Chapter 2: Causes and Habits of Cockroaches
Most cockroaches in a building are never even seen. This is because they hide during the day and come out at night to forage for food. Cockroaches spend the majority of their time resting in cracks, crevices and secret places. At night, they pass the hours eating, mating and contaminating surfaces.
No one likes to imagine cockroaches partying in the kitchen or bathroom while they sleep in the next room. Understanding their habits and preferences will help you find their hiding spots so you can take action.
In this chapter, we'll explore where cockroaches live, what they eat and how they get inside. If you're tired of sharing your space with cockroaches, we understand, and we're here to help.
Where Do Cockroaches Live?
Different types of cockroaches prefer certain environments, but generally, they like damp, dark spaces which may be indoors or outdoors. For example, some cockroaches, like the German cockroach, prefer warm areas in kitchens and bathrooms, while oriental cockroaches favor cooler outdoor locations like trash piles.
Cockroaches aren't too picky when it comes to choosing their abode. They can be found in homes, schools, hospitals, restaurants, offices and pretty much any structure where food is prepared or stored. Overall, they'll live anywhere that enables them to thrive.
Where Do Cockroaches Hide?
Cockroaches like to hide in dark places where it's hard to find them, such as cracks and narrow openings. Although some hiding spots are more popular than others, they can be found tucked away anywhere in a home as long as there's something to eat nearby, and they can be safe. Common cockroach hideouts include:
- Near plumbing fixtures
- Cracks in cupboards
- Under drawers in bathrooms and kitchens
- Kitchen sinks
- Crawl spaces
- Behind or under refrigerators
- Under washing machines
- Food storage areas
- Behind pictures on the walls
- Inside furniture or clutter
Cockroaches can move freely through wall spaces and plumbing until they find a cozy shelter away from predators.
What Causes Cockroaches?
Cockroaches don't ask for much in life. They have a few basic needs — food, shelter, warmth and water. Considering their requirements, homes usually have the perfect conditions for cockroaches to thrive.
For example, cockroaches are attracted to food, so dishes left in the sink or crumbs on the counter can be enough to invite them to stay. Moist areas like a leaking pipe under a sink or wet bath mat can also appeal to cockroaches. Cockroaches only need a drop of water a day to survive because they have a waxy coating on their bodies, which helps them retain moisture. Kitchens and bathrooms provide easy access to water and excellent places to hide.
If a cockroach can find food and shelter, it can lay eggs. The cockroach population can rapidly grow as it doesn't take too much time for a cockroach to develop into an adult. For example, it takes about two months for a German cockroach to reach independence. Once a nymph reaches adulthood, it can almost immediately begin mating. Before long, there can be hundreds of cockroaches lurking in the dark.
Cockroaches are very resourceful, and you do not have to have a dirty home to attract cockroaches and experience an infestation. It's extremely easy for cockroaches to find the food, water and shelter they need. In addition, they can survive for a couple of weeks without water or food. It's no wonder they've been around for over a hundred million years.
What Do Cockroaches Eat?
If you took a cockroach out to dinner, you'd likely have to help them pick something off the menu. Otherwise, they'd never make up their mind. That's because cockroaches eat just about anything, which is another reason they are strong survivors.
They consume all foods humans and animals eat, and they also devour waste material and things like soap and toothpaste. Their chewing mouthparts allow them to consume many different materials. Here's a list of items you would expect to find in a cockroach's lunchbox:
- Pet foods
- Fingernail clippings
- Pet fur
- Dead insects
- Decaying matter
Although cockroaches aren't fussy eaters, they do tend to have a sweet tooth and prefer starchy and sugary foods. They also like to dine on meats or high- protein grub. American cockroaches are drawn to fermenting liquids, and a bar owner might be surprised when they find a cockroach in an empty beer bottle.
Where Do Cockroaches Nest?
Unlike insects such as ants and bees, cockroaches do not live in one central nest. However, they do tend to gather in certain areas in response to odors in their feces. Nests are often found in dark, tight places such as behind refrigerators and kitchen cabinets.
German cockroaches, for example, like to congregate in hidden, humid places near water and food sources. They also prefer porous surfaces. This means you might find them clustered inside or beneath materials made of wood, paper or cardboard. They mark the surfaces with their feces, which carries a pheromone. This chemical attracts other cockroaches.
How Do Cockroaches Get In?
It's not hard for a cockroach to get inside. An American cockroach can squeeze through a crack the height of two stacked pennies in less than a second. Cockroaches can enter a building in many different ways, such as:
- Cracks and crevices
- Grocery bags
- Utility openings
- Holes in walls
If you move to a home or apartment from a previously infested dwelling, it's very easy to transport cockroaches to your new place because of their sneakiness. They can hide in the tiny corrugated spaces of cardboard boxes you use to pack, for example. If you transport a pregnant cockroach to your home from anywhere, it could potentially lead to an infestation. Cockroaches also easily move between rooms in a building. So, if a neighboring apartment has a large infestation, the cockroaches may migrate to nearby units to search for food.
Do Cockroaches Bite?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cockroaches do not bite, but their spiky legs can cause scratches.
Why Do I Have Cockroaches?
Roaches are a common pest, and it doesn't take much to attract them and allow them to build cozy homes. If you have roaches, try not to panic. There are many steps you can take to manage a cockroach infestation, and professionals can help you.