If you’ve come across cockroaches, either in your home or in another environment, you might be wondering “do cockroaches make noise?” Can you hear these little pests scuttling around your home, or are they a totally silent kind of pest? How do you know if you’ve got them in your home?
The answer to this question isn’t clear cut, because it depends on the species. Most cockroaches aren’t known for vocalizing, although you may hear the larger species scuttle or even fly. However, some cockroaches can chirp or possibly hiss. On the whole, you won’t know an infestation is there because of the noise they make, but you may sometimes hear them.
What Kind Of Noises Do Cockroaches Make?
Although cockroaches are very quiet on the whole, there are a few different sorts of noises you might hear if you have a cockroach infestation. Bear in mind that even a large cockroach infestation will rarely be very noisy, so don’t depend too much on the sound to detect them. We’ll talk about the other signs they leave later.
What Physical Sounds Do Cockroaches Make?
Cockroaches generally don’t vocalize much, but some species can do so. On the whole, if you hear a cockroach, it will be because you hear them scuttling or flying. This is particularly true of the bigger species, which can be surprisingly loud as they move around.
Anything running will make a noise, and as cockroaches are extremely fast insects, you may hear them scuttling around in your kitchen or bathroom when you have gone to bed. Remember that they are nocturnal, so you will probably only hear them at night, not during the day.
The idea of being able to hear cockroaches in your home while you’re trying to sleep might frighten you, but at least you’ll know that they are there so you can take action!
However, if you hear a lot of scuttling or loud noises, you are probably dealing with other pests, rather than cockroaches. Even the big varieties do not tend to be that noisy, so consider whether you may have mice or rats instead.
If cockroaches choose particularly crunchy foods, such as crisps or paper or plastic, you may also hear them chewing. This is more likely with the larger species, and you will have to listen quite hard to hear it, but it is possible.
What Vocalizations Do Cockroaches Make?
As well as scuttling, some cockroaches may chirp or hiss. They don’t tend to do this very often, but their chirp can be very loud. If you have a big colony of cockroaches, you might notice a lot more noise, as they tend to chirp at each other.
You may also hear a hiss occasionally, but this will generally only occur if you are dealing with a Madagascan hissing cockroach. As the name suggests, these cockroaches are not native to the USA, and aren’t usually found there, so you probably won’t ever encounter them.
The hissing noise is made by the cockroach exhaling sharply through breathing holes in its abdomen. Only this kind of cockroach hisses in normal circumstances.
The hiss is used by males of the species to determine how big they are in comparison to other males. Usually, two males will approach each other and then hiss to compare their sizes. The smaller male may still initiate a fight if it thinks it has a chance of winning, but sometimes this hissing will be sufficient to prevent physical conflict.
You may also find that a Madagascan hissing cockroach hisses at you if you approach or try to handle it, usually in an attempt to frighten you away. If you make the cockroach feel threatened, it will hiss at you.
So, the answer to do cockroaches make noise is yes, they do make some noise, both by movement and through vocalization.
Why Do Cockroaches Vocalize?
So, what do cockroaches have to say? There are a few different things that may cause a cockroach to vocalize.
For starters, many cockroaches chirp when they are courting or mating. This noise is called stridulation, and the male produces the sound by rubbing its pronotum (the top part of the first section of the insect’s body) up against its costal veins.
This noise is more likely to be heard when you have a lot of cockroaches, because it relates to courtship and mating. Lone cockroaches won’t produce it. If you are worried about a cockroach infestation, this is a sign to be even more concerned because it might be about to get worse.
Cockroaches may also chirp loudly when they are feeling threatened, often when one male interacts with another male (although not always). Again, this is likely if you are dealing with a large number of cockroaches, because they will be more cramped and more likely to be in competition for food.
A cockroach might chirp at you if it feels threatened, but it’s much more likely to run away and try to hide. These creatures are not aggressive or confrontational, and will simply hide from you if they can. You’re not likely to have one chirp at you.
When Am I Likely To Hear Noises?
You are probably going to hear cockroaches at night, often when you are in bed. There are two reasons for this.
Firstly, cockroaches are at their most active at night. They do not do much during the day, and therefore they are unlikely to be either quarreling or mating in the walls of your home. Their chirping and their scuttling sounds should both be reduced, because they won’t be doing anything much.
The second reason is that your home is probably quieter at night, so you are much more likely to be able to hear them. Without the background noise of conversations, electronics, movement, and other general household noise, their chirps or scuttling noises will be much plainer to your ears.
