Cockroach Information and Pest Control for Home and Business Owners

Updated: Jun. 01, 2023

Take control of your home away from the most common household pest in the world — the cockroach.

A common household pest, the cockroach infects homes, businesses and yards all over the world. If spotted, move quickly to get them out of your house and prevent their return.

How To Identify Cockroaches

Social and nocturnal, the cockroach is not a friendly pest to have in and around the house. With leathery backs, large antennas, and a propensity to leave around droppings, knowing when and why you have cockroaches in the home can help lead to removing one of the oldest living pest.

What Are Cockroaches?

Cockroaches come from the Blattodea order, a group of insects that includes termites. They are a social insect with a predisposition to group and live together with other cockroaches. Scavenging for food and shelter consist of a major part of their lives, making them a common household pest. They seek homes with good food, a moist environment and protective locations to hide.

What Do Cockroaches Look Like?

Cockroaches are a flat bug with a leathery shield-like back. Their colors vary by species, ranging from a reddish-brown to a brownish-black. The average roach is about two inches long, with a body featuring a small head, two long antennas, six legs, two wings, and a hardened exterior. Depending on the weather, cockroaches can grow bigger, typically in the warmer atmospheres.

What does a cockroach look like Antagain/Getty Images

Types of Cockroaches

There are more than 4,600 species of cockroaches around the world, living in all types of environments, from the Arctic cold to the African Savannah. Of these, only a few dozen are common to the household. In the United States, the German Cockroach, the Oriental Cockroach, the American Cockroach, the Brown-Banded Cockroach, and the Smokybrown Cockroach are among the types of cockroaches one could find in or around a home.

Cockroach Behaviors

While cockroaches like to group together, their main objective is to find a constant food source and safe place to live. They search for a dark, moist environment while scavenging for anything they can eat.

What Do Cockroaches Eat?

Cockroaches feast on plants and animals, making them one of the oldest living omnivores . True scavengers, cockroaches are one of the least picky eaters you can find on this planet; any organic substance will do. They will eat basic household foods like meat, fruits, veggies and bread, along with more unique tastes such as eyelashes, make-up, decaying matter and even waste.

Cockroach Environment

A nocturnal bug, cockroaches live in the dark and emerge at night to hunt and eat. It’s common to find cockroaches in and around pipes, sinks, bathtubs or drains. Moist, warm and hidden locations with access to food sources are ideal.

Where Do Cockroaches Live?

Cockroaches can be found all over the world, with the ability to survive in all kinds of environments. In a home, you can find cockroaches living under large appliances like refrigerators and stoves, under drains, in sinks, even inside machinery motors. With the ability to flatten their bodies, cockroaches can fit and thrive in tiny areas.

Cockroaches in the House

If you find one cockroach, there is a good chance more are around the corner. Due to their dirty habits, roaches are one insect you don’t want to keep around for long.

Signs of Cockroaches

When they have penetrated the home or office, cockroaches leave multiple clues of their presence. As much as cockroaches eat, they leave around just as much waste. Along with their transporting abilities, a few additional signs of cockroaches include:

  • Droppings
  • Bad Smells
  • Egg Shells
  • Old Skins

Cockroach Infestations

When signs such as droppings, bad smells and egg shells are clear, a cockroach infestation is likely to follow. Check rooms such as the bathroom, kitchens and laundry room for cockroaches, where many might be gathering in a suitable environment.

Cockroach Pest Control

Cockroaches are great transporters of disease and bacteria, potentially causing issues to the people living in the same proximity. If roaches have penetrated a home or business, you need to get rid of cockroaches quickly and effectively to prevent future problems. Methods for removing and killing cockroaches include:

  • Cleaning
  • Traps
  • Baits
  • Pesticides

Once the cockroaches are gone and your home is secure, make sure they stay out by creating an unattractive pest environment. Such ways to prevent cockroaches from returning include:

  • Cleaning and removing clutter
  • Sealing openings to the house
  • Checking for plumbing leaks
  • Removing exposed food
  • Using cockroach repellents

Cockroach Safety

One of nature’s natural pollinators, the cockroach provides some ecological benefits. However, to the home and businesses that roaches invade, their presence isn’t as well received. Since roaches eat everything they can find, they also leave waste everywhere they travel, creating a dirty environment.

Through waste and their natural excretions, cockroaches transport disease and bacteria along with allergens unpleasant and sometimes harmful to people. All in all, if you are living and working where cockroaches are near, steps should be taken to get rid of them. Whether dealing with cockroaches yourself or hiring an exterminator, quick and thoughtful action should always be the next step.

Cockroach Resources

For more information about cockroaches and what it means when you find this pest in your home or business, check out these pest control articles.