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Cockroach Behavior

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Cockroaches are expert scavengers, admirable survivors and annoying pests. They crawl all over your counters and dirty dishes. They lay eggs in tiny crevices and contaminate food.

What’s worse than a cockroach crawling around your home? A cockroach flying around your home. So, do they? Do cockroaches fly?

Can Cockroaches Fly? Do They All Fly?

Yes, cockroaches can fly. That answer makes a lot of people unhappy. You’re already worried about them crawling around your floor, and now you have to worry about them flying, too?

The good news- sort of, is that not all cockroaches are capable of flying. Those that are capable of flight, have wings that are long enough and developed enough to sustain flight.

Roaches like the Oriental cockroach for example, do have wings, but they’re too short and stubby to be of very much use. (for more, also see “Cockroach with Wings? It’s Probably One of These“).

A cockroach’s ability to fly is also determined by its life stage, and sometimes gender. Immature cockroaches for example, can’t fly because they’re wingless. And females of certain species can’t fly – even though they have wings – because their highly effective legs do enough.

Why Do They Fly?

Illustration of three roaches on rooftop: Two in the gutter, and one cockroach flying away.

Flying isn’t really the preferred method of transportation for most cockroaches (and no, not because they’re afraid of heights). It has more to do with the design of their bodies.

While they can be very, very fast runners – moving as fast as 50 body lengths per second on the straightaway (the equivalent for creatures our size of more than 100 miles per hour) – flying isn’t easy for them, and they’re awkward in the air.

So why do roaches fly at all? There are a few reasons.

Self-Protection

Often roaches fly to escape a threat. Though much has been written about cockroach’s supposed invincibility, they have plenty of natural predators and creatures like you or your pets that would want to do them harm.

Mating

Some cockroach males become active flyers during breeding season, when they travel short and long distances in search of a mate. They become especially attracted to light during this time, and are known for their summer nighttime assaults against well-lit rural window screens.

Food and Shelter

Cockroaches also fly in search of food and shelter, which might include your home. Roaches living in a hollow tree for instance, might climb up its branches looking for food. Then take a short flight to the roof of your house to infest the decaying leaves in your gutter.

What Kinds of Cockroaches Can Fly?

Illustration of 8 types of flying cockroaches

There are several types of flying cockroaches, including these most likely pests:

  1. American cockroaches
  2. German cockroaches
  3. Pennsylvania woods cockroaches
  4. Brown banded cockroaches
  5. Smoky brown cockroaches
  6. Australian cockroaches
  7. Asian cockroaches
  8. Cuban cockroaches

These flyers live in a variety of environments and climates, though most prefer to live outdoors. They’re light brown, dark brown, reddish-brown, or golden in color, while the Cuban cockroach is a bright leaf-green.

The size of a cockroach doesn’t affect its flying ability. Both small and large cockroaches fly, and range in size from the huge, awkwardly flying American cockroach (up to 2 inches in length or more), to the tiny, occasionally flying German cockroach (which is smaller end-to-end than the face of a penny).

Where Do They Come From?

Flying cockroaches come from a variety of places, many of them the same as their non-flying relatives. They’ll enter a home in any way they can, from finding holes in exterior walls to following drainpipes into bathrooms and kitchens.

But flying cockroaches have a few more options available to them. They can come from trees, flying onto branches and then onto rooftops. Once on the roof, they can squeeze between shingles or through the gaps in an attic fan.

They can also come in through open windows and doors. They might be following the light of a lamp or a TV screen. If your window screens have tears in them, a cockroach might be able to climb through it.

Are They Dangerous?

Flying cockroaches are dangerous because they can carry bacteria from waste and decaying material into homes and businesses. This is true of all cockroaches. They feed on garbage and dead organic matter, making them a risk to your health if they start invading your home.

Many people think they’re being attacked when roaches fly towards them. But cockroaches don’t feed on our blood like other flying pests. They either fly toward you accidentally, or head in the wrong direction in their hurry to avoid getting squashed.

