What are the signs of a cockroach infestation? (with photos)

An American cockroach, sometimes called a palm heart bug.

It is important to know about the signs of cockroach invasion. The most conclusive sign of a cockroach infestation is simply seeing them in the house, but as they are nocturnal insects, they are not always easy to spot. Fortunately, cockroaches also leave a telltale odor, as well as other signs of an infestation.

When a very serious infestation is present, cockroaches can be seen during the day. These nasty insects are quite distinctive and easily identified. Between half an inch (1.3 cm) and two inches (5 cm) in length, cockroaches have elongated flat bodies and are colored either light or dark brown or black. Along with six legs and a set of long antennae, these features ensure that spotting a cockroach is often a simple matter.

A flying cockroach.

The more severe the infestation, the more likely it is to see cockroaches during the day. This is not the case 100% of the time, of course, and regular daytime sightings are not common for small infestations. Since cockroaches are nocturnal and are usually hidden during the day, it is essential to be able to recognize other signs of a cockroach infestation.

A serious cockroach infestation may require the intervention of a professional exterminator.

One of the most common signs of the presence of cockroaches in the home is the presence of what are known as shell casings. These are newly hatched cockroach egg cartons and appear as small dark brown oval-shaped guts. Another common sign is the presence of cockroach spots. These dark spots are fecal pellets and regurgitated food, and look like ground peppercorns.

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Finally, there’s the smell. Cockroaches give off a strong, very oily odor, which becomes extremely pungent when large numbers of insects are present. In addition to all the hygiene issues associated with cockroach infestation, the smell itself is unpleasant and can permeate food that is exposed to the air.

The problem is that controlling a cockroach infestation is not just about killing visible cockroaches, as even a minor infestation is often much more extensive than it looks. More important than finding and eradicating a cockroach nest is making the home inhospitable to the cockroaches, so they don’t want to come back. Using a cockroach trap or cockroach bait can be essential for homes in colder climates because cockroaches prefer warm habitats and often move inside during the winter. A serious cockroach infestation where multiple nests are involved usually means that pest control requires the help of an exterminator.

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