Killing a cockroach can be one of the most detestable chores in life. But what if it also brings more bugs? As disgusting as it sounds, swattings and sprayings may draw an influx of more unwelcome houseguests.
When a cockroach dies, it releases oleic acid. This has an unpleasant odor and draws other cockroaches to the surrounding area.
The odor of dead cockroaches attracts cockroaches for a variety of reasons. Because the scent emitted when they pass away is distinctive and pungent, they can sense it from a distance.
Is a Dead Cockroach Sign of An Infestation?
If you find a dead cockroach is an indication that there are probably more of them hiding in dark corners in your home. They very rarely invade a space alone.
They may be found in locations where there is moisture or spaces in your house that aren’t regularly inspected. They reproduce fast, and if they detect a source of food to nibble on, they will quickly become a problem.
Once you find a dead cockroach it is best to do a thorough check of your home for possible nests or entry points. Do a check under kitchen counters, basements, behind cupboards, and anywhere with space small enough for a cockroach to crawl. Cockroaches have even been known to infest microwaves in your kitchen.
You may also smell a musty, pungent odor. This is a sign of possibly more dead cockroaches in the area.
Another indication of an infestation would be finding roach eggs on the floor or in hidden corners.
These eggs will be in a variety of places and can be hard to locate at times.
If you see egg casings, look out for small brown specs that may look like dirt or debris. You should also check all areas even if you find one, as they could have been laid anywhere in the area.
Any dark corner in the house, especially if it’s covered or not checked daily. Hideaways like behind appliances, underneath furniture, and near piles of debris or fabrics.
Behind kitchen cabinets and underneath sinks. Any place that can’t be easily accessed such as under the fridge, behind the fridge, inside the oven and any appliance with crevices.
Cockroaches can climb walls so check places that you may not usually check such as hidden corners of rooms and picture frames where there is too much clutter for regular cleaning. Dark areas of your home which you don’t often go to, such as under the bed.
Roach feces are another sign that you could have an infestation problem. When they pass stool they produce a dark blackish color which can be found in places other than your home too.
Finding roach feces that look like specks of coffee or tiny pellets. When you find these large amounts, these are a sure sign that there is a cockroach infestation in your home.
Are Dead Roaches A Bad Sign?
Just because a dead cockroach has been found doesn’t mean that you have an infestation.
If it’s the only one and is in isolated areas or places where roaches shouldn’t be present, then there may not be a problem.
However, if it’s in areas of your home where food is stored or prepared- such as under the sink, on a countertop or around your food storage cupboard- then there is definitely a problem.
If you live in an apartment or other shared building, it may be that this cockroach was from another unit and has wandered into yours, which means it’s not infested with roaches.
Why Does Killing A Cockroach Attract More Roaches?
The fat found in edible insects, such as cockroaches and other bugs, is oleic acid. Cockroaches and many other bugs detect the odor of oleic acid as a sign that food exists there.
Scientists have found that this ‘smell of death’ can trigger some pretty gruesome behavior in bugs. A study found that ants would eat other members of their colony if they were sprayed with oleic acid. This same behavior was present in cockroach species.
Another factor in dead cockroaches attracting more is the pheromones.
Research carried out by Purdue University found that when German cockroaches were killed, their odor molecules, or pheromones, diffused into the air and drew more of the unwelcome insects from farther away. Killing a cockroach also boosted the overall levels of a specific pheromone for one day.
“What we’re showing is that there are chemicals released by pests – alarm cues – that can trigger an action on the part of other individuals to come in and help out,” said Tom Turpin, a professor of entomology at Purdue University.
Turpin said that the findings might be helpful for pest control companies; if eliminating cockroaches increases their numbers, then it’s possible that teams should wait until pheromone levels drop back down before arriving to eliminate the pests.
Do Cockroaches Eat Dead Cockroaches?
Cockroaches are omnivores, so they can eat plants and meat. However, because cockroaches usually live in dirty places like sewers it’s thought that their primary food source is actually decaying matter.
If cockroaches outgrow their food source, they will eat anything that is accessible- a dead cockroach will be next on the menu.