That said, there are certain circumstances that may draw them toward you…

The light you’re sitting under may attract them to you. And the light reflecting off your forehead or face can do it, too. Can cockroaches fly right at your face when that happens? You bet they can. You become irresistible!

What Areas of the Country Have Them?

Cockroaches live all over the world and flying ones aren’t picky.

From trees, mulch and sewers to alleyways and kitchen cabinets, flying cockroaches follow food sources anywhere necessary. They’ll fly around cities, farms, buildings and even into trees. Here are some of the areas across the United States that have them:

Florida

The infamous Florida palmetto bug (a.k.a. the American cockroach) is a type of flying cockroach that’s incredibly widespread in the state. It’s also one of the largest cockroaches around. A male palmetto bug’s folded wings are long enough to extend past the bottom of its abdomen. Female palmetto bugs also have wings, but they’re shorter.

Palmetto bugs mostly live outdoors and can fly short distances. They use their wings to glide from a tree onto your patio or porch. If your windows are open, they’ll just as easily swoop into your house.

Texas

Texas’s famous “tree roach” is yet another name for the American cockroach and you’ll find quite a few of them flying in and around Houston.

Cuban cockroaches are also fairly common flying roaches in Texas. These green bugs are usually outdoor insects. Unlike many other cockroaches, they’re excellent fliers and commonly live in trees. They’re also strongly attracted to lights, which can lead them to fly into homes and businesses through open doors and windows.

Asian cockroaches are also present in Texas. These twins of the German cockroach are relatively strong fliers, too. They’ve been seen flying up to forty yards at a time.

New York City

New York City is a well-known American cockroach hot spot. There’s enough garbage on the ground and in alleyways that they don’t usually have to fly in search of food, but in hot, humid summers such as the one in 2016 (when city scientists found them flying around in large groups), they become more restless and active.

Georgia

Some of the most common cockroaches in Georgia are American, smokybrown, Asian and German cockroaches. You’ll notice that all four species of cockroaches are flying roaches! Being a southern state, Georgia has its fair share of giant flying cockroaches as well as some of the smaller species. A few of these roaches will be attracted to lights and could fly into open apartment windows or onto roofs to feed.

California

The most common cockroach found indoors in California is the German roach. These cockroaches rarely use their wings to fly, preferring to crawl around homes in search of food. The American cockroach also infests California. Warm temperatures in some parts of the state let them thrive outdoors, flying around and feeding on whatever they can find.

Hawaii

Yes, there are flying cockroaches in Hawaii. German roaches, American roaches and over a dozen other species are present on the island, invading homes, gardens and all of the usual places. Like their counterparts on the Gulf Coast, flying roaches there can be found outdoors and indoors. They’ll fly into and out of trees, through windows and straight past your head.

Las Vegas

Like all urban areas in the U.S., Las Vegas is home to a number of flying roaches, with German and American species the most common. Since both of these cockroaches can fly, it’s important to keep windows and doors closed or covered by screens at all times.

Alabama

At least 25 cockroach species call Alabama home. These include many of the flying species listed above. Alabama faces the same cockroach problems as other southern states: not only do they crawl in through drains and holes but they also fly in through windows and find entry points in roofs.

North Carolina

There are a few flying species in North Carolina, including wood cockroaches and American cockroaches. Wood cockroaches aren’t very capable fliers; they can do it but only for short distances at a time. They’re much more of a risk to homeowners on the ground. These roaches live in forests and among shrubs but they’ll come inside when food is hard to find outdoors.

Illinois

Where there are large urban areas, cockroaches often follow. That means Chicago residents are no strangers to cockroaches of both the crawling and flying kind. The ones in Illinois include American, brown banded and wood cockroaches. Whether you live in the city or somewhere more rural, you’ll have to protect your home against flying cockroaches making themselves comfortable inside or around it.

Conclusion

Do roaches fly?

Yes, and they can be dangerous to your home and family. They carry bacteria from all kinds of disgusting places and spread it on everything they touch, contaminating food and potentially triggering allergies. Flying ones pose an additional risk because they can easily fly through open windows and doors and find gaps between shingles that could let them into your attic.

