Early Signs of A Cockroach Infestation

signs of a cockroach infestation

Discovering a cockroach infestation can cause stress, anxiety, and fear for homeowners. Roaches are known to spread disease, trigger allergies and asthma, and contaminate household surfaces. They are nocturnal pests and an infestation can manifest before you even realize it’s there. It’s important to recognize the signs of a cockroach infestation to help stop it before it gets out of hand.


Different species of cockroaches leave different types of droppings. Smaller roach feces resembles coffee grounds or pepper specks. Larger roach feces leave cylindrical pellets. The quantity of feces left behind is a good indicator of the size and duration of the infestation. Roach droppings can often be found in dark areas (like cabinets) or on surfaces where roach activity is high.


Some species of roaches give off a musty, oily, moist, unpleasant odor. The smell can linger if an infestation is established and will get more pungent as the infestation gets larger.

Discarded Skins

Roaches do not have bones; instead, their bodies are held together by a hard exoskeleton or shell. As they grow, they shed these smaller shells for larger ones. Roaches can shed 5 to 8 times as they mature. These shells can be seen anywhere roaches take shelter.

Smear Marks

In areas with higher moisture, roaches can leave behind a red-brown or brown, irregular shaped smear mark on both horizontal surfaces and where the wall meets the floor. These stains are difficult to clean and are often mistaken for food stains.

Egg Capsules

Roaches lay eggs in capsules, also known as egg cases. They can be segmented, oblong in shape, and brown or red in color. Roaches will carry up to 30 nymphs in their egg cases. These capsules can often be seen behind furniture, in spaces between books, or other hidden locations.

Bugs (Live or Dead)

The presence of roaches, whether alive or dead, is the ultimate sign that they have infested your home. If you see one roach, there is a good chance there are several more lurking nearby. Roaches are nocturnal; seeing roach activity during the daytime can indicate the presence of a much larger infestation.

New Allergy Symptoms

Some people are allergic to the debris roaches leave behind (shells, body parts, feces, and saliva). If you start experiencing new allergy symptoms when you’re in certain rooms of your home, or you start having allergies for the first time when you are indoors, it might be a good time to have your home inspected for roaches or other pests.

Signs of Feeding

Roaches will eat anything they can. If inside your home, they will chew through food packages in pantries, eat pet food left out overnight, or even eat trash inside your trashcan. Any signs of feeding should be taken seriously.

Roach Prevention

Preventing cockroaches is a good first step to keeping your home free of an infestation. Here are some roach prevention tips you can use to help protect your home from these pests.

  1. Keep dirty dishes out of the sink.
  2. Keep food tightly wrapped.
  3. Use a cleaning solution to clean the countertops.
  4. After meals and food preparation, wipe down stovetops, tables, and countertops.
  5. Spills should be cleaned up right away.
  6. Clear away any cardboard, newspapers, cartons, or other debris.
  7. When the garbage can is full, empty it.
  8. Place old or rotten food in an outside trashcan.
  9. Maintain clean floors by sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming.
  10. Regularly clean the toilets, baths, and sinks.
  11. Repair any leaking pipes, faucets, toilets, or roofs.
  12. When bathing or showering, use bathroom fans to assist minimize humidity.
  13. Remove pet waste from your yard.
  14. Caulk cracks and gaps all throughout your house.

If you spot the signs of a cockroach infestation in your home, contact your local pest control company for an inspection and treatment plan.

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