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Signs of a Cockroach Infestation

Unfortunately, no matter how clean you are, it can be hard to escape cockroaches if you live in a major city. These are some of the most common and well-known city pests, but they can sometimes strike suburban or rural homes as well.

No matter where you live, it is important that you know the signs of a cockroach infestation. If you found your way to this post, you probably suspect you have an infestation already!

Let’s look at what to look out for so you can keep your home free and safe from cockroaches.  

Where to Look for Cockroaches and Signs

The best way to find roaches is to think like one. Cockroaches love dark, cramped, moist spaces. They feed on decaying organic matter and need a source of water to survive.

The places you are most likely to find them are in crevices and underneath objects in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room.

Look behind and underneath appliances like the refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, oven, or toilet. A flashlight is helpful for looking in those tight creases and beneath appliances that are hard to move.

If you suspect you have a roach problem but are having a hard time finding the roaches, another way to attack the problem is with a flushing aerosol spray.

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Shockwave 1 Flushing spray is ideal for forcing cockroaches out of hiding while applying a pesticide and IGR at the same time.

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A flushing spray is designed to be sprayed into hard-to-reach places and (eventually) kill bugs hiding there, but they are also helpful at flushing them out of their hiding places.

Since the product is a residual pesticide, it will continue to keep roaches at bay after application. This can be a good way to kill two birds with one stone – confirm your roach infestation and kill some of the roaches at the same time.

Signs you Have Cockroaches

As far as pests go, roaches are pretty large, so it’s not too difficult to see them running around your home. However, they are nocturnal creatures that hide in dark, cramped spaces during the day.

You may not always spot them before your infestation becomes serious. Here are some of the signs you may have a roach problem.

Sign 1: Seeing Roaches Out and About

The most obvious sign you have a roach infestation is seeing the roaches themselves, but you may not always see them unless you know where or when to look. Roaches are nocturnal. This means they only come out at night. You may find the occasional outlier during the day, but by and large, they prefer to feed by night.

Good places to look for roaches are bathrooms and kitchens. Cockroaches emerge in search of food or water, so places with decaying organic matter are always a safe bet.

They also like small spaces, so they tend to hide underneath refrigerators, behind appliances, and any other little nooks and crannies they can fit into.

Sign 2: Seeing Roach Feces

Roaches that can find enough food to increase their numbers and establish an infestation will leave behind plenty of frass (feces). The dropping looks like little brown and black pellets – they won’t be red in color like bedbug droppings since cockroaches do not drink blood.

The size will depend on the roach. Smaller roach species like German cockroaches may produce frass that looks like flecks of black pepper or coffee grinds, whereas larger ones will produce larger droppings.

The most common spots to find roach droppings are in the nooks and crannies where they rest, on the floor along baseboards, and on top of tall objects like cabinets and doors. Make sure to check in spots you don’t frequently sweep or vacuum – there’s a better chance that frass will have accumulated there.

A flashlight comes in very handy here.

Sign 3: Seeing Other Roach Scraps

Along with feces, roach infestations are usually accompanied by other nasty little gifts. You may find small, spiny legs, egg casings, dead roaches, or shed skins. Eggs and egg casings tend to look a bit like frass, but more regular in shape and shiny.

Shed skins will look like all or part of a roach, but hollow and flaky. These tend to accumulate in the same places as the frass. Keep your eyes open for baby roaches as well – since roaches do not undergo full metamorphosis, the young roaches will look like tiny adults.

Immature cockroaches are a sign your infestation has become well-established, since it indicates that the population is breeding in your home.

Sign 4: Smelling Their Odor

Cockroaches tend to release a strong odor when they infest. Even a small number of roaches may produce the smell, so this is one of the best signs that you may need to treat for roaches.

The smell tends to be a thick, oily, musty scent. It’s a bit hard to describe if you’ve never smelled it before, and the smell can vary between species. The smell may aggravate your allergy or asthma symptoms, too.

All cockroaches produce a bad smell – it’s how they communicate with one another and why they tend to gather in large clusters. If you have a cockroach problem, you’ll likely notice the smell throughout your home – not necessarily limited to places with many roaches.

The smell may linger for a long time after treatment as well, so be patient.

Signs of a Severe Cockroach Infestation

With any luck, you will catch your roach infestation before it gets too overwhelming. However, there are some additional signs to look out for that only occur when the roach infestation has gotten out of hand.

The first of these is seeing cockroaches out in the daytime.

As competition for food and resources escalate, some cockroaches may need to forage during the day. If you are seeing multiple roaches in your home during daylight hours, this is a sign that there are many, many more roaches you can’t see.

Similarly, if you start seeing cockroaches outside your home, such as in your yard, on the exterior of your house, or in your driveway, this is a sign that the roach population in your home is spiraling out of control.

Almost all cockroach species live indoors and would only be driven outside if they’re struggling to find resources inside.

Roaches are one of the worst pests to get because they make your home unclean. But the good news is that the same disgusting traits that make roaches such a pest are also great ways to track them down.

The first step in treating any pest infestation is realizing you have a problem. Hopefully, the advice in this article will help you recognize roach infestations early enough to get them treated easily and inexpensively and keep your home clean and vermin-free.

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Written by Miles Martin

Miles is a professional science writer with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Rhode Island and a Masters of Science in Science Communication and Public Engagement from the University of Edinburgh.

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