If you’ve seen flying roaches in your space, it’s time to take steps to get rid of them. Learn how to prevent and get rid of flying roaches for good in the next pest control article.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do cockroaches fly towards you?

Although many winged cockroaches can fly, only a few fly well. Sometimes when they’re threatened, they’ll fly to escape– either from a predator or from a human who wants to kill them.
If they take off and fly straight towards you, they’re usually just frightened and not in very good control of where they’re headed. On the other hand, a light above or behind you could be attractive to certain species, in which case yes – they may try to fly right at you.

What are bugs that look like roaches but fly?

You might be thinking of palmetto bugs, the large insects found all over Florida and the surrounding states. Palmetto bugs are actually cockroaches–they’re members of the American cockroach species. Palmetto bugs can fly for short distances. They often use their long wings to fly into trees searching for food.

How high can cockroaches fly?

Cockroaches’ ability to fly varies based on their size and wing strength. Some of the strongest flying cockroaches can fly for a little over 100 feet at a time. However, they can’t fly 100 feet vertically – most cockroaches only fly as high as an average treetop.

Can big roaches fly?

Yes, American cockroaches are some of the biggest roaches commonly found across the U.S. and can fly short distances at a time. Their bodies can grow to 2 inches in length but their wings extend beyond their abdomens, allowing them to fly.


Sources

  1. Brunskill, Amber, et al (2011) Common Urban Pests: Identification, Prevention, and Control. PennState Extension. Retrieved from https://extension.psu.edu/common-urban-pests-identification-prevention-and-control
  2. Drees, Bastiaan M. (2010) Texas A&M: AgriLife Extension. Retrieved from https://landscapeipm.tamu.edu/what-is-ipm/ipm-concepts/pest-identification/good-bug-bad-bug/neither/cockroaches/
  3. HowStuffWorks: Animals. Retrieved from https://animals.howstuffworks.com/insects/flying-cockroaches-behavior-target-face.htm
  4. How to Recognize the Five Cockroaches Common in Georgia (2018) Retrieved from https://www.bredapest.com/news/how-to-recognize-the-five-cockroaches
  5. Sutherland, Andrew M., et al (2019) Cockroaches. UC Pest Notes: Cockroaches. Retrieved from http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7467.html
  6. Hawaiian Insects: Cockroaches. Instant Hawaii. Retrieved from http://www.instanthawaii.com/cgi-bin/hi?Animals.roach
  7. Holt, Courtney (2011) Insects of Alabama. Encyclopedia of Alabama. Retrieved from http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1809

Introduction

Where do roaches hide? It’s a tougher question than it seems.

Because cockroaches aren’t like most other creatures we encounter day-to-day. They’re tiny survival machines. And a big part of what makes them so tough to control or kill – or even spot before you’ve got an infestation – is their ability to hide so well. And do it so much.

Cockroaches can actually hide just about anywhere, so long as:

  1. They’re near food.
  2. They’re near water.
  3. They’re sheltered from things they fear.

Add those things together and you’ve got a lot of cockroach hiding places, including some that wouldn’t necessarily occur to you.

But knowing what they need also makes finding cockroach hiding places easier. Because you know how to track them down – in bathrooms, kitchens, living spaces, and some of the less frequently used areas of your home.

Let’s take a closer look at this important first step in cockroach control…

Where Roaches Hide in Bathrooms

Where do cockroaches hide in bathrooms? With lots of water, even in places you might not guess, roaches flourish in bathrooms and find plenty of places to hide in them:

  • Bathroom Sinks, Tubs and Toilets: Cockroaches love hiding under sinks, which are great sources of water. And they like drains, pipes, and the gaps in walls around pipes for the same reason. You’ll find them around tubs and toilets, which are particularly attractive not just for the water that drips, collects, and condenses around them. But for the soap residue, toilet paper lint, dead skin, and hair that accumulate nearby (and that they eat).
  • Bathroom Tiles and Baseboards: If your bathroom tiles and the caulking around them are cracked, roaches may squeeze themselves into the empty space.
  • Bathroom Cabinets: In bathroom cabinets, roaches may set up camp at the back, where they can snack on soap and toilet paper undisturbed.

