Cockroaches will suddenly appear in your home from what seems like nowhere, but these sneaky creatures may have been present in your house for longer than you think. They have an extremely skilled ability to find and enter the most difficult of hiding places in your home.
Roaches breed rapidly and spread quickly if you don’t know where to look. Some areas of the home are more prone to becoming cockroach hiding places if the environment is right. It is important to know where to look so you can keep on top of a potential cockroach infestation.
Cockroaches can be found hiding in almost any room in your home if there are ideal living conditions. The most popular hiding places are in kitchens (inside cupboards, behind fridges, dishwashers, and microwaves) and bedrooms (inside walls, lighting fixtures, and baseboards. They can sometimes be found hiding in your bedroom and bathroom if there’s food and water available.
Cockroaches seek refuge in dark, quiet, and warm places. If food and water are available in these locations, they will stay there and make it their permanent home.
Let’s look at some of the most common cockroach hiding places in your home and how to deal with this issue.
What Attracts Cockroaches?
Firstly, it’s useful to know what attracted the cockroaches in the first place, because some parts of your home may be acting as a lure for these pests if the conditions are right.
You can reduce the likelihood of cockroaches by making these areas inhospitable to them and making welcoming areas less attractive.
Cockroaches will be attracted to:
Food and water: If there’s food, cockroaches will be around. These pests are scavengers and eat almost anything. They aren’t too fussy with what they eat either – whether it’s your leftovers or pet food; they’ll gobble it up if they can find it. Although they can live without food for up to a month, they will be constantly on the search for it. Water, in even the smallest few drops, can provide cockroaches with hydration for days.
Moisture: Having moisture near their nests helps cockroaches to live comfortably and reproduce. As well as needing water to drink, cockroaches use water to clean themselves and their eggs. Humid and moist areas are perfect components for a cockroach nest.
Warmth: Cockroaches like warmth. They thrive in any environment with temperatures between 75°F and 85°F. If the temperature drops too low they will seek out places to hide and hibernate until their ideal temperatures return.
Dark sheltered areas: Cockroaches like it dark and damp because they are nocturnal creatures. They’ll seek refuge away from the light during the day, in sheltered areas that give them a sense of safety away from predators. They will be more active during the night when there is less threat.
Specifically, imagine these aspects in your home and how attractive they are for a roach:
- Crumbs on floors or counters – the smallest crumb can be the ideal meal for a cockroach, an abundance of spillages of food is one of the main reasons for cockroaches to infest a home.
- Dirty dishes in your sink – food still left on plates in a moist environment with water included – the perfect place for a cockroach to thrive.
- Garbage bags left out – a garbage bag is which is left outside for some time exposed is prone to attack from many different pests, and some cockroaches can even chew through the plastic to gain entry. Inside will be food heaven for these opportunistic pests.
- Pet food spilled on the floor – cat or dog food is the perfect snack for a cockroach as it contains high levels of protein, if your pets are spilling a lot of food outside their bowl this may be a big lure for cockroaches.
The German cockroach and the American cockroach are among the most prevalent in homes. These are the species you’ll most frequently encounter.
Do Cockroaches Only Live in Dirty Homes?
It is a common myth that cockroaches are only attracted to dirty environments. Even the cleanest of homes can still attract cockroaches. It is true, though, that clutter, dirt, and properties in a poor state of repair provide more access points, hiding places, and food sources for roaches. Cleaning your home diligently is an essential step in the prevention of cockroach infestations.
Cockroaches can be attracted to any indoor environment for the shelter, warmth, moisture, and food sources it offers.
How Roaches Enter Your Home
The most common way for roaches can enter your home is through the smallest cracks and gaps in walls – even door frames, skirting boards, and windows. Gaps or cracks in sealant or brickwork on the outside of your home make easy entrance points for roaches.
Some cockroaches can even get into your home by hitchhiking on boxes or bags that you bring inside.
Basements are a common entry point for cockroaches because they provide access to the main living quarters of your home. If there is a crack or gap that’s too small for you to see but large enough for a cockroach, it will easily gain entry into your home’s ductwork or walls.
