Extreme Extermination: 7 Signs of Big Roaches to Look Out For

Florida is jam-packed with critters, many of which are crucial for the state’s ecosystem. They aren’t so crucial (or desirable) inside your home, and unfortunately, that’s where many Florida pests are headed. 

If there’s one pest in particular that we can all agree we don’t want to host, it’s the cockroach-especially the American cockroach, which can grow up to four inches in length.

The easiest way to identify that there are big roaches in your home is by catching sight of them. The problem is that these bugs prefer dark, quiet spaces, and by the time you see them, you may have a major infestation on your hands.

What are seven other signs of cockroaches to keep an eye out for? Read on to find out.

1. Roach Droppings

Even a single cockroach that has moved into your home is going to eat everything it can, which means that it’s going to leave behind droppings. Cockroach droppings resemble loose coffee grounds or ground pepper, and it’s easy to overlook them at first glance. The best way to discern typical food particles from roach droppings is to pay attention to location.

You’re going to find cockroach droppings anywhere that you’d find cockroaches. That includes dark spaces like inside cabinets, drawers, and closets. It also includes areas where they’re likely to go undisturbed, like the top pantries.

2. Stains and Smear Marks

In addition to solid droppings, many homeowners start to notice dark stains or smears in unusual places, as well. This is especially the case in states like Florida, where heat and humidity are high year-round. These smears tend to take on the color of blood or feces, and you’ll find them on the walls, often low to the ground along the route cockroaches are taking most often to get through your home.

As you may have guessed, these smears are byproducts of roach droppings. Make sure to use appropriate gear, like disposable gloves, when washing them off of your walls and other belongings.

3. Unusual Smells

Cockroaches put off an unusual odor that homeowners tend to notice even if they aren’t sure what they’re smelling. This scent comes from the pheromones released in cockroach droppings. It is often described as damp or musty, not unlike the smell that results from mold or mildew.

Unfortunately, by the time the smell has permeated your home, it’s likely that you’ve got a major infestation in your home. Once you’ve ruled out the possibility of water damage or mold, it’s time to search for other signs of cockroaches and click for pest control in Venice.

4. Roach Eggs

If you’ve ever wondered why a cockroach population can grow so quickly in your home, it’s because they reproduce at a rapid pace. A single American cockroach can produce an average of 150 offspring in her lifetime, which tends to last about 30 months. 

Because they reproduce so frequently, you may discover roach eggs in dark, damp spaces like your basement or bathroom. These eggs are about 6 mm in length, dark brown in color, and contain an average of 30 nymphs. Finding them and exterminating the population before they hatch is ideal, as the hatched nymphs are small in size and difficult to track down.

5. Shed Exoskeletons

Cockroaches have an exoskeleton, a sort of hard shell or case that contains the rest of their body. These exoskeletons don’t grow to accommodate the growth of the cockroach, which goes through several phases before reaching its final adult form. Cockroaches tend to shed their exoskeletons up to eight times before reaching maturation.

It’s not uncommon to find several exoskeletons in or near the nesting area of an infestation. Once again, you’ll often find these in dark, damp spaces that are removed from high-traffic areas of the home. It’s easy to mistake a shed exoskeleton for a dead cockroach but on closer examination, you may notice that all you’re looking at is an empty shell-which means the cockroach, itself, may be alive and well somewhere else. 

6. Chewed Packaging

True to their reputation, cockroaches will eat most things, including carpeting, clothing, wallpaper, and cardboard. However, they’re always going to prefer what we would consider “actual” food, particularly items that are high in starch or sugar. As a result, cockroaches often gravitate toward homes where food is easy to access (i.e., left on countertops or thrown out in lid-free trashcans). 

Even if your pantry items aren’t easy to access, cockroaches may try to find their way inside. You may notice holes and small chew marks on plastic and cardboard packaging if roaches are raiding your pantry. 

Because cockroaches can transport harmful bacteria, you should throw away any food items that were exposed to cockroaches. To prevent further damage, place pantry items in airtight containers and make sure to put away any perishables once you’re done eating them. 

7. Respiratory Symptoms

Believe it or not, some members of your household may have an allergy to cockroach droppings. If cockroach droppings make their way into your indoor air via air ducts or other disturbances, symptoms may develop, including:

  • Congestion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Sensations of pain or tightness in the chest
  • Red, itchy, or watery eyes

People with pre-existing respiratory ailments like asthma may notice that their symptoms get worse when living in a cockroach-infested home. These symptoms can also resemble other issues like seasonal or mold allergies, so you will also need to identify other cockroach signs to determine the cause.

Act Fast When Big Roaches Move In

In states like Florida, it’s hard to escape wildlife. While it’s one thing to encounter pests in the wild, it’s another to encounter them in your home. Big roaches are not creatures you want to cohabitate with, so keep an eye out for the signs that they’ve moved in and call an exterminator, like Native Pest Management ASAP.

Exterminating a cockroach infestation isn’t something you want to tackle on your own, but there are plenty of projects that you can. Take a look around as we share DIY tips, tricks, and hacks for the savvy homeowner.