No one wants a cockroach in their home. Just seeing one makes some people scream or feel nauseous – so imagine how bad an infestation could be! This guide will show you how to identify a potential cockroach infestation in your home, what you can do to prevent it from spreading, and how a professional pest service like ours can help. But first, let’s pose a question that you may not have ever considered:
Are Cockroaches Really That Harmful?
Cockroaches are one of the most common insects in the world – and they’re not the prettiest thing to look at either. But can they hurt you? The answer is varied. Let’s start with the upside. If you only see the occasional cockroach in your home, chances are they won’t do much harm. It’s not uncommon to have one crawl through and end up in your bathtub or closet – where you’ll likely find them and kill them before they become a problem. Even though this scenario shows that your home could be at risk, it’s not a reason to bring out the big guns – yet. But what about the downside? That’s a different story. The bad news is that cockroaches in greater numbers can have a severe impact on your health. Here are just a few ways cockroaches can harm you:
They Can Carry & Spread Diseases
Cockroaches can spread diseases through their feces and other secretions.
Cockroaches are known to carry organisms that cause diseases such as diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, leprosy, plauge, and typhoid fever
They Can Trigger Allergies and Asthma Attacks
Cockroach debris (such as shells, feces, and other secretions) can trigger allergies or asthma attacks
An allergic reaction can result in dermatitis, itching, swelling of the eyelids, and respiratory conditions.
They Can Carry Parasites
Cockroaches can carry the eggs of parasites
Cockroaches have been known to carry parasites such as roundworm, hookworm, and pinworm.
They Can Contaminate Food
Cockroaches can contaminate food when they leave feces and other secretions.
Remember, cockroaches are not only attracted to our food, but also eat pet food, garbage, feces, dead plants and animals, and other gross things.
Each of these scenarios can make it almost impossible to live in your home – and they need to be fixed.
But the bad news doesn’t stop there.
A few years ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) published an extensive study on the negative impacts of all sorts of pests – and cockroaches were at the top of the list.
They also shared findings on lifespan, how many eggs a cockroach can lay (up to 36!), and how long they’ll probably end up living if you let them.
Species (Common Name)
Temperature Preferences (oC)
Adult Size (mm)
Adult lifespan (days)
Generation Interval (days)
Number of Oothecare and Size(mm)
Blattella germanica (German cockroach)
Food preparation areas, kitchens, food storage areas, bathrooms, areas combining warmth and moisture
-36 eggs (8)
Periplaneta americana (American cockroach)
Sewer systems, steam tunnels, zoological parks, greenhouses, areas that combine heat and moisture
-18 eggs (8)
Blatta orientals (oriental cockroach)
Dense vegetation, water meter voxes, crawl spaces under structures/basements, cellears, areas that combine damp and cool conditions.
-16 eggs (10)
Periplaneta fulginosa (Smokeybrown cockroach)
Trees, under logs, stones and flower pots, swere systems, greenhouses.
-26 eggs (11-14)
Supella longipalpa (brownbanded cockroach)
Elevated closets, storage areas, cupboards, animal rearing facilities, warm areas
16 eggs (4-5)
Source: Cornwell (1968): Ebeling (1975); Appel & Smith (2002)
So if you do end up with a cockroach infestation in your home, it can spread like wildfire – and your health can come crumbling down if you don’t act quickly.
But the WHO didn’t stop with just cockroaches. They also highlighted a final potential pitfall that you may not expect: insecticides.
If you have an infestation removed but the insecticide is applied the wrong way, it can have long-term effects on your health for years to come. Certain aerosols or liquid sprays won’t simply go away – even if the bugs are dead.
So however you approach a cockroach infestation, it can potentially be bad for your health – especially if you do it wrong!
But now that you know how bad cockroaches are for your health, let’s teach you the signs that you have a cockroach infestation in your home.
Signs of a Cockroach Infestation
There are plenty of ways to tell that you have a cockroach infestation on your hands.
The most obvious you’ve probably already imagined (or experienced). You open up a door, your crawlspace, or a floorboard, only to experience a mad rush of cockroaches as they skitter away.
Not a fun experience.
But even if that’s happened to you, it pays to be reasonably sure that you’re dealing with cockroaches. There are billions of bugs in the world, and many of them look similar to the untrained eye.
With that in mind, here’s a good idea of what most cockroaches will look like if they’re in your home:
Reddish-brown, with a yellowish figure 8 pattern on the back of the head
2 inches long
Found throughout the U.S. and the world
If you see these little buggers in your house, then you’ve got an infestation on your hands.
