Cockroaches are scavenging insects, which prefer moist and dark environments. Discovering if you have a roach infestation is important, since cockroaches have the potential to transmit diseases such as dysentery and food poisoning, notes Penn State. Cockroaches can also exacerbate existing medical conditions such as asthma, indicates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cockroaches leave tell-tale signs behind when they inhabit your home and can cause damage to your home with severe infestations.
Cockroaches lay egg shells known as oothecas. Some females will carry their egg shells attached to their abdomen, while others prefer to lay their eggs behind bookshelves, around furniture and other places that remain hidden from lighted areas. Sometimes egg shells can be identified within your kitchen cabinets, behind your dishes, especially where you can't reach. An ootheca appears as a small, leathery looking case. Eggs can have a darkish-brown to reddish-brown coloring.
As immature cockroaches shed their skin, you can see old body shells around your home during infestations. The body casings may be whole or include parts of a casing. After a cockroach molts, the exterior body will look white, until the cockroach has time to develop its darker coloring. Shed skin can be found along corners and edges of your walls.
Cockroaches will deposit fecal waste along the routes they travel. Smaller roaches will produce fecal waste that looks like sandy, black grains. Large roaches emit waste that looks like mouse droppings. Mouse droppings have tapered ends, whereas cockroach fecal matter has blunt ends, states UNESCO. Cockroach droppings can reach a length of 1/16 inch.
Since cockroaches will feed on anything, including books and fabric, you may notice small holes on these items. You may also notice brown matter on your furniture and books, which is regurgitated food. Foul odors can develop with infestations, according to the Alameda County Vector Control Services District. You may notice dead cockroaches with heavier infestations. At night, flick on your house lights to identify the hiding spots of cockroaches. When you locate the spots, investigate the severity of your infestation. If you have more than a handful of roaches in your house, they may congregate at all hours of the day.
- Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences: American Cockroaches; Steve Jacobs, Sr.; March 2002
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Important Asthma Triggers;
- UNESCO: Recognition of Damage Caused by Pests in Libraries, Archives, and Their Collections
- Alameda County Vector Control Services District: Cockroach Biology
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
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