Cockroaches with wings sitting on cheese

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Signs of a cockroach infestation

It is often easier to spot signs of a cockroach problem than the actual insect pest. Cockroaches are mostly nocturnal. During the day they prefer to stay hidden in cracks and crevices, coming out to feed mostly at night time.

Cockroaches are attracted to all types of food available in your home. They will eat anything from foods, paper, and packaging to plastics and fabrics. If you suspect a problem in your home or business there are some simple ways to tell if you have cockroaches.

Signs of cockroaches

The sooner you spot these signs of cockroaches, the faster we will be able to provide you with cockroach control solutions so you can get back to living pest-free.  Look out for the following indications of a cockroach infestation:

  • Cockroach droppings - Cockroaches leave behind a dust of black droppings less than 1mm wide and of varying lengths.

  • Smear marks - Check for marks on horizontal surfaces and at wall-floor junctions where cockroaches are active. If water is abundant, cockroaches will produce brown and irregularly shaped smear marks.

  • Egg capsules - Cockroaches lay their eggs in a capsule containing multiple eggs. The capsule is unique for each species of cockroach.

  • Shed skin - Look for this evidence in locations you suspect they are sheltering. Cockroaches shed nymphal skins 5-8 times as they mature to adulthood.

  • Damage - Look for unusual signs of damage, not just on food packaging. Cockroaches will attack organic goods including leather and books.

  • Unusual odor - An established cockroach infestation produces a lingering and unpleasant musty smell that taints items with which they come in contact.

Cockroach droppings

Cockroaches leave behind dark droppings that appear very similar to ground coffee or black pepper. The droppings are less than 1mm wide and vary in length. If you do find what you suspect to be cockroach droppings, use caution in cleaning them up. Cockroaches will eat just about anything, and the pathogens from their past meals live on in their digestive systems. Bacteria can easily be spread through their droppings.

Smear marks

In areas with high moisture, cockroaches will produce dark, irregular shaped smear marks as they crawl along walls or even when they rest. You may see these marks on horizontal surfaces and at wall-floor junctions where cockroaches are most active.

Cockroach eggs

Cockroaches lay capsules, or oothecae, full of multiple eggs. The ootheca is a bit different for each cockroach species. The German cockroach ootheca has about 18 segments, whereas the brown banded cockroach only about 8 segments. Conversely, Oriental and American cockroach oothecae have no clear segmentation. Instead they have circular, raised areas just below the keel.

Most cockroach species drop the ootheca immediately, but the German cockroach carries it around until it is about to hatch. When it does hatch, it releases about 30 tiny nymphs.

Shed skin

As they grow in size and progress through the various lifecycle stages into adulthood, cockroaches shed their skins 5-8 times. If cockroaches are present, you will likely see these shed skins of varying sizes around your home or business.

Damage to property

As previously stated, cockroaches will eat nearly anything. They often leave behind chew marks and other signs of damage on items other than just food packaging. Cockroaches will even eat through materials such as leather and book pages.

Unusual odor

Cockroaches leave feces behind wherever they live and sleep. These droppings produce a pheromone that attracts other cockroaches to the area. To humans, the pheromone presents itself as a lingering and unpleasant musty smell. As a cockroach infestation grows, the scent will become increasingly intense, tainting more and more items and surfaces.

Where do cockroaches live?

Identifying the location of a cockroach infestation can depend greatly on the species of cockroach that has invaded your property. Some prefer warm and humid areas, while other species can tolerate cooler conditions.

  • Bathrooms
    • Back cabinet joints: cockroaches love to snack on soap residue, toilet paper, and tissues
    • Plumbing behind sinks, bathtubs, showers, and toilets: cockroaches prefer sheltered dark spaces with access to water
  • Kitchens
    • Cupboards and cabinets: the darkness draws the cockroaches in, especially when the cabinet has pipes inside
    • Appliances: appliances provide warmth (from the motor) and hidden crevices for cockroaches to hide
  • Laundry Rooms
    • Washer/Dryer motor: heat put off by the motor attracts cockroaches
    • Cabinets: pay close attention to cabinets that might contain any source of moisture
  • Basements
    • Bases and corner joints of walls: these areas often have small holes through which cockroaches can enter
    • Cracks or gaps in baseboards: cockroaches will hide in these small areas
    • Stored paper or cardboard: cockroaches will eat and hide in these materials
  • Drains
    • Damaged drain covers: cockroaches can fit through incredibly small spaces, so even an insignificant defect can become a big problem
    • Pipe ducts: these can easily get cracked, leaving just enough room for roaches to enter

Professional cockroach control

Cockroach infestations are no joke. Not only are cockroaches eerie to look at, but they are known for spreading illness and even exacerbating asthma-related issues. Western Exterminator Specialists will treat the source of your cockroach infestation and prevent them from returning in the future. 

Start living pest free with Western Exterminator. Contact us online or call 800-937-8398.


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