Cockroaches feeding on crumbs on the floor

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Signs of a cockroach infestation

Discovering a cockroach infestation requires immediate action to ensure a fast solution and to minimize the health risks associated with this insect. Roaches are usually attracted to food sources on your property. They will eat anything from food, paper, packaging, and plastics to fabrics and animal matter (e.g. hamster and rabbit droppings).

It is often easier to spot signs of a cockroach problem in your home or business rather than an actual live cockroach. As nocturnal creatures, cockroaches usually hide out of sight during the day and become more active in their search for food at night. But if you do spot a live roach, there’s a good chance there are more, which means getting cockroach control is essential to get rid of the problem.

Worried about cockroaches in your house? Call Ehrlich today at 1-800-837-5520 or contact us online for fast, responsive service every day. 

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What causes a cockroach infestation?

Cockroaches are looking for three main things to live: food, shelter, and warmth. Chances are your home has food in it, is a more comfortable temperature than the outdoors, and has lots of good hiding spots, making it the perfect place for a cockroach to start a family. 

Roaches are tiny pests and are able to make themselves even skinnier. This allows them to be able to gain entry into your home through any hole or crevice. They can also be brought indoors from items you carry inside, like cardboard boxes or grocery bags. Once inside, an infestation can occur as roaches are great hiders and breed quickly. One cockroach egg capsule can have up to thirty nymphs in it, making your small problem a lot bigger.

Getting rid of a cockroach infestation can be very difficult. It’s true that if you see one cockroach, there are likely dozens or hundreds more you can’t see.

Signs of cockroaches

How can you tell if you have roaches? Some simple signs you have a possible cockroach infestation include:
  1. Droppings

  2. Shed skin

  3. Smear marks

  4. Cockroach eggs

  5. Damage

  6. Unusual odor

  7. Live roaches

Cockroach droppings

Cockroach droppings are a sure sign of a roach infestation. Cockroaches leave behind dark droppings that appear very similar to ground coffee or black pepper. The droppings are typically less than one millimeter wide and vary in length. The appearance and amount of droppings can vary, but chances are the more droppings you find, the bigger the infestation. If you do find what you suspect to be cockroach droppings, use caution in cleaning them up. Their droppings spread diseases and other bacteria very easily. Cockroaches will eat just about anything, and the pathogens from their past meals live on in their digestive systems.

Shed skin

Cockroaches will shed their skin five to eight times as they grow in size and progress through the various lifecycle stages into adulthood. If cockroaches are present, you will likely see these shed skins of varying sizes around your home, apartment, or business. Look for this evidence in the locations you suspect they are hiding.

Smear marks

Cockroaches leave behind smear marks in addition to their droppings and shed skin. In high moisture areas, this pest will produce brown, irregularly shaped smear marks as they crawl along walls or even when they rest. Check for these dark brown marks on horizontal surfaces and at wall-floor junctions where the roaches are most active.

Cockroach eggs

Cockroaches lay their eggs in a capsule (ootheca) containing multiple eggs. The capsule is unique for each species of cockroach, but is typically brown and shaped like a cylinder. Finding an empty egg case is a pretty good indication that you are not just dealing with one cockroach as one ootheca can hold up to 30 eggs.


Since cockroaches will eat just about anything, they can cause damage to different types of materials.  Roaches will attack organic goods including leather and books, so make sure you look for unusual signs of damage, like chew marks, on items other than just food packaging.

Unusual odor

An established cockroach infestation produces a lingering and unpleasant smell from the feces the roaches leave behind. These droppings produce a pheromone that attracts other cockroaches to the area. The odor is typically described as musty and oily, and it taints any items the roach comes in contact with. The smell will become more extreme and intense as the infestation grows.

Live roaches

Seeing one cockroach doesn’t mean you have an infestation, but unfortunately, it could be the start of one. If that one cockroach is carrying an egg capsule, then you’ll soon have an infestation. It’s important to act quickly no matter if you spot a roach dead or alive.

Seeing signs of roaches? Contact us today.

Where do cockroaches live?

Depending on the species, cockroaches hide in different areas of your home. Identifying the location of an infestation can depend greatly on the type of cockroach that has invaded your property. Some prefer warm and humid areas, while other species can tolerate cooler conditions.

  • Bathrooms
    • Back cabinet joints: roaches 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 roaches in, especially when the cabinet has pipes inside
    • Appliances: appliances provide warmth (from the motor) and hidden crevices for roaches to hide

  • Laundry Rooms
    • Washer/Dryer motor: heat put off by the motor attracts roaches
    • 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 roaches can enter
    • Cracks or gaps in baseboard: roaches will hide in these small areas
    • Stored paper or cardboard: roaches will eat and hide in these materials

  • Drains
    • Damaged drain covers: roaches 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

Why do I have cockroaches in my house?

Cockroaches can gain access to your home in a variety of ways. Some species, like the American cockroach, can enter through any openings in your siding, windows, doorways, or vents. Others, like the German cockroach, may be brought inside on items you carry indoors or via pipes. In apartment complexes, they can travel between units through shared walls. Cockroaches can also be found on wood pallets, for example, if you’re having any work done at your house. They have even been found delivered in cardboard boxes.
Cockroaches do not care if your house is clean or messy as long as it can give them food, shelter, and warmth. Having a clean house can help eliminate the chances of roaches as they’ll have fewer places to hide, but a clean house does not necessarily mean that you will never end up with an infestation. Your home provides cockroaches with the things they need to survive, so no matter how they get in, they’ll make your home their own.

Seeing cockroaches?

Getting rid of a cockroach infestation can be very difficult. By nature, cockroaches are very good at hiding. It’s also true if you see one cockroach, there are likely dozens or hundreds more you can’t see. Finding how cockroaches got into the house can be tricky because these insects can fit into nearly any space, no matter how small.

The starting point is to regularly clean. Keeping your space clean is one prevention method. Don’t let dirty dishes remain in the sink for days, and keep your floor free of food debris. Don’t leave pet food out, and be sure to store your food in airtight containers. Try to vacuum your space weekly. Also, ventilate crawl spaces to prevent the buildup of moisture.

However, if you have noticed any of the cockroach signs above, you need to contact Ehrlich for professional roach treatments to get rid of cockroaches quickly. We use the latest technology and innovation to effectively keep cockroaches away. Our specialists will find where the cockroaches are hiding to get rid of the infestation and offer assistance in preventing a return.

Professional cockroach control can provide a long-term solution to your problem and prevent an infestation in the future. Contact Ehrlich via our online form or call us at 800-837-5520 for an effective and reliable solution to a cockroach infestation or any other pest problem.



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