It’s also known that they, in extreme circumstances will nymphs or baby roaches.
Can Cockroaches Play Dead?
Cockroaches have been known to play dead when they are cornered or think that the danger from a predator is high. This may be from a human or your pets such as a cat or dog that has trapped a roach in a place with no escape route.
Sometimes a cockroach will lay motionless on its back to fool a predator into thinking it’s dead. This way the cockroach will have the chance to get away when the predator goes for an easier target.
So, Should You Kill Cockroaches?
The simple answer is yes, but this should be done in a controlled and precise manner.
Roaches expose people to germs that may cause illnesses. Roach skin and egg exposure can also cause allergies in some individuals.
Killing cockroaches is only a short-term solution for a long-term problem. A cockroach infestation in your home isn’t going to go away with the simple act of killing one or two roaches. Swatting the odd cockroach that you find in your kitchen and not disposing of it efficiently will only lead to more problems.
If you kill one, another will come to take its place and will continue to do so until the infestation is under control.
What Kills Cockroaches Instantly?
Roach Baits & Insecticides
Roach bait is one of the best ways to get rid of roaches in your home. It should be fast-acting, so it kills the cockroach soon after eating the bait and will continue to kill any other roaches that find and eat the dead cockroach.
It is important to remember that roach bait is an insecticide and can be dangerous if used incorrectly. It should only be used in conjunction with the instructions provided on the packet.
Boric acid is a common ingredient of all-purpose cleaners and pesticides used to kill roaches. It’s a white powder that’s usually mixed with sugar or other granulated ingredients. When cockroaches come into contact with boric acid, it sticks to their legs and antennae from the powdery residue on their bodies. They ingest this as they clean themselves and die soon after.
If you want to use boric acid yourself, it should be kept away from children and pets as it is extremely hazardous if ingested or inhaled.
Call a Pest Control Professional
If you have a severe infestation of roaches, then the most effective way to get rid of them will be through hiring a pest control professional.
Professional exterminators can provide an accurate estimate of how many treatments are likely to be needed and where the infestation is taking place. They often use stronger insecticides than what is available to the public.
Their knowledge of pest control allows them to quickly determine where the cockroaches are living and breeding so they can target these areas.
How Long Does It Take For A Roach To Die?
A big factor in determining how long it takes for a roach to die is the type of poison used on it.
For example, boric acid is very effective in killing roaches while others like some insecticidal sprays may take days to show any results.
The time taken for a cockroach to die will also depend on the size of the cockroach and how much of the poison it has ingested.
It’s important to remember that just because you don’t see a roach in your home for a few days, it doesn’t mean that they have all been killed. It can take up to two weeks or even longer for them to die after eating the poison.
The situation is slightly different with baits as these work by luring cockroaches into eating them and dying elsewhere in your home. This means that a cockroach may die days or weeks after ingesting the bait.
How To Keep Roaches Away For Good
The best way to get rid of cockroaches is to make your home an inhospitable place for them.
- Find the source of their food and water. Keep all your storage areas clean and seal any cracks or holes where they could be coming in from outside. Cockroaches can’t survive without food so removing the source will cause them to look elsewhere.
- Keep your home clean as possible at all times, especially the bathroom and kitchen.
- Ensure there’s no water leakage in your home and yard. Water leakages increase dampness in your home.
- Make sure there’s no food waste lying around in your home.
- If you have pets, make sure that you are not leaving food or water open for these bugs to access.
- Keep your yard clean. Cockroaches can sneak into your home from any number of locations, including your garden or even your drains.
- Fill any gaps and cracks in your home’s walls, doors, and windows with a silicone-based sealer.
An additional and recommended prevention method for keeping roaches away is essential oils.
Peppermint oil is a highly regarded essential oil that has been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of ailments in humans. However, it also works effectively as an insect repellant and exterminator. As a result, if you’re a supporter of natural and organic ways of life who doesn’t want to use pesticides to get rid of a cockroach infestation.
As you now know, dead cockroaches will eventually attract more to the surrounding area due to the release of pheromones and oleic acid. It’s important not to kill a cockroach in your home and not thoroughly clean the area or this will lead to more problems down the line.