Where Do Cockroaches Hide in Kitchens?
Always start with your kitchen if you want to try and find hidden cockroaches. This is a roach haven with plenty of water sources, food and leftovers in abundance, and many nooks and crannies to hide:
Inside cupboards, cabinets, and drawers
Cupboards, cabinets, and drawers provide an ideal hiding place for cockroaches. When searching in these places, you will most likely find them hanging around in the upper inside corners.
They are particularly drawn to kitchen cupboards and draws because this is where they are likely to find food. To prevent contamination in food, make sure you seal both human and pet food securely in plastic containers. You should immediately discard any food products that have been contaminated by roaches.
Cockroaches can reside in and around pipes in your kitchen. They are drawn to warmth and moisture, so pipes make an ideal hiding place. Check areas where pipes come into the home, such as through floors, walls, and behind cabinets (e.g., washer-dryer connections). Check under your sink where it will be dark and damp with access to pipes.
Insulating and taping gaps between pipes and walls, and the back of cabinets, can help keep these areas dry and make them less attractive to roaches.
In and Under appliances: Appliances, including refrigerators, microwaves, stoves, washing machines, and even small appliances, provide nooks and crannies that are ideal places for cockroaches to hide and forage for food. They are typically found inside or underneath these kitchen appliances as they are drawn to the warmth they generate.
Water heaters are particularly attractive for cockroaches because they tick all the boxes, providing warmth, shelter, and moisture.
Removing small appliances to clean on, under, and around them regularly can help to deter cockroaches. Blenders, coffee makers, microwaves, and toasters can provide a source of warmth, food, and moisture that is appealing to roaches.
Dishwashers can be particularly attractive to cockroaches. Liquids and food residue can form around dishwasher pipes to create a moist, dark, and hidden environment that’s ideal for roaches to hide.
Dishes frequently left in a washer with leftover food mixed with a moist protected area are perfect for a cockroach to make a temporary home.
Where Do Cockroaches Hide in Bathrooms?
A bathroom has all the characteristics of a good hiding place for a cockroach: quiet, dark, humid, plenty of water sources, food (cockroaches can feast on decaying matter such as hair and skin flakes), and also has an abundance of hiding spots.
As with kitchens, roaches will be drawn towards warm and moist areas. In bathrooms, this can include:
Sinks, Bathtubs, and Toilets: Cockroaches cannot breathe underwater or swim, but they can hold their breath for long periods underwater and float. Therefore, drains and toilets are not an obstacle for roaches. They can make their way through pipes, drains, and faucets and have been known to hide in toilets. Due to their ability to survive underwater, flushing them away will not solve the problem. Sealing pipes and covering drains can help to prevent cockroaches from entering your home this way.
Sinks, toilets, and tubs in bathrooms are attractive spots for roaches since there is a water supply. They can also find food sources in these environments in toilet paper, soap residue, dead skin, and hair. Regular cleaning will help to eliminate some of these food sources.
Bathroom Cabinets: Cupboards in your bathroom contain a variety of items that are attractive to cockroaches such as soap, toilet paper, and toothpaste. They can also hide behind cupboards which will be difficult for humans to access.
Concealed pipes are another common hiding spot. Roaches that penetrate through pipes may quickly transform the cabinets into their home. These locations don’t contain anything, so will rarely be inspected by humans and provide a safe space for roaches.
Inside Pipes & Drains: Roaches are drawn to the moisture inside pipes. Be sure to inspect around them for any gaps or cracks where they can enter.
Insulating and taping cracks between pipes and walls, and the back of cabinets, can keep these areas dry and make them less appealing to roaches.
Roaches can arrive through sewage drains. They may crawl up the metal and gain access to your home, so be sure to inspect your shower, bath, and sink drains.
Bathroom Tiles and Baseboards: Roaches may squeeze themselves into the open area if your bathroom tiles and the caulking around them are cracked. They can also hide behind baseboards and underneath carpets.
Cleaning grout lines, tiles, and cracks in caulking will help to eliminate cockroach hiding spaces.
