Where Do Cockroaches Live?

Cockroaches can live both indoors and outdoors. Most species are more likely to be found inside, but some cockroach species prefer to be outdoors. Knowing where to look for cockroaches and what attracts them to specific environments can help you prevent and control an infestation.

In this post, we will cover the most common places that cockroaches live in, both inside and outside. We will also provide some tips along the way for keeping each of these areas cockroach free. 

Indoor Areas

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. 

Inside pipes

Cockroaches can reside in and around pipes. 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). 

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, stoves, washing machines, and even small appliances, provide nooks and crannies that are an ideal place for cockroaches to hide and forage for food. They are typically found inside or underneath these 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. 

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:

  • Tables
  • Sofas
  • Cushions
  • Dressers
  • Cabinets
  • Chairs
  • Beds
  • Cushions
  • Carpets
  • Rugs

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 an ideal place 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. 

Do cockroaches live on ceilings?

Cockroaches can’t scurry nearly as quickly on ceilings, so these are not their preferred hiding place, but you can find them here. They are more likely to roam or hang around on ceilings when it is dark, as they can drop to the floor and quickly scurry away when necessary. 

In daylight or lit rooms, cockroaches are more likely to be found in darker, quieter hideouts. If you do find cockroaches on the ceiling, it may be the case that there are cracks in the ceiling or walls from which they have emerged. Fill these in to help prevent them from getting through. 

Do cockroaches live in 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 appear 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 an attractive spot 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. 

Do cockroaches live in walls?

Cockroaches roam, hide and nest in and around walls wherever they can do so. Cracks in walls 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 beds?

Cockroaches can live in beds. Just like sofas and other furniture, beds provide shelter for hiding and laying eggs. Also, to keep cockroaches away from your bedroom, regularly clean and declutter. Look for any entry points and seal them. A cockroach in the bedroom may be an indicator of a more extensive infestation elsewhere in the home. Check familiar places such as kitchens and bathrooms and set sticky traps around the house. 

Do cockroaches live 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. 

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. Follow the advice laid out in each section above to minimize the risk of attracting roaches to your home. 

Outdoor

While cockroaches may be found 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. 

Gardens

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 live in trees?

Some cockroach species, including the American cockroach, Smokey brown cockroach, and Australian cockroach, live in trees. They are a good hiding place for outdoor cockroaches. Some may also reside in shrubs and planter boxes. 

Dusting diatomaceous earth around plants in your garden can help to eradicate cockroaches. Diatomaceous earth powder contains tiny particles that are sharp and act like razor blades on a cockroach’s respiratory system. 

Do cockroaches eat fruits and vegetables?

Cockroaches are not too fussy when it comes to what they will eat. Fruits and vegetables growing in your garden can provide a food source for roaches. Cockroach infestations in vegetable patches are not commonly reported, in comparison to other garden pests, however. This may be because most cockroaches prefer indoors. 

If you feel you have a problem with cockroaches being attracted to plants and produce in your garden, some pesticides will be useful. Birds can be a natural pest control method for outdoor cockroaches, so consider ways to attract birds to your garden. It has also been suggested that some plants repel cockroaches. These include catnip, cucumbers, and garlic. Try planting these to act as a natural deterrent alongside other solutions.  

Do cockroaches live 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 sink holes – especially at night – to prevent cockroaches from entering your home this way.  

Conclusion

While cockroaches can be found in most environments, they are more common inside, preventing them from causing more significant problems. Keeping cockroaches out of your garden will help to prevent them from migrating from there into the home. There are plenty of places cockroaches can live. They are attracted to food, shelter, warmth, and moisture—places like these present the most significant risk. Follow the advice in each section of this post to reduce the chances of a cockroach infestation. If you are concerned that you may already have a cockroach problem, use sticky traps and/or appropriate pesticides or call in the experts.