Signs Of A Cockroach Infestation

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New Jersey cockroach infestations

When it comes to cockroaches, there’s a lot inaccurate information out there. For example, the idea that cockroaches can survive exposure to radiation is simply not true.  It’s also a falsehood that roaches can live for decades and that they only infest dirty houses. What is true about these disgusting bugs is that they are primarily nocturnal and so you may not see them even if they are in your home. Since they are not easily spotted and you’re not likely to see them scurry across the kitchen floor (unless you have a severe infestation), it’s a good idea to know which roaches are active in Edison, Chatham, and communities throughout New Jersey as well as what the signs of a cockroach infestation are.

Types of cockroaches in New Jersey

Warning signs you may have a cockroach infestation in your home

It goes without saying that cockroaches aren’t they only pests in New Jersey that infest homes. That’s why proper identification of a cockroach infestation (or any infestation for that matter) is absolutely necessary. Accurate identification determines the correct course of treatment and the complete elimination of roaches.

Roach droppings

The fecal matter of cockroaches is often said to look like grounds of coffee or pepper. They are very dark and are less than a millimeter wide, although droppings vary in size depending on the species. Cockroach droppings are often found in kitchens and other areas where these bugs nest or where they go for food.

If you discover roach droppings in your home, DO NOT clean it up with your bare hands.  Pathogens and bacteria collected from their varied food sources (not just in your home but where they came from) pass through their digestive systems and can easily spread to you and family members through their droppings.

Smear marks

In addition to the droppings described above, roaches may leave behind smear marks which is also known as fecal staining. Dark spots left from roaches can be found in the corners of rooms, on counters and tops of doors, and around cracks as wells as at floor and wall junctions.

Cockroach eggs

Cockroaches do not lay individual eggs but rather egg capsules or cases called oothecae. A single oothecae contains multiple cockroach eggs and varies in color by species. American and German roaches create brown colored oothecae while the Oriental cockroach produce reddish-brown ones.

Depending on the type of roach, the oothecae may be carried on the bug for a few hours or until the eggs are ready to hatch. The American and Oriental roach both places their egg cases in areas they determine are safe. The German roach carries its oothecae for the duration.


Can you imagine shedding your skin as you grow until you reach maturity? Gross right? But that’s what cockroaches do. In fact, as they travel through their life cycle, they may shed their “skin” or exoskeleton multiple times. Finding exoskeletons around your home is a definite indicator that roaches have been present but it does not necessarily mean there’s an active problem. 

According to the IDPH website, the presence of exoskeletons and roach feces serve as antigens, and if inhaled, this foreign protein can trigger allergic and asthmatic reactions.

Live cockroaches

If you find live roaches in your home there’s two things to keep in mind:

  • You definitely have an active cockroach infestation.
  • As we mentioned above, roaches are mainly nocturnal, coming out to find food at night and staying hidden during the daytime hours. If you’ve spotted roaches out and about while the sun is shining, your cockroach problem may be quite significant.

Cockroach odor

What does a cockroach infestation smell like? Professionals who have the opportunity (or bad luck) to smell a cockroach infestation will tell you that it is sour and musty. The odor, caused by the secretions from their mouths and glands, may be present with a single roach but is more likely to be an indication of a heavy infestation.

Where you’re likely to find cockroaches in your home

Although they differ in appearance and some behaviors, the three cockroaches we’ve been discussing all have a preference for conditions that are warm and where there is humidity. For example, American roaches are typically found in basements or crawl spaces as well as drains; German cockroaches are likely to lurk near kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas where moisture is present; and Oriental roaches AKA water bugs have a preference for dark, damp areas though they can survive in drier, cooler conditions.

Roaches in the kitchen

Common places to find roaches in the kitchen include:

  • In cupboards and cabinets
  • Under the sink
  • Behind the dishwasher and other kitchen appliances

Cockroaches have even been found inside toasters, microwaves, coffeemakers, and other common kitchen items.

Roaches in the bathroom

Common hiding spots for cockroaches in bathrooms include:

  • Under bathroom sinks
  • In the back of cabinets, especially ones filled with bathroom products that have been stored awhile.
  • Behind toilets, around tubs, and other areas where condensation is accumulating.

Roaches in the laundry room

If you have a dedicated laundry room, keep an eye out for roaches in these common hiding spots:

  • Under and behind the washer and dryer
  • Around plumbing and vent entrances
  • Inside cabinets and closets

Roaches in the basement

Cockroaches loves basements because they are dark and damp. It is common to find these bugs in the following spots:

  • Hiding out in and among stored belongings
  • By cracks in baseboards and wall joints
  • Around the washer and dryer (if these aren’t in their own location)
  • Near utility sinks
  • Where pipes enter the basement

Notable mentions

It is also worth mentioning that roaches love drains and may also be found inside damaged drain covers, in pipe ducts as well as under porches and decks.  Just as cockroaches live in landfills, they will find themselves perfectly at home in your garbage and clutter inside or out.

What to do if you have cockroaches in your home

If you’ve found roaches or evidence of them in your home, contact Arrow Pest Control right away. Offering cockroach control in Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Somerset, and Union counties, our locally owned and operated pest control company has been exterminating roaches for over 45 years!

What’s more, we offer three home pest control service plans that include protection from cockroaches PLUS more than 30 common house-infesting pests!

Home Protection Program

Service consists of the elimination of your current pest or rodent problem, complemented by both interior and exterior year-round protection of your home, which is inclusive of three seasonal visits. The program covers your entire property including attics, mailboxes, playsets, sheds, and fences.

Pests targeted with Arrow’s Home Protection Plan services include ants (excluding carpenter ants, pharaoh ants and acrobatic), bees, boxelder bugs, carpenter bees, carpet beetles, centipedes, cicada killers, clover mites, crickets, digger bees, earwigs, fabric & paper pests, fleas (inside only), ground beetles, hornets, mice, pillbugs, millipedes, rats, roaches, silverfish, sowbugs, spiders, springtails, stored product pests, and wasps.

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