Cockroach Infestation

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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, packaging, plastics and fabrics to animal matter (i.e. hamster and rabbit droppings). If you suspect a problem in your home or business there are some simple ways to tell if have cockroaches.

Cockroach species

There are lots of cockroaches, but if you live in North America then there are some you are more likely to see than others. Here are some of the most common and descriptions of what they look like.

  • German cockroach - although they are labeled as German, they are not actually from Germany, but may have originated in Africa. They are very small (just a few centimeters), light brown. Their distinctive feature is two long dark stripes running lengthwise down their bodies.

  • American cockroach - a much larger cockroach, ranging in size from 35 - 40 mm. The are wide, flat and dark brown in color. American cockroaches have very long antennae. They are oval-shaped and will often have a yellowish-colored margin around the edges of their body.

  • Oriental cockroach - another big one, these roaches between 20 - 25 mm in length. Oriental cockroaches are very dark or black in color and have a hard-shelled body. They love decayed meat and food and can be found in areas where food is prepared. Males have very long wings that cover about two-thirds of their body.

  • Brown-banded cockroach - one of the smallest cockroaches around, reaching between 10-15 mm in length. They are tan or light brown and get their name from having dark brown bands across their abdomen. They are fond of homes and apartments, less fond of public areas and restaurants.

Where to check for a cockroach infestation

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.


    • Check bathrooms - right at the back of bathroom cabinets (especially if they are full of soaps and toiletry products that have been stored for a while) or medicine cabinets. Check plumbing behind sinks, baths and toilets, anywhere they can hide in sheltered dark spaces with access to water even if it's simply condensation. Cockroaches will happily eat soap residue, toilet paper and tissues - even shed skin cells and hair.
    • Check kitchens - look in cupboards and cabinets, pay particular attention to hidden areas with pipework such as under sinks and behind dishwashers. Sometimes cockroaches can be found in the upper inside corner of cupboards, hanging upside down out of sight. Nooks and crannies of appliances with motors, offering warmth and hidden crevices like backs of cookers, fridges and freezers are another area to check carefully. Even smaller kitchen appliances like microwaves, coffee makers, toasters and blenders could harbor cockroaches.
    • Check laundry rooms - cupboards under sinks, where plumbing enters through walls or floors leading to washing machines and tumble dryers. Also check warm areas near the motors at the back of washers and dryers.
    • Check basements - search along the base and corner joints of walls in cellars for any gaps cockroaches could squeeze through. Cracks in wood baseboards or floor cavities are opportune areas for them to hide. Cockroaches will hide in and eat cardboard and newspapers, so check boxes and piles of paper stored for long periods of time.
    • Check drains - as some species like Oriental cockroaches can survive in drier, cooler areas. Look around down pipes for cracks and crevices they might hide in, as well as damaged drain covers they could scuttle through. Other areas to check are pipe ducts and any opening beneath porches or decking. Undisturbed areas of garages and outbuildings may also offer shelter to Oriental cockroaches. They are also known to survive in landfills.

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