If you've ever wondered "where do cockroaches live in your home?" then you're probably aware of roaches' ability to fly, scurry, flatten themselves, and hide masterfully in just about every nook and cranny in your home--and all in silence. They're gross, and it's unnerving.
Cockroaches can not only be hard to find, they can be difficult to get rid of, too, once they've gotten a foothold in your home. They've been around for millions of years, they've become fast breeders, and have learned how to be very adept survivors. If you see a couple of them in your home, especially in the daytime (roaches are nocturnal), chances are you've got several tens to hundreds more in a nest nearby.
There are four primary cockroach species you will encounter in the United States and Canada: German roaches, American roaches, Brown-banded roaches, and Oriental roaches. But they thrive in filth and bacteria, and track it with them wherever they wander. They can make your allergies flare up and make your asthma worse.
Where Do Roaches Live Outside?
Cockroaches are always on the lookout for food, water, and shelter. Some species of cockroaches can live outside (e.g., American and Oriental cockroaches), but for the most part, they are indoor critters.
Outdoor (peridomestic) cockroaches seek out moist, humid environments to live in, like mulch, damp leaves, damp wood, etc., and they are capable of living and reproducing both outdoors and indoors. In more temperate regions, these cockroaches live outside almost all of the time because winter temperatures are mild. In areas that get cold in the winter, these outdoor roaches survive freezing winters by moving indoors, or into sewers. At times they find outdoor sheltered areas to burrow into and go into a kind of hibernation until spring.
What Attracts Cockroaches to My Home?
Cockroaches (indoor and outdoor) enjoy being in your home for the same reason you do. For food, water, and shelter. Roaches are attracted to food that has been left out on the counter, greasy, dirty dishes in the sink, greasy spills, and food crumbs laying around. Cockroaches are also attracted to moisture and humidity, so they are frequently found near leaky pipes under your kitchen or bathroom sink, and even to a wet bath mat on the bathroom floor.
How Do Roaches Get Inside Your Home?
Cockroaches are very crafty at finding ways into your home, office, or apartment. They may:
- Find openings around doors and windows for indoor access.
- Crawl inside through small holes and cracks in the structure/foundation.
- Catch a ride in paper bags, luggage, backpacks, purses, boxes, appliances, furniture, groceries, etc.
- Travel between apartments through pipes and holes in shared walls.
Do Cockroaches Live in the Walls?
Cockroaches roam, hide, and nest primarily in damp basements, wall voids, and crawl spaces, and in apartment complexes in cities around the country. Some regions are well-known for them, like the hot, humid areas of the country, in the southeastern United States.
Other common hangouts for cockroaches include kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and storage areas (think about it... food, water, and hiding places). But they stealthily find other areas of indoors to roam and dwell unseen. Where do cockroaches live when we can't see them?
In Your Furniture
We love our comfy, cozy furniture, but so do cockroaches (and other pests, like fleas and spiders). They may even lay their sturdy egg casings (oothecae) in your favorite sofa.
This is another reason you should double check new furniture for signs of live roaches and eggs before bringing them into your home.
Underneath and Inside Your Appliances
Cockroaches spend a lot of time underneath and inside your appliances. Appliances like stoves and refrigerators have all sorts of nooks and crannies for roaches to hide and forage in the day or night (cockroaches also enjoy the warmth provided by appliance motors). Water heaters are a bonus, because they are out of the way, and provide shelter, warmth, and moisture.
Even small counter top appliances (e.g., toasters, blenders, coffee makers, microwave ovens, etc.) provide an obvious draw for roaches wanting to hide out (and sometimes find a snack). Shaking the crumbs out your toaster occasionally might not be such a bad idea.
In Empty Boxes and Stacks of Paper
Cockroaches are known to eat just about anything, and this may include cardboard, book bindings, and paper. Roaches will even consume envelope glue. Empty boxes and stacks of your favorite magazines also provide good places to hide and lay eggs.
Minimize the number of empty cardboard boxes in your storage areas and keep stacks of magazines, newspapers, and other documents in tightly sealed cabinets.