Where Do Cockroaches Hide in Living Rooms?
Cockroaches can settle in living rooms and other areas of the home which are open, dark, and uncluttered. These places give them an opportunity to hide and remain out of sight for most humans. They may frequent the following places:
Inside Furniture: Furniture can provide a home for cockroaches to reside and lay their eggs inside. If you think you may have a cockroach infestation, check inside furniture like sofas, chairs, and cabinets. When buying second-hand furniture, make sure you check it thoroughly for roaches or eggs before allowing it into your home.
Check the following areas for roaches, egg casings, droppings, or chewed wood:
Wall Pictures And Mirrors: Roaches can crawl behind the frame of pictures and mirrors, so check for any gaps or cracks. Taking pictures and mirrors off the wall will allow you to check behind them more closely.
Walls & Wallpaper: Roaches are excellent climbers and can easily scale surfaces, including walls. They like to hide in the cracks between tiles, behind door frames, and behind light fixtures. Cockroaches love to crawl into any gaps you see in your wallpaper.
Electrical Covers & Vents: Cockroaches are drawn to the warmth of electrical outlets. They will also hide in other vents, including air conditioning access points.
Where Do Cockroaches Hide in Bedrooms?
It’s alarming to think of roaches scurrying around the room or crawling on you while you sleep. These pests can induce allergies, asthma, and spread germs on surfaces they come into contact with.
Where do cockroaches hide in bedrooms? Roaches can hide in many of the same areas they target in other rooms of the house, as well as some new hiding spaces that they might find more attractive.
Closets, Dressers, and Drawers: Roaches are drawn to the dark, concealed spots in your bedroom. Closets provide ideal hiding spaces because they are often shut by a door. Dressers and drawers also offer cockroaches the opportunity to remain out of sight for most humans. Check these areas frequently throughout your home inspection, especially under or behind them where you may not easily see them.
Carpets & Rugs: The carpet in a bedroom is a prime place for roaches to crawl. They can hide between the fibers and underneath or behind furniture near it. A cockroach infestation might also leave droppings, egg casings, carcasses, or tracks on your carpet so keep an eye out for any signs of infestation.
Do cockroaches hide in clothes?
While clothes are not the most common place you will find cockroaches, some clothing materials are edible for them, so it’s not unheard of. Keeping piles of clothes around can provide a hiding place and somewhere to lay eggs. Some of the furniture you store clothing in will be attractive to cockroaches, as discussed in the furniture section. If you have a large number of garments as part of a broader clutter problem, consider clearing it out to provide fewer hiding spots.
If you are worried about this issue then mothballs are a good option for deterring roaches. These are traditionally used to repel moths but also have the same effect on cockroaches.
Do cockroaches hide in beds?
Cockroaches can hide in beds but it is a rare occurrence. Just like sofas and other furniture, beds provide shelter for hiding and laying eggs. They may hide in your mattress if there is no access to other preferred hiding spaces, and if there is easy access such as rips and tears to gain entry.
A cockroach in the bedroom may be an indicator of a more extensive infestation elsewhere in the home. To keep cockroaches away from your bedroom, regularly clean and declutter. Look for any entry points and seal them.
Where Else Do Cockroaches Hide?
Amongst stacks of paper and empty boxes
Cockroaches can eat cardboard and paper, so keeping piles of these around the home may be an attraction for these pests. As well as providing a food source, stacks of paper and empty boxes are ideal places for roaches to lay their eggs and hide. Keep documents and magazines in tightly sealed containers or cabinets to avoid this. Try to minimize the amount of cardboard and paper you have around your home.
Attics and basements
Attics and basements often provide easy access for cockroaches, and they are likely to reside here, especially if these areas of the home are not used regularly. Disused basements and attics are often last on the list for maintenance, leading to cracks, crevices, and potential food sources being left – much to the advantage of roaches.
Where basements and attics are used for storage, there can be many different places for cockroaches to live, hide and lay their eggs, and find food. Stacks of boxes, paper, and clothes, as well as old furniture, are alluring for roaches. Taking the time to clear and declutter these areas will help in controlling and preventing these pests.