Where Roaches Hide in Kitchens

Where do roaches hide in kitchens? With easy access to food, water, and warmth, you’ll find roaches hiding in obvious places, as well as areas you might not suspect:

  • Kitchen Cupboards and Counter Tops: You’ll often find roaches hiding in kitchen cupboards, typically in the corners, or in the space between the shelves and wall where they’re difficult to see. Drawn to drips and puddled water, you’ll often find roaches hiding beneath dish mats and drying racks. And find them lurking all but invisibly in the gap between the kitchen counter and the cabinet below.
  • Kitchen Appliances: You may find cockroaches hiding behind (as well as inside) every appliance in your kitchen: Refrigerators, dishwashers, dryers, washing machines, ovens, water heaters, coffee makers, microwaves, blenders, and toasters. Refrigerators are a favorite hiding place for roaches because the voids behind and underneath them are dark, warm, and full of water from condensation (thanks to the refrigerator’s motor). They’re also areas where food crumbs, spills, and bits of pet food typically collect. Likewise, the voids under and behind dishwashers provide lots of warmth, water, and spilled or forgotten food -and become roach infested quickly.
  • Ovens and Stove Tops: With plenty of warmth and crumbs to eat, ovens and stove tops are a bonanza for roaches, and make prime cockroach infestation areas. If you have a stove with a top that flips up, you just might find cockroaches living there. They often set up shop inside the oven’s clock and electronics too, where the warmth and tight quarters make them feel safe.
  • Pictures and Decorations: Cockroaches aren’t attracted to kitchen art, but they do like the voids behind pictures and other decorations. Even lifting a corner here or there can sometimes send them scurrying.

Where Roaches Hide in Work and Living Areas

Where do cockroaches hide where you work and live? “Everywhere” wouldn’t exactly be incorrect, but certain work and living “trouble spots” are worth a second look:

  • Desk and Computer Areas: If you eat at your desk and your home is infested, there are probably cockroaches hiding out behind your computer. You may not see them during the day, but at night they’ll come out to snack on the tasty crumbs that have fallen into your keyboard.
  • Furniture: Cockroaches are comfortable inside and underneath furniture. They may even lay their eggs there. On shelves, you can expect to find them behind whatever the shelf is holding, including books, pictures, and knickknacks.
  • Pictures and Mirrors: Cockroaches will hide on the backsides of posters, mounted pictures, and wall mirrors. Less moisture-dependent than other species, Brown Banded cockroaches are particularly likely to be hiding behind pictures, especially those hung higher up, where the temperature is warmer.
  • Closets: Cockroaches hide readily in closets, which are kept dark for long periods, and visited less frequently than other rooms. If you don’t see them on the walls, the ceiling, or the floor when you peek inside, look on the inside of the door, especially where it meets the wall, frame, or paneling.
  • Walls, Wallpaper, and Electrical Covers: Roaches frequently wedge themselves into light fixtures and find their way inside electrical outlet covers. If there’s a tear in your wallpaper, cockroaches are happy to crawl right in behind it. And if there are holes, cracks and crevices, or air vents in your walls, cockroaches will find them and climb right in.
  • Ceilings: Some species, most notably the Brown Banded cockroach, like to hang out on ceilings, especially in dark rooms. They wont be hiding when it’s dark, but if you turn on the lights, they’ll scurry into the molding or into cracks behind the trim.

Where Else Do Roaches Hide?

Where do they hide where you may not encounter them as much? And what overall are some of the worst trouble spots?

