Cockroaches are secretive, nocturnal pests that like to stay hidden during the day, so it’s easy to miss the signs that they’ve moved into your home. To catch an infestation early, don’t ignore these five cockroach infestation clues.
1. Suspicious Odor
Some types of cockroaches, like German cockroaches, produce unpleasant odors that may be noticeable if a lot of roaches are present. If your house starts to smell musty, and you can’t figure out where the smell is coming from, it may be cockroaches.
2. Egg Cases
Cockroaches produce oothecae—hardened egg cases—that contain numerous eggs. When the egg cases are first produced, they’re dark brown, but they blacken quickly. These egg cases are fairly large (8 mm by 5 mm, in the case of American cockroaches), and may be found in secluded areas around your home, like behind your furniture or inside your pantry.
3. Nymphal Skins
When cockroaches hatch out of their eggs, they’re very small. Since their bodies have a hard outer cuticle that won’t stretch, they need to shed their old skins to be able to grow. When it’s time to shed, cockroach nymphs find a sheltered location and breaks out of their old skins. These skins are light brown and cockroach-shaped, and if you find them in your home, you can be sure that adult cockroaches aren’t far away.
4. Cockroach Feces
Cockroaches aren’t discriminating about where they go to the bathroom; they leave their droppings everywhere they go. Their feces can look like coffee grounds, black pepper or dark smears, depending on the species. You may find this feces around food storage areas, like inside your kitchen cabinets, or in sheltered areas, like underneath your kitchen appliances, or in any other part of your home where roaches are active.
5. Live Cockroaches
An obvious sign of an infestation is seeing live cockroaches inside your home. Cockroaches are active at night, so if you get up in the middle of the night, you may see cockroaches scurry as you turn on the lights. Seeing cockroaches during the day is a sign that their dark hiding places are getting overcrowded and they’ve been forced out into the open.
If you notice any of these cockroach infestation clues, you may have a problem! Suspicious odors, egg cases, nymphal skins, cockroach feces and live cockroaches are all signs that cockroaches have taken residence in your home—it’s time to evict them!