Roving roaches are frequently discovered in electronics, including computers, televisions, and gaming consoles. They prefer the warmth and darkness that can be found inside electronic devices.
They will often lay their eggs here, and can also find food through the material in some devices. Check cords and cables for signs of roach activity and remove any items that you don’t use regularly to prevent roaches from living in them.
Can cockroaches hide in walls?
Some species of cockroaches can climb walls, so gaining entry to cracks in walls higher up is pretty easy for them. This can provide an entry point as well as a hiding place. Cockroaches can gain entry through walls that have cracks, crevices, conduits, and along baseboards. Heavy infestations can sometimes be found inside hollow walls.
Fill in cracks and crevices to help prevent cockroaches from gaining entry to your home and provide one less hiding place.
Do Cockroaches Live In Ceilings?
Ceilings provide a good opportunity for roaches to retreat from any disturbances that they might encounter. They can also find food or water through condensation on the ceilings and often gain entry in attics and basements.
Roach droppings on your ceiling are an indication of a very heavy infestation in the attic or basement where the droppings are falling.
Many roaches, including the Brown Banded cockroach, prefer to hang out on ceilings, especially in gloomy areas. They won’t hide when it’s dark, but if you turn on the lights, they’ll hurry into the molding or cracks behind the trim.
They may use cracks around light fittings and fans to retreat to areas in your ceiling floorboards.
Signs Of Cockroaches Hiding In Your Home
Seeing roaches in or around your home is a pretty good indication that you could have an infestation, but it’s not the only one. Other signs include droppings, egg sacks, dark fecal stains, and odors.
Roach Poop And Smear Marks
Cockroaches leave droppings behind wherever they go, and these are a pretty good sign that there’s an infestation. There are other insects that can leave droppings around your home, like mice, but cockroach feces is usually dark brown or black in color.
They also smear their droppings (and other debris) around, leaving it on surfaces they walk across. These smears are sometimes mistaken for rust stains by people who don’t know the difference.
Egg Sacks (oothecae)
Female cockroaches can carry around their egg capsules until they think they have a safe place to drop them off. Once all of the eggs are laid, the mother will drop them in a safe hiding place. These capsules are pretty strong and waterproof, so they can survive on their own for a number of days.
In order to have healthy babies that grow into adults, roaches need three things: heat, humidity, and food. They’ll happily set up a nursery for themselves in your home if you provide them with these essentials.
If you find oothecae inside your home, remove them immediately. They look like small brown or black seed pods and can be mistaken for berries dropped by birds (though they don’t smell like fruit).
Roaches release odors for many reasons, such as when they’re frightened. Their droppings and skins also have a distinct odor that can be very noticeable in heavy infestations. These smells can carry through your home and penetrate other areas like your furniture, clothes, and rugs.
Roaches release pheromones from their secretion glands. It’s a chemical substance that insects discharge from the glands to communicate or attract a mate. When these pheromones mix with the dampness and filth, they have an oily, musty odor.
When the roach infestation is big, that musty smell is typical. You won’t notice it if the infestation level is low. If you have an excessive number of roaches in one room of your house, you’ll detect a pungent musty odor.
Getting Rid of Cockroach Hiding Places
Continually cleaning and preventative pest control will keep roaches from making your home their own.
Remove sources of water/moisture: Fix leaky pipes and faucets, use a dehumidifier to remove moisture from basements and other rooms, seal off any crawl spaces where you might have excess water.
Do not leave food scraps or crumbs in your house: Clean up counters after cooking, and don’t leave dirty dishes overnight. Keep food in airtight containers. Always put the trash away as soon as possible after throwing food away.
Inspect your house regularly for cracks and crevices: Check all around doors and windows, inside cabinets, and under sinks for any cracks you could fit a quarter in. Fill them with some silicone caulk or steel wool if needed.
Try some home remedies: There are a number of home remedies that you could try before trying commercial products. Cockroaches hate essential oils such as tea tree oil and scents such as bay leaves, peppermint, and coffee. A very easy and readily available solution is Listerine mouthwash.
