Signs You Have Cockroaches

Prevent a small cockroach problem from becoming an infestation by watching for these signs.

Signs You Have Cockroaches

Signs You Have Cockroaches

Cockroaches are creepy-crawlies that can bring with them some serious health risks such as allergy and asthma attacks. These insects can also spread many types of bacteria, as well as parasitic worms. The fact is, these pests can make you sick, so the sooner you determine they're in your home or office, the sooner you can contend with the problem.

5 Ways to Tell if You Have Roaches

If you see any of the following signs of cockroaches, take action immediately so you can prevent a small infestation from turning into a much larger one.

1. Your Neighbors Have Roaches.

If the people next door mention they are dealing with a roach problem, there's a strong likelihood that your home is next, so you'll want to take steps to reduce the risk of developing your own infestation. Cockroaches are attracted to things like open food containers left in the trash and the crumbs your kids drop on the floor. Promptly cleaning up messes, using sealed garbage cans, and not keeping outdoor trash cans near your home is a good start.

2. You See Droppings.

While the common German cockroach leaves behind tiny pepper-like specks (about the size of coffee grounds), the droppings of some larger roach species can be as big as a grain of rice and other species simply leave behind a small brown stain. Roaches are infamous for leaving their droppings wherever they go, but pay particular attention to areas like floor corners, cabinet tops, and underneath refrigerators and stoves. (Always wear gloves when cleaning up droppings.)

3. You Spy Egg Casings.

Each long, hollow, light brown egg casing left by a cockroach normally holds between 20-50 eggs; once the eggs hatch, the casing is simply left in place. If you find casings near leaky pipes, around the base of your refrigerator, or in food cabinets, you should immediately take steps to control the cockroach infestation before it grows out of hand. Occasionally, you might find a casing that still contains its eggs -- which you should dispose of by flushing down the toilet -- but a German cockroach mother will actually carry her casing around with her until the eggs are about to hatch.

4. You Smell a Musky Odor.

While a single cockroach isn't apt to leave behind an unpleasant odor that's strong enough for you to notice, several of them will intensify the smell around your home or business. If the infestation is allowed to grow, the smell will become even stronger. While this scent is primarily associated with living cockroaches, dead ones also trigger odors caused by their decomposition.

5. You See a Roach.

Unfortunately, cockroaches are not loners. If you see one, there are likely many more that you can't see. Cockroaches are nocturnal creatures, so you'll most likely spot them late at night, especially if you walk into your kitchen and turn on the light. If you do see them during the day, it's usually because roach overcrowding has forced them out into the open, so chances are you've got a pretty large roach infestation.

How to Kill and Prevent Cockroaches

Once you've determined that you have roaches, you should immediately take action. Follow these steps to control them:

Kill the Roaches You See: Use Ortho® Home Defense® Ant, Roach & Spider Killer2 which not only kills cockroaches but also sanitizes listed surfaces by killing germs they may leave behind – applies to Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) and Klebsiella pneumoniae on hard, non-porous, non-food contact surfaces.

Kill the Roaches You Don't See: Since cockroaches are nocturnal, baits are a good control strategy. Ortho® Home Defense® Roach Bait is a carefully crafted blend of food, water, and insecticide designed to lure unsuspecting roaches scavenging for food. The benefit is the roaches do all the work, spreading the bait to kill other roaches in hiding. Another way to kill roaches hiding in cracks and other hard-to-reach places is by using Ortho® Home Defense® Insect Killer for Cracks & Crevices, which will continue to kill American and German cockroaches for up to 18 months.

Keep Other Roaches Out: Treat doors, window casings, and other entry points around your home with fast-acting, non-staining, fume-free Ortho® Home Defense Max® Indoor Insect Barrier with Extended Reach Comfort Wand®. It will keep controlling cockroaches on indoor, non-porous surfaces for up to 12 months.

What do Cockroaches Look Like?

German Cockroach

  • The most common roach found in the US.
  • Wide, flat, oval-shaped body.
  • Light brown or tan appearance with 2 dark parallel lines running from its head to its wings.
  • 6 long spiny legs.
  • Adult roaches range from ½ to ⅝ inches long.
  • Adults will have developed wings but do not fly.
  • Young roaches (called nymphs) will look like smaller versions of adult German roaches but without wings.

American Cockroach

  • One of the largest species of roaches found in the US.
  • Adult roaches range from 1-1.5 inches long and will have fully-developed wings (very few can fly).
  • Thin, oval body with antennae that are about as long as their body.
  • Reddish-brown appearance.
  • 6 long spiny legs.
  • Nymphs will look like smaller versions of their adult counterparts but without wings.

Oriental Cockroach

  • Sometimes referred to as "water bugs" because of their preference for dark, damp areas.
  • Adult roaches can range from 1-1.25 inches long.
  • Wide oval-shaped body.
  • Very dark brown to an almost black shiny appearance.
  • 6 long spiny legs.
  • Mature adult roaches have short wings but can't fly.

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