  • Basements: Certain cockroaches in the United States, like American and Oriental cockroaches, can withstand cooler temperatures, and like to hide in basements. They both also live in sewers which connect to the basements of commercial spaces, such as restaurants. If you find a cockroach living in your basement, it’s probably one of these.
  • Attics: Some species may hide out in attics, especially if there are leaky pipes to drink from, and cardboard boxes to use for food. When they aren’t living in the ceiling itself, they wedge themselves behind baseboards. Or in the cracks where baseboards meet. Or behind door and window trim.
  • Clutter: Clutter may be an eyesore to you. But for cockroaches, it means food and protection. They not only hide in it, but find things to eat in it. And if it holds any newspaper, cardboard, or paper of any kind, they’ll eat it, including the glue that holds cardboard boxes together and seals envelopes shut.
  • Trash: Trash is a cockroach’s favorite thing and they’ll hide in it whenever they find it. Look for cockroaches wherever trash accumulates, and wherever it’s been, including the bottoms of trash cans, and the walls, electrical outlets, and baseboards that are behind them.

Getting Rid of Cockroach Hiding Places

Finding cockroach hiding spots is a start. But you’ll want to get rid of them and keep them from infesting those areas again. We tell you elsewhere how to find them, and how to kill them, but here’s how to begin making your home a much less comfortable place for roaches to hide:

  • Get Rid of Easily-Accessed Water: Whether it’s drips, drops, or puddles, roaches need water to survive, and you’ll want to find out where they’re getting it. Find water, and if your home is infested, there are sure to be roaches hiding somewhere nearby. Seal any leaks you find, clean up standing water, then wrap and seal exposed pipes.
  • Remove Food Sources: Where do roaches hide when they can’t find food? To somebody else’s house. Clean up spills and crumbs everywhere, including hard-to-reach areas under refrigerators and stoves. Then keep food sealed and stored in air-tight containers.
  • Seal Up Your House: You may not be able to make your house totally inhospitable to roaches (after all, you like warmth and comfort, too). But you can do things to keep them out, like creating barriers at entry points that keep them from getting inside. Seal holes and cracks in your outside walls, and fill gaps along window sills and door frames.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do roaches hide in mattresses?

Typically they do not. Cockroaches prefer kitchens and bathrooms, where there’s ample food and water. The only roach that actively targets other parts of the home- the Brown-Banded cockroach- prefers to hide high up on walls or ceilings.

However, furniture often offers a safe, warm place to lay eggs, so it’s never a bad idea to double check your furniture, including your bed, if you discover you have a roach infestation. Afraid you might have bed bugs? You might want to find out here.

Do roaches hide in clothes?

Cockroaches hiding in your clothes is unlikely, unless they’ve infested your dresser drawers. Most roaches prefer kitchens and bathrooms to the drier parts of your home. That being said, if you have a severe infestation, the population can spill over into other areas of the house. In a pinch, a dresser drawer might serve as a safe hiding place for cockroaches.

Do roaches hide in electronics?

Yes. Finding roaches in electronics is not uncommon, including computers, TV’s, and game consoles. They like the warmth and darkness they can find within electronic devices.

Conclusion

Where do roaches hide? In all the places you don’t want them.

If you suspect cockroaches in your house, it’s critical to find out where they’re lurking. And take steps to get them out. It’s equally important to find out how they got in, so you can stop them from getting in again.

With just a little know-how about pest control, the next time a cockroach hides in your home, you’ll be more than ready to find it. And make that visit its last.

Introduction

When you find yourself face-to-face with a roach infestation, certain discoveries are unpleasant, while others are just plain… awful.

Roach poop for most of us fits right into the awful category. And if you’ve been unlucky enough to find the stuff somewhere (like where your family eats and sleeps and lives), you’re probably not only thoroughly disgusted. But angry. And more than a little confused.

After all, roaches haven’t just been attacking your home. They’ve been using it for a toilet. And if there’s enough poop around that you’ve actually seen it (think for a moment about all the poop in places you can’t see), the roaches have been winning. That is, until right now.

If you can manage to hold your nose to the end of this article, you’ll not only have a better idea of how and why roach poop got into your home. But how to get rid of it, along with all the roaches too. Ready?