If you are worried about a cockroach infestation, it is best to listen for them at night. You may not be able to hear them, but if you’re going to, this is when you have your greatest chance.
Will I Always Hear A Cockroach Infestation?
No, you won’t. If you have keen hearing and the cockroaches are loud, you are likely to hear them, but even a large infestation may make very little sound that is audible to humans. If the colony is in a wall or insulated space, it is even less likely that you’ll hear them. This is true both during the day and at night when it is quiet.
Don’t depend on hearing a cockroach infestation. You will also rarely see them, unless you happen to turn a light on at night. You are most likely to notice cockroaches through the smell, or through a few visual signs.
An unusual smell is frequently associated with cockroach infestations. It is often quite an unpleasant odor and may be particularly noticeable in the area where the colony tends to be most active.
You may also see cockroach droppings, which are usually about 2 mm long brown or black dots. If there is a lot of water available, the cockroach may produce smears on the walls.
It is possible that the cockroaches will also shed skins that you may find from time to time. However, these will often only be found in or very close to the cockroaches’ home.
This does make it easier to locate their hideaway, but means you are unlikely to notice an infestation very quickly.
How Else Do Cockroaches Communicate With Each Other?
You might be wondering how cockroaches send messages to each other given that they only chirp on occasion. These insects can send messages by smell, and they usually release pheromones to convey information to each other.
These pheromones can transmit warnings about danger, invitations to mate, and information about shelter and nearby food sources, so they are very varied.
Humans are not likely to be able to detect these pheromones, although you may notice an odor that warns you of their presence overall. It isn’t thought that cockroaches communicate through body language, as many other insects do.
Do Most Household Cockroaches Make A Noise?
You may find it comforting – or alarming – to hear that few of the household species make much noise. While a few do chirp, most are silent critters that you will only hear if your ears are keen enough to catch the noise of their feet or wings.
If you can hear persistent chirping in your home, you should check first that it isn’t being made by other pests. For example, crickets can chirp, but do not sound like cockroaches when they do. You may find it helps to listen to some of the noises of different insects online if you hear chirping, as it is quite likely to be another kind of pest.
The same goes for the buzzing noise made by their wings. Many cockroaches do buzz slightly as they fly (as any rapid wing movement is going to cause some noise) but it is very rarely loud enough for humans to hear.
If you hear a buzzing noise, therefore, it is more likely to be a wasp, a fly, or a bee than it is to be a cockroach.
Sound is therefore rarely a reason to believe you have cockroaches, and almost never a confirmation that you do. However, if you suspect that you do, you may want to check for the physical signs mentioned above, as well as listening for the potential noise of a colony.
What Should I Do If I Think I Can Hear Cockroaches?
If you think you can hear these insects, it is best to get up and quietly follow the source of the noise. Try not to turn on any lights or make too much noise yourself, as this may send the cockroaches scuttling back to their hiding place.
You may be able to use a torch or something to make sure you don’t fall over, but don’t turn on an overhead light. Listen carefully and when you think you have reached the source of the noise, crouch down and listen.
Cockroaches will usually be inside a wall or a cabinet, or beneath a fridge or other appliance. They need a slightly damp hiding spot, and like to be in darkness. Listen carefully and see if you can hear scuttling or soft chirping.
If you can, you may want to turn on the light and see if you can spot any cockroaches. If you can’t see any, look for signs such as droppings, skins, and smears around where you think they may be hiding. Sniff carefully and see if you can detect an unpleasant odor.
If you think you have found a cockroach infestation, be prompt about getting experts out to deal with it. You should also clean all your surfaces carefully and put away all your food.
Remember that cockroaches will eat paper, plastic, droppings from pets like hamsters, dust, and all sorts of other debris, not just food that humans enjoy. Put away everything that you can, clean thoroughly (both to deter cockroaches and to stop them from spreading germs), and then call in experts to deal with the problem.
It is not a good idea to ignore a cockroach infestation. Because they eat such a variety of food, you are unlikely to be able to get rid of them just by keeping the house clean, and unless you can access the colony yourself (e.g. by moving a fridge), you aren’t going to be able to get rid of them without assistance.
So, the answer to do cockroaches make noise is yes, they do make some noise. However, most common household species do not chirp and make very little physical noise as a result of running around, so you aren’t particularly likely to hear them.
If you’re listening at night and you hear faint sounds, you might find that following them leads you to a cockroach infestation, but it could equally be other pests invading your home. It’s always best to check it out, though!