Chapter 4: Signs of a Cockroach Infestation
Cockroaches are so skilled at hiding that it can be difficult to determine if you have an infestation. You may only actually see a single cockroach, not knowing there are hundreds more out of sight. If you notice any of the signs we discuss in this chapter, you'll want to take action right away before the infestation gets worse.
Cockroach Infestation Signs
Did you find a cockroach scurry across the floor? Cockroaches do not like light, so seeing one during the day can be a sign of a heavy infestation.
Other signs of an infestation include:
- Cracks near dark hiding places that have small black specks, or cockroach droppings
- Fecal matter which appears as dark spots or smears anywhere
- Egg cases
- Discarded skins
- Alive or dead cockroaches
Focus on searching for signs of an infestation where cockroaches usually live, like in bathrooms, kitchens or any humid areas. If you find oriental cockroaches on a higher floor, you'll want to check for a hidden leak or moisture issues. Use a flashlight and an extendable mirror to help you look in dark, tight places where cockroaches like to hide.
What Does a Cockroach Infestation Smell Like?
A cockroach infestation is often described as a musty or sour odor. They discharge the odor from secretions from their mouths and glands.
Cockroach Infestation Health Risks
Cockroaches carry many health risks to humans because they move from drains, sewers and other filthy places into kitchens. They might crawl on food, plates, utensils or counters after they've been somewhere filled with germs. They also feed on feces and garbage and can spread germs and diseases by contaminating utensils or human food with their waste. After a cockroach eats, they can store bacteria in their digestive system for a month or longer.
Here's an overview of the health risks associated with cockroaches and reasons to tackle an infestation immediately:
Disease and Illness
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cockroaches may carry organisms that cause the following:
- Viral diseases
- Typhoid fever
- Food poisoning
They may also carry the eggs of parasitic worms.
Allergies and Asthma
Cockroaches can cause allergic reactions and serious respiratory conditions in some individuals. Feces and crushed cockroach pieces become a part of household dust. A person who is allergic to cockroaches will inhale the dust and develop allergy symptoms such as a runny nose and itchy eyes. Some individuals with a cockroach allergy may develop asthma. Asthma makes it difficult to breathe, and severe asthma can be life-threatening.
Distress and Anxiety
Cockroaches can cause distress and anxiety, which can lead to other health issues and make it hard to enjoy being home. Most people are repulsed by cockroaches and embarrassed to have an infestation. It's also distressful to think about cockroaches hiding in different rooms and spreading germs.
Emotional distress can affect children and adults and can cause physical pain, chronic fatigue, excessive worrying, sleep disturbances and numerous other symptoms.
Considering all of the health risks, you'll want to get a roach infestation under control as soon as possible.
How Many Roaches Are in an Infestation?
It can be hard to determine exactly how many cockroaches are in an infestation.
While you may have carried a single roach in from a grocery bag, for example, seeing a cockroach can also indicate a much bigger problem. Roaches can live in your home for a long time without even being noticed.
To give you an idea of how many cockroaches are in an infestation, you could estimate by counting the number of roaches you catch in a trap and multiplying that number by one hundred. So, for example, if you find eight cockroaches in a trap, you can assume you have an infestation of about 800 cockroaches. An infestation of over a hundred cockroaches is very high with any species.
Does Seeing a Cockroach Mean an Infestation?
If you found just one cockroach in the house, that could still indicate an infestation. Cockroaches tend to live in groups.
If you find a single cockroach during the day, you could have a heavy infestation, as that can mean the hiding spots are overcrowded.
Sometimes, you may carry a single cockroach in from outside your home and not have an infestation. If the hitchhiker cockroach isn't carrying an egg case, the chance of an infestation occurring decreases. Rather than take any risks, it's best to determine whether or not you have an infestation if you see even a single cockroach
If you're wondering how to get rid of a heavy roach infestation, we're here to help. Read the next chapter to learn how to get rid of cockroaches, or contact us at Lifecycle Pest Control to address the problem today.