Signs of a Cockroach Infestation

Spotting a cockroach is enough to make your skin crawl but catching one in your house is far worse. These little pests aren’t just the critters that cause nightmares.

They can cause some serious problems when found on a residential or business property. Though these nocturnal insects tend to stay out of sight, they do leave some obvious clues behind if they are creeping around within your home or business.

If you suspect you might have a cockroach infestation, here are the top seven signs and what you can do about it.

There are 4000 different cockroach species

What are cockroaches?

Believe it or not, there are over 4,000 different types of cockroaches in the world. The two most commonly found in the USA are German cockroaches and American cockroaches, and both can be a problem. American cockroaches are reddish-brown and can grow up to about 1.5 inches.

This species typically lives outside and makes its home in mulch, garbage, or other dark, damp areas. The German cockroach is light brown, with two parallel dark stripes on their sides. They are less than an inch long and though they have wings, they rarely fly. This type often finds their way inside and hideaway in the unchecked areas of the property.

Having a cockroach infestation on your hands is more than just an insect problem that could make your skin crawl. These pests are known to spread illness, like e. Coli and salmonella. They can easily taint food and countertops just by walking across them. They can also cause structural damage and leave behind an unpleasant smell. If you think you may be facing a cockroach crisis, here are a few signs to watch for.

1. Droppings

Cockroach droppings are a sure sign that you have an infestation. These pests will eat pretty much anything and leave behind something that resembles coffee grounds or pepper. These droppings are less than 1mm wide and can be difficult to spot if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

2. Smear Marks

In addition to droppings, cockroaches tend to leave streaks behind. You can often find these markings on walls; they are dark, irregular smears, you can find in areas where they are most active.

3. Stench or Unusual Odor

Cockroach infested areas have a very particular scent caused by the pheromones left behind in their droppings. This musty smell can attract other cockroaches and the bigger the infestation, the worse the smell. It is a damp, unpleasant odor that can sink into just about any surface.

4. Eggs

A surefire sign of a cockroach infestation is finding their egg capsules. These capsules are called oothecae, and just one of them can hold up to 30 nymphs.

Knowing what a cockroach egg looks like is half the battle to end infestation

5. Shedded Skin

Cockroaches go through several lifecycle stages to reach adulthood. As they grow, they shed they molt anywhere between 5-8 times before they become adults. If you have a cockroach problem, you will likely see shedded skin.

6. Property Damage

Cockroaches will eat just about anything, and that can cause some damage. If you have an infestation, you will likely find chew marks in food packaging, but you will also discover the damage in other materials, such as leather.

7. Living Roaches

While they tend to keep out of sight, if you enter a dark bathroom or kitchen and turn on a light, you may be unlucky enough to see these pests scurry away to their hiding spots. If you spot a live cockroach, it’s likely that there are plenty more that you haven’t.

How to Combat Roaches

Roaches can be a difficult pest to handle, especially if you have a sizable infestation. If you suspect that you may have a large pest problem, the best course of action would be to consult a pest control expert. However, if you want to prevent it, or stop it before it gets out of hand, here are a few tips to help.

Stop Them from Getting In

This may seem obvious; however, we often forget how the seasons and father time take a toll on our property. Perform regular maintenance on your home to seal up cracks, fix screens, and cover open areas. Make it hard for roaches to get in, and that will keep them away.

Close the Buffet

Like any pest, cockroaches need a food source, and if you have an untidy kitchen, that will be more than enough for them. They will look for anything to survive:

  • Unopened food
  • Debris
  • Crumbs
  • Garbage
  • Pet food and water dishes
  • Dishrags

Keep them away by cutting off their food source. Clean up spills, keep food contained to one room, clean the kitchen often, and seal away floor and garbage in lidded containers. The same goes for any possible water sources. Dripping pipes are ideal for cockroach infestation. They love to find dark damp places. To stop an infestation, monitor any damp rooms or food storage areas, and clean them often.

Cockroaches will show up to the buffet so put your food away.

Keep It Clean

Cockroaches love to live in dark, cluttered areas. If you tend to let things pile up, you are giving these pests the perfect place to hide. Whether you have too much in your attic or basement, or a ton of extra junk in your garage, clear up any areas and keep them tidy. Don’t create cockroach homes.

Clear Out Hiding Spots

Depending on the type of cockroach you have, they may have multiple preferred hiding spots in your home. Some species like warm, humid areas, while others love it damp and cool. They all prefer areas that are secluded. Typical areas in the home they tend to hide away are the following:

  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Laundry rooms
  • Basements
  • Drains

Again, they thrive in dark cluttered areas with high moisture. They can often be found behind refrigerators or washing machines, or they can hide away in walks by sinks and stoves. Drains, rubber mats, wallpaper, slipping between the cracks, roaches can hide just about anywhere. The key to keeping them out is monitoring these hot spots and making sure they are tidy.

Stamp them Out

Having a cockroach problem can be extremely daunting, but you don’t have to fight them alone. While these methods can keep cockroaches at bay, you can always contact our pest control specialist to help stop your cockroach problem for good.