Applying pesticides: Roaches bring back pesticides on their bodies and legs to their hiding place. If you find a hiding space or know of one in your home, applying a pesticide could mean the roaches contaminate their nest and don’t return.
How To Get Rid of Cockroaches
Firstly, you need to lure out the cockroaches before killing them. To do this, once you have found find out where they are hiding, spray or spread any of the following substances around these areas:
Cockroach Baits: Cockroach baits can be bought from supermarkets, hardware stores, and online pest stores.
Boric acid powder: Sprinkle boric acid powder in dark corners or cracks where cockroaches have been seen. This powder is not harmful to humans or pets, but it can cause dehydration and eventually kill a cockroach.
Cockroach traps: If you find that the above methods of luring out the roaches aren’t working, try using a cockroach trap. These come with different baits including pheromones, food and nesting material. Place the traps in strategic locations like behind kitchen appliances, inside cupboards or underneath furniture.
Use insecticides: Insecticides can be sprayed around any heavy infestations to kill active roaches quickly. However, make sure you do not spray insecticide where there is a lot of food because residues may remain on the food surface.
Do not use insecticide dust or spray near food, cooking utensils, dishes, kitchen surfaces, or food preparation areas.
Be mindful that killing cockroaches could attract more of them, so having access to remove their dead carcasses is important, if a hiding place is inaccessible you may be creating a cockroach graveyard that attracts even more live ones. It’s also useful to know that cockroaches can play dead if they are cornered and can’t see a route of escape, so if you come across what looks like a dead roach be sure to check first.
Outdoor Hiding Spots For Cockroaches
While cockroaches may be found hiding more often in indoor environments, some species – including the American and Oriental cockroaches – can thrive outside. Outdoor environments provide several appealing food sources, with organic materials that some roaches prefer to eat.
Garbage cans and dumpsters
Garbage cans and dumpsters provide a feast for cockroaches, with plenty of discarded food. The smell of garbage is highly attractive to cockroaches. To reduce the chance of roaches being attracted to your waste, avoid leaving trash bags lying around inside or out. Ensure you have adequate cover for your garbage to stop them from getting in—also, clean garbage cans and areas where waste is stored regularly to reduce the smell. Rinse food containers before discarding them.
Garages and sheds
Sometimes outdoor cockroaches wander into garages and sheds, so one sighting may not indicate an infestation. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and take action to ensure these spaces don’t attract them.
Sheds and garages can provide the warmth, shelter, food, and moisture that roaches need for survival. Cluttered sheds and garages can be very alluring to roaches, giving plenty of places to hide and lay eggs as well as possible food sources, such as paper and cardboard.
Storing food or garbage in sheds and garages is a sure way to attract roaches. Dripping hoses and water heaters can provide the moisture they need. Keep these areas dry and free of clutter and potential food sources to deter them. Repair and fill any cracks and crevices to help prevent them from gaining entry.
Some gardens provide the ideal habitat for outdoor cockroaches. They are commonly found in mulch, leaf piles, compost, in and around woodpiles, and under layers of decaying wood. Organic materials provide nesting spaces and can also be a food source for roaches. Rocks and landscaping timbers used around the borders of gardens can also provide nesting space for roaches.
Cockroaches in your garden can easily wander into your home, so it’s vital to deal with an infestation quickly. Make your garden less appealing by replacing old mulch with new and removing any fallen logs and leaves. Remove any potential food sources and regularly check for nests.
Do cockroaches hide in drains?
Drains and sewers provide an attractive place for cockroaches to hide and lurk. Cockroaches are drawn to these places because they are dark and moist. While cockroaches cannot swim, they can hold their breath for long periods and float, ensuring their survival underwater.
Routine cleaning of sewerage, and replacement where needed, will help to deter cockroaches. Try to minimize food going down the drains by using a stopper. Pour an appropriate sink and drain cleaner down your plugholes to remove food sources that may attract cockroaches. Cover sinkholes – especially at night – to prevent cockroaches from entering your home this way.