Can Roaches Travel From House to House?

Cockroaches can invade homes. They are some of the most persistent pests and they often make their way from one place to another without people even realizing their movements.

The problem with roaches and their movements is that they can easily make their way from one home to another. Even if you don’t have roaches in your house you might still see them around as they could be coming in from the neighbor’s home.

Cockroaches can move from one house to another. They often travel with baggage, furniture, or clothes. Roaches also travel through sewer lines, mainly due to food availability. Small gaps in walls also ensure roaches can infest another home without much effort.

Roaches enter homes seeking food, water, or shelter. It’s important to understand what draws in cockroaches in the first place before understanding why they would move homes later on.

  • Living in an area known for having roaches
  • Existing roach infestations in neighboring homes or apartments
  • Easy access to the house through wall cracks or by crawling under the door
  • High indoor humidity
  • Unrestricted access to food
  • Easy sewage and garbage access

A change of these circumstances, a pest control action at the neighbor’s home, or simply expanding cockroach populations are all factors that drive roaches to new homes.

Can roaches travel from house to house?

5 Reasons why roaches travel from house to house

Roaches are nocturnal and social insects. They can travel from one house to another in groups during the night. They can also move homes during the day if disturbed. Here are the most common reasons why roaches can move from house to house or from apartment to apartment.

1.       When food and shelter needs aren’t met anymore

Food and water are essential for cockroaches to survive. As cold-blooded creatures, roaches can survive a long time without food but they will eventually move out or move homes seeking food and water.

Roaches can survive up to 30 days without food. They can’t survive as long without water. These insects will move to another home if water-deprived for more than 7 days.

2.       Roaches travel with people when moving homes

Moving homes is a busy time but also a time when roaches can move houses with goods and people. It’s not uncommon for roaches to hide in the following goods when moving.

  • Furniture
  • Rugs
  • Toolboxes
  • Yard tools
  • Mattresses
  • Electronics

Roaches can live in furniture. While furniture may appear clean it may be home to roach eggs in white or yellow egg cases. Furniture needs to be cleaned thoroughly when moved from a roach-infested home to a new home.

The warmth of large appliances attracts roaches. This means roaches and roach eggs can move with appliances from one home to another.

Moving home office supplies is also problematic with roaches. Many roaches hide in cardboard boxes and even eat them. Many roaches move homes with cardboard boxes, typically used for books, printing paper, and other office supplies.

3.       Clothes house roaches and roach eggs

Roaches tend to hide in clothes. They are present in wardrobes, drawers, and laundry baskets. As a result, it’s easy for roaches to move homes when they hide in clothes. All clothes should be washed, dried, and stored in clean boxes or containers when moving homes.

4.       From neighbors using pest control techniques

There are many reasons why roaches could move homes but pest control in the neighbor’s house is one of the main causes.

Roaches tend to act impulsively whenever an exterminator is acting against them. They can move to the nearest home in their quest to escape.

Most importantly, an exterminator that cleans the neighbor’s house also removes all foods roaches feed on driving them to seek new food sources nearby.

5.       Guests can bring in roaches

Guest coming over from houses with roach infestations might be carried roaches or roach eggs in personal belongings. While nobody likes to confront guests, it’s best to tell them to leave certain personal belongings that are high risk in the car. These personal belongings can be any of the following.

  • Boxes
  • Coats
  • Luggage

Personal belonging brought by guests should always be inspected for signs of roaches. These are normal signs associated with roaches around the house.

german cockroach

Signs roaches traveled from one home to your home

There are multiple indications used to signal the presence of roaches in a house. Even new clean homes can have roaches inside. Here are the obvious signs you need to take the problem seriously.


Roach droppings are either shaped as coffee ground (young roaches) or cylindrical (with adult roaches). The amount of droppings around the house indicates an infestation or the simple presence of a few roaches.


Odors are common among multiple species of roaches. These small insects often emit pheromones to attract mates. A heavy musty odor is normal in homes where roaches live.


It’s best to inspect hidden locations around the house, as well as any type of objects guests, live in the house for signs of roach eggs. These are laid in an ootheca, the egg case of roaches.

Do roaches move homes alone or in groups?

Roaches are nocturnal. These insects prefer to live and seek food in dark areas of the house or at night.

While some roaches can move homes by themselves, most cockroaches move in groups. This has a defensive role as roaches have higher survival chances when facing a predator as a group rather than individually.

Species such as the German cockroach lay up to 48 eggs at a time. This means roaches are rapidly expanding and live their lives as a group. They are social insects.

  • Allergies
  • Egg sacks
  • A bad smell
  • Roach droppings
  • Roach wings

How to stop roaches from nearby homes from coming into your home

Clean the area around your home – areas around the house such as the lawn need to be cleaned regularly. Trash cans need to be free from odor-emitting foods.

Clean your home – food and high humidity attracts roaches indoors

Seal all entry points – cracks in walls and cracks around door frames and window frames are small crawl spaces for roaches

Seal all food – food that isn’t stored in the fridge or containers attracts roaches and other insects.

Do all roaches move homes the same way?

While roaches that you find in your home can be similar, they might seek out different areas of the house depending on if they like heat or moisture whenever moving homes.

German cockroach

The most common roach in US homes. The species prefers high humidity and it will likely live in one house for another house to seek out moisture in the kitchen or the bathroom whenever it can’t find food.

Brown-banded roach

Found on walls and upper floors, the Brown-banded roach isn’t necessarily interested in high humidity to the extent the German cockroach is.

Brownbanded Cockroach

American cockroach

The largest roach in North America is the American cockroach. This is the species most likely to move homes using sewer pipes. They will exit the sewer to seek food in the new home.

My neighbor has roaches indoors – should I worry?

It’s always time to act when you learn neighbors have roaches inside the house. This mainly entails taking preventive measures

Houses – roach traps, sealing cracks, and adding a few roach-deterring plants such as catnip helps

Apartments – roaches are just as likely to move on the same floor as well as to other floors in apartment buildings where preventive measures similar to those in houses

Can Cockroaches Travel In Baggage?

Cockroaches can also make their way to a house from public buildings such as stores, offices, and hotels.

Most roaches can make their way into luggage and are easily transported inside the house. It’s always best to check the luggage before packing to go home whenever returning from hotels.

How long do roaches survive in a house?

Roaches can survive up to a year inside a house. Sheltered from bad weather and given access to food, roaches can live more indoors than outdoors.

German cockroaches and other house roaches can live for at least 100 days. At this time, they can decide to move homes to seek food or whenever disturbed by pesticides.

Should I worry if I see only one roach in my house?

Some female roaches don’t need males to reproduce. Even a single roach can lay tens of eggs at a time posing an infestation threat to a home.

However, it’s likelier to have more roaches inside the house even when you only see one of them as they tend to travel in groups.


Successful roach multiplication in a home means large roach populations need to seek out new living spaces and new food sources.

Roaches always take advantage of poorly-sealed door frames, window frames, and further exploit wall cracks to get moving and find food nearby.

Even if there’s a roach infestation nearby, a home properly sealed (with materials such as caulk) is going to be better prepared to deter cockroaches than other homes. Holes, cracks, gaps, and sewage pipes are all quick routes roaches take when moving from one home to another.

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