Are Cockroaches Hiding in Your Home?

German cockroach
The German cockroach (Blattella germanica)

Cockroach infestation can sometimes go unnoticed until the population has reached significant levels. Depending on the species, this can happen at an alarming speed. The most common way people realize they have an issue is by seeing the actual insects themselves. But due to the nocturnal nature of this pest, the actual insects may not be observed. And they will often hide in cracks, gaps, and crevices while the room is in use. So, it’s important to keep an eye out for the other tell-tale indicators mentioned below.

What are signs that roaches are hiding in your home? 

  • Tiny Droppings: German cockroaches often leave behind small, dark droppings that resemble coffee grounds. Check for these in hidden areas like kitchen cabinets, drawers, and behind appliances.
  • Musty Odor: A musty, oily odor is a sign of a severe infestation. If you notice this smell in confined spaces like under sinks or in pantry areas, it could indicate their presence.
  • Egg Casings: German cockroach egg casings, called oothecae, are brownish and about 1/4 inch long. They are usually found in crevices, behind pictures, or near electrical outlets.
  • Nighttime Activity: German cockroaches are nocturnal, so if you see them scurrying around at night, especially in your kitchen or bathroom, it’s a clear sign.
  • Hiding Spots: They prefer tight spaces and hide in cracks, crevices, and narrow gaps during the day. Check behind baseboards, under appliances, and in wall voids.
  • Starchy Trails: Roaches secrete a pheromone that leaves behind a starchy residue. Look for brownish streaks or smears along walls and surfaces.
  • Chew Marks: German cockroaches may leave behind small chew marks on cardboard boxes, food packaging, and paper materials in your pantry.
  • Shed Exoskeletons: As they grow, roaches shed their exoskeletons. Finding these translucent, shell-like remnants can indicate an infestation.
  • Unusual Pet Behavior: Cats and dogs may become unusually interested in certain areas if they sense cockroach activity. Pay attention to your pets’ behavior.
  • Check your “stuff”: German cockroaches often conceal themselves or “hitch a ride” within items introduced into your home, such as the bags and boxes you carry into your living area.

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How do roaches get inside your home?

Roaches generally enter the home by being brought in on infested goods, both food and non-food. Corrugated cardboard boxes are of particular concern as they offer many hiding areas and should be disposed of as quickly as possible. Items brought into the home should be inspected for signs of activity.

Roaches require food and water sources to thrive so special attention should be given to inspecting the kitchen, bathrooms, utility areas and other areas prone to high moisture.

Good sanitation practices should be practiced as even small amounts of food debris and crumbs will support a population. Move appliances and clean under and behind them as food debris and organic matter often build up in these areas. The juvenile stages of cockroaches (also known as nymphs) will feed on the feces of adults so eliminating the food sources of the adults is an important step.

In the case of multifamily housing and apartment buildings, the roach issue may originate from one unit and spread to neighboring units by following utility lines through the wall voids. If you suspect this to be the case, you should contact the landlord or property manager and have them take the appropriate actions.

Roach Prevention Tips: 

Cockroaches reproduce rapidly, so early detection and action are crucial to prevent a full-blown infestation. Here are some things you can do to prevent an infestation:

  • Keep your home clean and free of food crumbs and spills.
  • Seal cracks and crevices where roaches can enter.
  • Store food in airtight containers.
  • Remove clutter to eliminate hiding spots.
  • Fix any plumbing leaks promptly, as roaches are attracted to moisture.

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What Attracts Roaches to Your Home? 

Two of the most common cockroach species you might encounter are American and German cockroaches. So, what attracts each of these species to your home?

American Cockroaches

  • Leaving pet food or water dishes out overnight, outside or in the garage, is a common mistake that attracts American cockroaches to homes. Roaches are nocturnal and are drawn to the scent of pet food, which becomes an easily accessible food source when left out.
  • Neglecting to repair cracks and gaps in walls and doors provides entry points for American cockroaches. These pests are opportunistic and can infiltrate homes through even small openings, seeking shelter and warmth. Perform a “light-leak” test on all exterior windows and doors.
  • Excessive clutter in basements or attics can create ideal hiding places for American cockroaches. They thrive in dark, secluded areas and take refuge in clutter, making it essential to declutter and maintain a clean, organized environment to deter their presence.

German Cockroaches

  • Inadequate food storage and leaving uncovered food items in the open can also lure German cockroaches. These pests are scavengers and feed on a wide range of organic matter, so exposed food becomes an easily accessible food source.
  • Failing to promptly fix water leaks and drips is a common mistake that attracts German cockroaches to homes. These roaches are strongly drawn to areas with moisture, making leaky pipes and faucets a prime breeding ground for them.
  • Homeowners can inadvertently bring German cockroaches into their homes through infested cardboard boxes, grocery bags, or secondhand furniture. To prevent this, it’s crucial to inspect and clean these items before bringing them indoors and to maintain a clutter-free environment, reducing hiding places for potential roaches.

The Modern Solution

Has your home been taken over by cockroaches? Do you think that these creepy insects are breeding in the nooks and crannies of your house? Call Modern Pest today at 800-323-7378 to schedule service. There’s a reason roaches have a bad rap. Don’t fight them alone!