Inside Your Pipes
Cockroaches crave moisture and love to get wet. Areas where pipes come into your home (e.g., through walls, floors, and the backs of cabinets, washer/dryer hookups) usually provide enough warmth and humidity to be a draw for roaches. Plus, exposed pipes provide good hiding places.
You can insulate and duct tape gaps between piping and walls, or in the backs of cabinets to help keep these areas more dry.
On the Ceiling
If it's dark, cockroaches may be overhead. Sometimes they like to hang out on the ceiling in dark rooms so they can drop to the floor and scurry away in an instant. Once the lights are on, they will predictably head immediately to a quieter, hidden location. Cockroaches on the ceiling usually means cracks in the walls/ceiling where they can emerge from.
In Your Cabinets, Drawers, Cupboards, and Closets
Cockroaches love to roam inside cabinets, drawers, and closets, looking for food and places to hide out. They particularly like the upper inside corners of cupboards and cabinets to hang out.
It's a good idea to get into the practice of keeping all your stored food in tightly-sealed containers (not just to protect it from cockroaches, but also from other bugs like ants and pantry moths). Keep your pet's food sealed, as well. If roaches get a foothold in your food supply, they can contaminate it badly.
Inside Baseboards and Around Trim
Crown molding and historic wood baseboards add a lovely touch to your home, but they also give cockroaches plenty of places to hide.
Narrow, tight, dark areas around door and window trim, as well as baseboards, and other corners and crevices of walls are prime areas for cockroaches to squeeze in and hang out. Sealing such gaps and cracks up in any home is a good way to keep cockroaches in check.
Inside Decorations and Electronics
Considering the fact that cockroaches may crawl around behind books, shelves, and other furniture surfaces, you never know where they may go next. They may even hide themselves inside electronics and light fixtures, and inside other knick-knacks and keepsakes.
The backsides of picture frames, clocks, and mirrors (mounted on the wall or sitting on a tabletop) also make for favorite roach hideouts.
How Do You Get Rid of Cockroaches at Home?
Remember, the faster you act to treat for cockroaches once you've discovered them, the sooner you can eliminate a cockroach infestation in your home.
- Clean up your kitchen, and home, being careful to wipe up all spills, grease, and crumbs on counter tops and underneath/between appliances, in cupboards, etc.
- Get rid of roach hangouts like empty boxes, newspapers, magazines, etc.
- Repair any leaky plumbing/pipes/faucets indoors and outdoors
- Seal up cracks in your home’s foundation, make sure screens and weatherproofing are in good repair, cover vents with mesh, seal gaps between windows and doors and outer walls, and seal areas where utility hardware enters your house.
Use a Reliable Cockroach Killer
Cockroaches can be spot-treated and killed directly by spraying them with an effective plant-powered roach killer spray like Maggie's Farm Ant & Roach Killer Spray or Maggie’s Farm Home Bug Spray. Maggie's Farm Roach Killer Gel, Maggie's Farm Spider & Insect Dust, or Maggie’s Farm Bed Bug Killer are longer-lasting treatments for out-of the-way areas where you've seen roach activity including underneath counter tops, inside cabinets, in wall voids, etc.
Always follow directions on any pest control product you use.
How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Cockroaches?
How long it takes to get rid of a cockroach infestation depends on several different factors, including:
- How many roaches there are
- How fast you respond once you discover cockroach activity (remember, they multiply quickly!)
- How old your home is (older homes mean more cracks/crevices/wall voids)
- How clean/tidy you keep your home (Don't fret too much - even the cleanest homes can get cockroaches)
Cockroach infestations typically take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks to eliminate. Keeping up with prevention methods and consistent treatments is key for making roaches feel unwelcome in your home.
For more information on getting rid of cockroaches, check out:
For scientifically-tested, effective cockroach control in your home that is friendly to the environment, try Maggie’s Farm pest control products. Our promise is that our plant and mineral-based products are developed by scientists and seasoned pest control professionals to be the most effective.