And as previously mentioned, this infestation can grow quickly.
And unfortunately, this type of occupation won’t go away on its own. While the average lifespan is usually just a couple months, some cockroaches have been known to live for years.
Imagine one of these living in your home for years. Scary, right?
So how do you know you have a cockroach infestation, and what can you do about it?
Thankfully, there are some pretty clear signs that your home is infested.
First and foremost, if you find a large colony of cockroaches, you’re out of luck. But it’s not always that simple.
Not all of the signs are going to be visible. One of the classic tell-tale signs that all exterminators will tell you about is the “oily, musty odor” that seems to permeate any house that has an infestation.
But most commonly, you won’t immediately notice large numbers of bugs or a strange smell. You’re more likely to see their eggs or egg casings, which look like this:
Long Rounded Shape
How to Get Rid of Cockroaches
Getting rid of a cockroach infestation isn’t easy to do – but it’s necessary if you want to save your home.
Most often, you’ll need to get in touch with a cockroach pest control company near you. They’ll assess the situation, and devise a plan of action to eliminate the problem.
The plan will usually involve identifying the species of roach, finding the best solution to get rid of them, and then follow-up inspections to ensure that the treatment is working.
But before they arrive, there are still a few things you can do to help:
1. Clean up potential infestation areas – Anywhere you might drop crumbs or that could accumulate moisture are perfect for cockroaches. It’s also a good idea to take out your trash as quickly as possible.
2. Set traps – If the infestation is still small, bug traps that use gels, acids, and other chemicals can help you lure your pests and eliminate them quickly. They’re not a perfect solution, but they help.
3. Seal cracks in your home – It’s possible for cockroaches to sneak between baseboards, drywall, and other small openings in your home. Sealing them with caulk will give your pests fewer places to hide and thrive.
4. Hire a professional – There’s no substitute for a good roach pest control company.
It’s hard to overemphasize the final step – you need a professional helping you if you have a cockroach infestation. Because while do-it-yourself may be appealing, it’s usually not effective.
COCKROACH PREVENTION WITH MOXIE
You’ve learned everything you need to identify and eliminate a cockroach infestation – but now it’s time to act.
If you’re looking for the best pest control for cockroach infestations in your area, the team here at Moxie can help you.
We’ll assess your home, determine a plan of action, and then eliminate your roach problem for good.
Don’t hesitate. The longer you let a roach infestation fester, the worse it is for your home and your health. Get in touch today!
If you’re seeing only the occasional cockroach on an infrequent basis, you may have success with products available for purchase at your local hardware store. If you’re seeing multiple roaches, however, it’s best to consult a professional so you don’t end up using more product than what’s needed. A pest control professional will customize a treatment plan based on where you’re seeing activity and safely solve the problem faster.
Cockroaches are opportunistic foragers, always on the lookout for potential food sources.
German cockroaches tend to be drawn inside by food that has been left out or improperly stored. When surfaces aren’t wiped down after each meal or crumbs go unswept, these cockroaches will set up shop. Leaving pet food out (instead of feeding your pet on a schedule), can also attract these pests. They are attracted to both sugars and proteins and are more likely to infest in a home.
American cockroaches, on the other hand, prefer to eat decaying organic matter that’s found outside, such as leaves, mulch, and thatch. If they find their way inside, however, their opportunistic eating habits will drive them to eat whatever they can find. The best way to avoid this type of roach is to prevent them from coming inside in the first place. Seal cracks and crevices in your home’s exterior and keep tree limbs and bushes cut back from the roof and walls.
There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It depends on factors such as the severity of the infestation, how many food sources need to be cleaned or disposed of, the homeowner’s ability to seal entry points, and the type of cockroach. Generally speaking, American cockroaches are easier to get rid of and can be eliminated with the homeowner’s help in one treatment. German cockroaches, however, typically require follow-up treatment.
Yes, they can. Cockroaches can carry diseases such as dysentery, cholera, leprosy, plague, typhoid fever, gastroenteritis, giardia, and salmonella. They can also trigger asthma and allergies.
Cockroaches are oval, winged insects with two antennae atop a small head. Two of the most common cockroaches in the U.S. are American cockroaches and German cockroaches. American cockroaches are larger (the size of a quarter up to 2”) while German cockroaches are smaller (more like the size of a penny). American cockroaches also tend to be more reddish-brown in color as opposed to the plain brown German cockroach.