What’s Inside Roach Poop

Cockroach poop is made up of all sorts of things that roaches have digested: Food from your cupboards, counters, and drawers. Garbage. Rotting flesh. And dead insects, including the carcasses of other cockroaches.

Cockroaches don’t pee (a not-so fun fact), but instead secrete solid and semi-solid waste. All of which varies in appearance, depending on the size, age, and species of roach you’re dealing with.

What Cockroach Droppings Look Like

What does roach poop look like? What you find will probably look something like this:

Cockroach poop on wall beside a light switch

Generally speaking, cockroach droppings are dark brown or black pellets. They’re either roundish chunks or oval-shaped, and much of what you find will simply appear as smears and stains on the surfaces that cockroaches have been crawling over.

Of course, before a full-blown infestation, roach droppings will be so minimal and scattered that you may not even see them. While during a large infestation they’ll be almost impossible to miss – with cockroach poop (and other nasty cockroach stuff like egg cases, discarded shells, and cockroach body parts) literally everywhere you look.

Since you’ve managed to make it this far, let’s take a closer look at the poop of some leading culprits.

Poop From Large Cockroaches

If there were a single rule of thumb that helped identify roaches by their poop, it would be this: Larger roaches make bigger roach poop. American, SmokyBrown, and Oriental cockroaches are all considered larger species. They are usually more than 1 inch long. They produce solid, cylindrical feces that can be as large as a grain of rice.

Roach poop example from large species such as the American cockroach and Oriental cockroach

If you were to look closely, you’d see ridges running from one end of the dropping to the other – giving it an appearance sort of like a fennel seed.

Do you have mice, too? Other than cockroach poop being smaller, this is one of the main differences between mouse poop and roach poop. Because mouse droppings will be mostly smooth. It will also be pointed at each end (unlike roach feces which is blunt), and sometimes has small hairs from the animal’s body stuck to it (which roaches of course don’t have).

Poop From Small Cockroaches

The poop from small cockroaches is different. Not just in size, but in shape. Small species like Brown-Banded and German cockroaches leave behind tiny brown or black specks or stains. The droppings can look like coarse ground coffee or grains of coarse black pepper, while the stains can be inky, smeared, or raised.

Cockroach poop from small species such as the German roach and the Brown-Banded cockroach

If you had to distinguish German cockroach poop from Brown-Banded cockroach poop, you’d find that German roach poop was moister (more smeary), due to the German roach’s preference for wetter environments.

Poop From Baby Cockroaches

Baby cockroaches (called nymphs) produce feces similar to adult roaches, but smaller. The droppings of large cockroach nymphs are small, cylindrical, and ridged, while those of small cockroach nymphs are minuscule brown or black specks.

Does Roach Poop Have a Smell?

Does roach poop have a smell? Absolutely. Cockroach poop stinks and has an acrid, oily odor. But what your nose smells is only half the story. Because the odor roach droppings give off harbors a sinister secret.

It conveys signals to other cockroaches that they’re around, provides a trail for other roaches to follow, and ultimately helps them find each other.

Which means that the smell of roach poop isn’t just bad. It’s actually attracting more roaches.

Can There Be Poop But No Roaches?

In a word, yes. There can be roach poop from roaches that once lived inside your house, but have died or somehow left (like from a past extermination). Unless a roach or other insect eats it, or you knuckle down and clean it up, the droppings will just sit there, slowly decaying and sometimes molding for many, many years.

One way to tell if you have an active cockroach infestation is to clean up all the poop you’ve found, then monitor your home to see if more appears. If it stays roach poop-free, you probably don’t have a current infestation. If you find that more droppings appear however, it means it’s time to get those roaches out.

Can Roach Poop Make You Sick?

Can cockroach poop make you sick

Even if you don’t have an active infestation, roach feces is a bad thing to have around. Can roach poop make you sick? Yes, it can.

Cockroach droppings (and shed skin) contain proteins that trigger allergies and asthma attacks in some people. They may even cause children to develop asthma. These proteins can linger in the home even longer than the feces themselves, remaining dangerous for years after the roaches themselves have gone.

