It is often easier to spot signs of a cockroach problem than the actual insect pest. Cockroaches are mostly nocturnal, during the day they prefer to stay hidden in cracks and crevices, coming out to feed mostly at night time.
Cockroaches are attracted to all types of food available in your home. They will eat anything from foods, paper, packaging, plastics and fabrics to animal matter (i.e. hamster and rabbit droppings). If you suspect a problem in your home or business there are some simple ways to tell if have cockroaches.
Cockroach Infestation Signs
Some common signs that can help you to identify a possible cockroach infestation.
- Unusual smell – An established cockroach infestation produces a lingering and unpleasant odor that taints items they contact.
- Cockroach droppings – If little water is available cockroaches will produce brown/black cylindrical droppings, approx. 2mm long.
- Smear marks – If water is abundant cockroaches will produce brown and irregular shaped smear marks. Check for marks on horizontal surfaces and at wall-floor junctions where cockroaches scuttle along.
- Shed skins – Cockroaches shed ‘cast nymphal’ skins 5-8 times as they mature to adults. These shed skins are usually found close to where the cockroaches are sheltering.
Where to check for a Cockroach Infestation
Identifying the location of a cockroach infestation can depend greatly on the species of cockroach that has invaded your property. Some prefer warm and humid areas, whilst other species can tolerate cooler conditions.
- Bathrooms – right at the back of bathroom cabinets (especially if they are full of soaps and toiletry products that have been stored for a while) or medicine cabinets. Check plumbing behind sinks, baths and toilets, anywhere they can hide in sheltered dark spaces with access to water even if it’s simply condensation.
- Kitchens – look in cupboards and cabinets, pay particular attention to hidden areas with pipework such as under sinks and behind dishwashers. Sometimes cockroaches can be found in the upper inside corner of cupboards, hanging upside down out of sight. Nooks and crannies of appliances with motors, offering warmth and hidden crevices like backs of cookers, fridges and freezers are another area to check carefully.
- Laundry rooms – cupboards under sinks, where plumbing enters through walls or floors leading to washing machines and tumble dryers. Also check warm areas near the motors at the back of washers and dryers.
- Basements – search along the base and corner joints of walls in cellars for any gaps cockroaches could squeeze through. Cracks in wood baseboards or floor cavities are opportune areas for them to hide.
- Drains – as some species like Oriental cockroaches can survive in drier, cooler areas. Look around down pipes for cracks and crevices they might hide in, as well as damaged drain covers they could scuttle through. Other areas to check are pipe ducts and any opening beneath porches or decking.
Common Cockroach Pests
Cockroaches are widespread because they an thrive on very little. Only a few species affect our properties and are considered as pests, and although they all seek water, food and shelter their preferences can vary. Common Cockroach species often found in Canada are:
- Oriental cockroaches– can cope with cooler, damp conditions and are more common scuttling about in basements or drains. If conditions are tolerable they can survive outside. They are not as agile as German cockroaches, but can climb a surface such as rough brickwork.
- German cockroaches – need warmth and humidity to survive, so are likely to be found in and around bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchen areas. They are also good climbers, scaling smooth surfaces like glass and polished metal with ease; due to sticky pads on their feet.
- Brown banded cockroaches – also need warmth and humidity but are quite adaptable, often harbouring in a building some distance from obvious sources of food and water. They can easily run and may if conditions are warm enough fly.