house. First and foremost, make sure your kitchen is clean. Wipe down your counters, put all food in secured containers, including pet food, and take the garbage out regularly, particularly when it has food debris. You should also clean small appliances, like toasters, that may collect crumbs, and avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink, especially overnight. Store all your food in airtight containers.

Seal up any gaps, cracks or holes that may serve as entry points. Use caulk if necessary.

Next, get rid of any sources of moisture. This means fixing leaking or dripping faucets and properly sealing around pipes. Clean out your drains and garbage disposal as needed.

Finally, call the professionals. Cockroach infestations are difficult to control and often require expert knowledge to manage. The pest control professionals at Terminix® will perform a comprehensive inspection of your home and treat both the interior and exterior to kick roaches to the curb. Get your quote today.