Not only that, but cockroaches’ eating and living habits bring them into contact with bacteria, mold, fungi, viruses, and worms that they leave behind in their feces.

Couple that with the fact that roaches poop literally everywhere, including in the food that you and your family eat.

Let that sink in for a moment. It means that if cockroaches are living anywhere inside your home, there’s a good chance you’re ingesting roach poop.

Now consider this: Food poisoning can be caused by cockroach poop. And if the harmful bacteria that’s sometimes carried by cockroaches spreads from your digestive system to your blood stream, it could – potentially – even kill you.

How to Clean Roach Poop

Vacuum cleaner cleaning carpet
Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

Cleaning up roach poop is nobody’s idea of a good time. But with your family’s health and safety on the line, you’ll be more than glad you did.

Suit Up

Suit up before you get to work. Old clothes are fine, and put on a pair of gloves. Purchase a protective face mask or a respirator to reduce exposure to potential airborne allergens.

Vacuum

Plan to vacuum first, using the vacuum to remove loose, dry roach droppings that have accumulated over time. Since vacuuming can stir up allergens, you’ll want to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to keep the air around you safe. If a HEPA vacuum isn’t available, soak the feces in disinfectant spray instead, then wipe it up by hand.

Clean

Everywhere that you find roach poop will require different cleaning methods.

  • For carpets, start with the vacuuming tips above (you can scrape any dried, stuck-on cockroach poop off before vacuuming to get the most poop up to begin with). Next, either use a carpet detergent (read the label to determine how much to dilute it) or mix up white vinegar, dish soap, and water (one teaspoon each of vinegar and soap to a full spray bottle of water) and spray the area. Scrub to work the soap into the carpeting. Let it fully dry before vacuuming again.
  • On walls and hardwood, tile, cabinets, or vinyl flooring, choose a disinfectant spray that is safe for the material. Spray the affected area and leave it on for the recommended amount of time, then scrub to get out the stains.
  • If you find roach droppings on your clothes, first scrape off any dried poop, then treat stains and wash in the warmest water that is safe for the fabric.
  • Cockroaches can also infest mattresses. As with clothing, the first step is to scrape off the dry feces. Next, mix disinfectant soap and warm water in a spray bottle, spray the area, and scrub with a coarse sponge. Spray again with just water to rinse the soap out, then let the mattress air dry.

Dispose

Since roach poop is so unhealthy, you’ll want to wash or throw away anything that comes into contact with it. When you’ve finished the job, be sure to wash (or throw away) your gloves and work clothes, and dispose of rags and vacuum bags, preferably in sealed plastic trash bags that animals or other people can’t get to.

Next Steps

Cleaning up the cockroach poop is the first step to living cockroach-free and ultimately reclaiming your home. The next steps are to get the roaches that have set up residence, and to keep them from coming back. You can attempt to do that by yourself (and we’ll show you how here), or call in a professional pest control service to do it for you (we’ll show you how to do that here).

Either way, by knowing what to look for and knowing what to do, you don’t have to live with the stains, bad smells, and health risks of roach poop even one more day, so long as you take action.


Questions & Answers

How to Clean Roach Poop Off Circuit Boards?

Circuit boards are delicate. They need to be protected from water and kept away from cleaning agents. They also need to be protected from static electricity when exposed.

Take the same precautions you normally would when removing or exposing the board (such as wearing an anti-static wrist band). Then gently vacuum up loose roach droppings. Dip a small, soft nylon brush in isopropyl alcohol, remove excess alcohol, then carefully rub the cockroach poop that remains.

How to Clean Roach Poop Off Books?

Because books are handled regularly, you might first consider whether those contaminated with cockroach feces should be simply thrown away. Otherwise, this site offers a good place to start on cleaning them.

Are Roaches Attracted to Dog Poop? Do Cockroaches Eat Cat Poop?

Cockroaches aren’t especially attracted to dog or cat poop, but will eat it when they find it. If you’re trying to eliminate roaches and are removing potential food sources, you should plan to remove any dog and cat poop, too.