Nobody wants to search their home for cockroach poop, but this simple task can help you ward off infestation and disease. Find roach droppings and you'll find out where the roaches are congregating. You'll also learn where they’re getting their food and water, giving you the upper hand in the battle. Anywhere you find a large amount of cockroach droppings gives you a ‟ground zero” area from which to begin control methods.



Cockroach droppings are easy to spot, making them one of the most common forms of roach evidence. Smaller roaches leave behind brown or black specs which range in appearance from coarse coffee grains to finely ground black pepper. They can also appear as brown or black fecal stains, or even as a dark ink, depending on the roach and the surface. These stains might also appear as smears and are sometimes raised.

Larger roaches leave behind solid feces shaped like cylinders. This waste matter is also brown or black, depending on the species. The droppings from these larger roaches have ridges running the length of the feces, from tip to tip. These ridges will help you differentiate roach droppings from mouse droppings, which do not have ridges. Mouse droppings are also slightly larger and often have short hairs in them.

Smaller cockroach species include German cockroaches and brown-banded cockroaches. These are two of the most common home invaders in the United States. Larger roaches include American cockroaches, smoky brown cockroaches and Oriental cockroaches. Both can be rather intimidating due to their size. Young roaches from the smaller species will leave the smallest droppings behind, which are often referred to as specs. Young roaches from the larger cockroach species will still leave cylindrical, ridged feces behind. They’ll just be smaller than the adult droppings, which can be as large as a grain of rice.



Cockroaches literally defecate everywhere they go. They don’t have a specific bathroom area like humans do, though there are places where defecation is more likely to happen. They frequently defecate near their food sources and nesting or congregation areas. Unfortunately, since their food sources are often near (or in) yours, your food can become contaminated and disease can spread.

Cockroach feces are found everywhere that roaches are found. If you’ve seen one scurry behind a picture on the wall or underneath the bed, you’ll likely find droppings there as well. Common places to find cockroach droppings include:

  • In the corners of rooms and all along the baseboards
  • On top of shelves, cabinets, doors and other high objects providing hidden passage
  • Inside of drawers, pantries, closets, cabinets and other food storage areas
  • Children’s playpens, toy chests and anything else that little sticky fingers may touch
  • Underneath and behind refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers and sinks
  • Any cracks or openings in the floors, walls or structure in general
  • In storage areas, especially with organic storage materials, such as cardboard boxes and papers



Cockroach feces have been shown to increase the instance and severity of asthma and are even acknowledged by the EPA as asthma triggers. The feces also add potency to the telltale musty odor of a cockroach infestation. Aside from that, do you really want your children and pets coming into contact with roach poop?

But if you still need a reason to search your home for droppings, know that ignoring it will attract more roaches. There’s an aggregation pheromone in roach feces. This acts as a summoning beacon to other roaches, calling them together to congregate. Pest management professionals use this knowledge to their advantage. They place bait in strategic areas near roach feces so that more roaches will come into contact with the poison. The more they respond to the natural attractant pheromone left behind by other roaches, the more they die.



To get rid of cockroach waste, vacuum up any loose droppings from the surface. Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter may cut down on airborne contaminants. Be sure that you dispose of the vacuum’s contents promptly, keeping sanitation in mind. Next, use hot, soapy water to wipe down the surfaces. If present, remove as much of the smears and staining as possible.

This not only removes the unsightly roach feces, but also the musty odor and attractant pheromones. Of course, this does take a thorough search followed by some real ‟down and dirty” cleaning methods. Not to mention that roaches also travel and defecate inside of your walls. So, even if you find and clean all of the cockroach waste in your home, there are likely still areas of the infestation that you can’t see, reach or clean.

That’s why the best way to eliminate all traces of roach droppings is to remove the culprits. Call Terminix® and let a professional Service Technician rid your home of cockroaches.

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